care bears holding paws

How to socialize on the internet

Preface

It occurs to me many internet users maybe don’t have a Free and Open Source guide to the socializing options available to everyone. We all know about large social media corporations but perhaps you’re tired of the limitations they place on your content, or the invasions into your property rights or privacy. So this guide will be a signpost to a few great (and free!) choices.

The Blog – WordPress

WordPress is currently the best choice for blogging. It’s a great choice for a lot of other purposes too, which makes it a solid leader for “best website software”. Your family photo album, your small business, your personal opinions, and many other capabilities. I suggest starting with free themes, and low cost private hosting that offers you E-mail with your website’s domain name.

How will my friends follow me?

All the best blogging softwares, including WordPress, include support for publishing content “feeds”, including rss, rss2, atom, and so on. This is usually built in and enabled by default, allowing anyone to use various free RSS feed reader applications to follow their friends’ updates.

Link to WordPress: https://wordpress.org/.
Link to RSS Readers: Wikipedia.
Link to Hosting: Pride Tech Design.

The BBS – phpBB

A somewhat underappreciated feature of social computer networks is the bulletin boards, these days called forums. It’s a slow and thoughtful way to communicate and an excellent method to meet new friends with similar interests. I recommend the phpBB software, it’s extremely mature. It’s not as easy to install or administer as WordPress but there is documentation and with a little effort anyone can do it.

Link to phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/.

The MicroBlog – Mastodon

Twitter is a corporate giant and your satisfaction as a user is second place to their return on investment. An excellent choice of alternatives is Mastodon, which is a diversified and federated network of private and community “instances”. You can join one or many, you can create your own, and everyone can participate together.

Link to Mastodon: https://joinmastodon.org/.

The Chat – Matrix

You’ve got a lot of options for chat softwares.. that is any app aimed at instant response conversations with support for group conversations. I recommend Matrix.org, for a number of reasons. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s distributed, it’s disowned from any corporate masters, and it’s ambitious. You’ll need to be patient with it, it is brand new software and they are trying to do a lot of very modern and exciting features. It’s a great opportunity for new programmers to cut their teeth on something exciting too.

Link to Matrix.org: https://matrix.org/.
Link to Riot.im (Leading client): https://riot.im/.

school desks with computers built in

Education

Education is the key to success

At this stage of a civilization’s development, education is the single most important investment. Children need a crash course in the world they’re born into. When all we had to do was gather berries and build shelters from the storm this was something a village could handle, but not anymore. There are too many subjects, too many students, and too few resources, personnel and otherwise.

Children Can Math

Presently the nation’s education budget is about $100 billion dollars. Our entire national budget is around $3 trillion dollars. That means education is getting only 1/30th of the budget. Kids are not born stupid, they’re taught basic math and they can figure out how much their future matters to you. It doesn’t.

Imagine if Education received 1/4 of the budget

If Education received 1/4 of the national budget that would be around $750 billion dollars. We could build enough schools so that no community would have classes bigger than 15 students. We could provide a computer to every student in every class in every school in America. They’d be built into their desks to prevent wear and tear and accidental damage. All data would be stored on the network so students wouldn’t rely on a single machine.

Every student would have a personal folder on the school network, with public and private repositories. This is something we already do in top colleges, why not grade schools? Start them earlier. There could be a secured folder where students would have read-only access to their lesson material, textbooks, assignments and so on.

It’s easier than you think.

The politicians want you to believe that kind of budget adjustment is impossible, but it’s not. The reason America spends $3 trillion dollars on so many things is because Americans are stupid, thanks to a public school system which hasn’t seen a real overhaul since the 1950s. Stupid people cost money to maintain. Smart people would innovate new tools and processes which would improve our society and drive down the costs of maintenance. The only thing that creates smart people is education.

coiled snake with words "don't tread on me"

Gun Control is a Non-Starter

Preface

There’s been another Media Outrage Shooting, and so “Gun Control” has once again entered the public lexicon. I wrote about this already in my article The Root Causes of Violence, but I am going to take a different approach today and address “Gun Control” specifically.

Gun Control is the Wrong Direction

If people want to reduce violence, and I’m not convinced that they do, then Gun Control is not the way to do it. If you were all serious about reducing violence, you’d have realized that by now and would invest time in different questions. Here is a list of reasons in no particular order why Gun Control is a waste of time.

Guns are Cool

Guns are cool. Look at the sale of toy guns. Look at hollywood. Look at the popularity of video games like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike. People dig guns. They look neat, they empower the weak to defeat their enemies from great distances, they equalize people in conflict, they make exciting noises, and they are a technological evolution of ‘weaponry’ which has taken thousands of years.

The Right to Bear Arms is Good

America is a really special place. If you reduce “Freedom” into units you can measure, you will discover that Being Free is an uphill struggle and America has achieved more “Freedoms” than any other civilization. One of the most amazing and remarkable of which is the official recognition of a citizen’s right not only to keep arms but to carry them in public, both for the protection of self, family, property and state but also Just Because They Want To. This constitutional right makes a statement that “We Trust Our Selves”. It says that the power of authority in America is truly with the population, not the officials holding public office. Reaching this point of Liberty was no small feat, and those of us who understand this will never give it up.

Gun Control is a tool of Tyrants

Rules exist to promote strong civilizations, but a strong civilization also requires happy citizens. When you create rules you reduce freedom and that makes enlightened men “Less Happy”. The right to carry arms is not something that was invented in the 20th century. It is a freedom which has existed since the earliest man stood upright, and it has only been challenged over time by certain types of people. Specifically tyrannical governments. The British Empire, during colonial times, attempted to confiscate the weapons of American colonists. Nazi Germany confiscated the weapons of Polish citizens prior to invading. The American South, during slavery, enacted laws to prevent African Americans from owning weapons. If you look at history, every single incident of “Gun Control” was created and enacted by Tyrannical governments.

Presumption of Innocence is American

In America we citizens enjoy something called the Presumption of Innocence. This means that we are considered Innocent until proven Guilty of a crime. When someone else commits a crime and your reaction is to take away my firearms or those of my neighbors, you are throwing Presumption of Innocence in the trash. Taking away our guns is no trivial thing. The right to keep and bear firearms is carved into the Bill of Rights, it is such an important constitutional rule that it was only preceeded by _Speech_. It’s a significant part of American cultural history. You cannot strip three-hundred-million people of all that because a half-dozen people go crazy every year.

Gun Control Doesn’t Work

The science is in, on this. Gun Control does not work. Every single “mass shooting” incident occurs in a place where the shooter is safe from opposition. Most often this is because the location has a “ban” on firearms. Laws do not stop criminals. If laws could stop crime then there would be no crimes because all crimes are already illegal. There are a huge number of “Gun Control” type laws in existence already, such as the machine gun ban, a ban on strawman purchases, and so on. They do not stop crime. The only thing they do is reduce everyone’s freedoms.

“Gun Control Works in Other Nations!”. No, it doesn’t. There are other causes at play. There have been many studies conducted, and the numbers do not support Gun Control as a cure for violence. Violence is a complicated subject and cannot be boiled down to “Do people have access to weapons”. That simply has nothing to do with it. Humans have been violent forever while guns have only existed for a few hundred years. Guns can make violence easier, they do not make violence happen.

You Can’t Have My Gun

a pistol Here is a photo of my sidearm. This point was an after-thought but it’s an important part of the discussion. No matter how many stories you bring to the table about other people committing crimes they will never be compelling enough to convince me to give up my firearms to you. I’m not those people, and my sidearm makes me feel safer in a violent and crazy world, in a way that none of you have ever been able to do. Mass shootings are not going to convince me to give up my weapon, they’re going to convince me to keep it at arms reach. I live in a relatively peaceful town and yet I have been assaulted on multiple occasions in the past 3 years alone by people who are completely out of control, and shouting absolutely insane threats of violence. I can only imagine how bad it must be in the worst neighborhoods in our nation. I will never give up my right to protect myself from the craziest among you, for anyone, for any reason, ever. I don’t have a bodyguard. I’m on my own, and if someone attacks me nobody is going to save me but myself. Having a firearm is an absolute necessity.

My other firearm is an AR-15 rifle which I am currently building. It’s been half-completed for awhile because I am self-employed and not rich, and it’s not a cheap hobby. I’m not an End of the World Prepper, I just think the AR-15 rifle is pretty cool, and I enjoy the freedom my citizenship affords me so much that I am exercising it in a traditional way, by building and owning an American rifle. That it doubles as a home-defense tool is a bonus. This is a hobby that won’t ever hurt anyone (except maybe bad guys!), and I’m not willing to give it up. If I gave up everything I enjoy because some other person used it to hurt someone else I would have nothing.

Gun Control is a Distraction

Every time one of these events occur, the media conversation follows certain steps. “We need Gun Control!” and “Why haven’t solved this by now?” are two key elements of the conversation. Why haven’t we solved this by now is an excellent question, and when you’ve witnessed this fiasco as many years as some of us have you’ll understand why we are cynical of the entire show-business. But let’s assume the best for the sake of progress. We haven’t solved it because there is only so much time to spend on the subject, and you are all wasting it talking about Gun Control every time, which was experimented with during the 1990s and found to be a failure. I am talking about the Brady Bill, which was not renewed by Congress because it did not work. If we want to reduce these violence events we need to look at the problem from other angles. It is often said “It’s a mental health issue” but nothing else is ever said about it. Well “It’s a mental health issue” is a really broad and vague statement and by itself means basically nothing. It’s not as simple as “Some people are crazy and have access to guns”. We need to ask why those people are crazy. There’s nothing physiologically wrong with their brains.

I suggest they are crazy because the world they grow up and live in is crazy. Many mass shooters were people with heightened intelligence who became dissatisfied with their lives. Look at the Columbine shooters for starters. They weren’t “crazy” and they weren’t “stupid”. They were smart, pissed off, and suicidal.

The Solution

If you want to reduce violence, reduce Anger and Suicide. You know that is what you need to be doing anyway, if you could all stop bitching about the temperature of your Lattes or whatever consumer-culture whining is trendy at the time. What is it about life in the 21st centure that is making otherwise normal people both suicidal, and angry at everyone around them? Maybe we should examine the absolute failure of our political system to promote and elect real “leaders”? Our government is full of self-serving fools. Maybe we should dial back the militarization of our law enforcement? Police are murdering unarmed people in the streets. There are countless records of police breaking into people’s homes without just cause and then murdering everyone inside because those people attempted to defend themselves from what they percieved as hostile home invaders. Or how about the enormous and unjustified income gap between the ultra rich and the middle and lower class, or the fact that the “middle class lifestyle” has fallen significantly toward “lower class” in the past several decades, and despite talking endlessly about it nobody takes real action. These things, for starters, are probably making our citizens Angry, and contributing to their Suicidal feelings.

If we want to reduce these acts of mass random violence, we need to reduce the stressors which cause normal people to become both Angry and Suicidal. I’ve named only a few of these stressors, so you’ve got something to start with. If you put a few dozen smart people in a room and have them brainstorm the problem we can find real solutions that Americans will agree on.

religious symbols

Religion is Insanity

God is Not Real.

There is no such thing as God. Now right away “true believers”, also known as “insane people”, are going to take issue with my statement of fact, that God is not real. But here’s the thing about Truth and Facts, it doesn’t matter if you believe in them. Your belief does not have power to shape the world. You can’t ‘will’ god into being with the power of prayer. God is not real, that is a fact, and there is nothing that you or anyone else can do about it.

There Is No God.

So if God is not real, what is faith? What is belief? Religious devotion is a person saying that even tho Santa Claus does not exist, even tho the Easter Bunny is not real, they’re going to devote their life to worshipping this non-existent being, they’re going to make important decisions which affect them and others based on this non-existent, entirely fictional being. That’s insanity.

The Enlightenment is 300 years old

If you’re unfamiliar with The Enlightenment, it is a period of human history when a lot of people realized that God is not real, and Religions are lies. You can read all about it at Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment. The Enlightenment happened in the 18th century. It’s now the 21st century. 300 years have passed and it is time that we stop tolerating the cancer of religion which eats away at the progress and evolution of intelligent life.

Religious People Need Help

It’s not enough to say followers of religion are insane. They are insane, that much needs to be acknowledged for certain. They are suffering from a mental disease. People who suffer from mental diseases need treatment to cure them of their ailment. Thankfully Religion is the easiest mental disease to cure. All you need is a consistent and healthy dose of education, critical thinking skills, and protection from the diseased masses who will reinforce their brainwashing.

Tolerating a curable mental disease is not social compassion, it’s sadism.

One way that we can take a big leap forward in helping these delusional suffers escape the intellectual prison of religion is to stop reinforcing their delusions with “tolerance” or “respect”. God is not real, and they need to be told that, by everyone, all of the time. God-based opinions need to be summarily discarded in all debates without exception. People who suffer from the mental disease of religion need to see that it is unhealthy and that it is not respected by any intellectuals in the 21st century. Tolerating a curable mental disease is not social compassion, it’s sadism.

Simba looking back

Intellectual Property is Garbage

Intellectual Property is Made Up

Intellectual Property is not a thing that has always existed. It was invented some decades ago because technology has made it possible to easily and quickly replicate art, stories, inventions and other creative products.

Scenario 1:

An artist creates a visual work of art, such as a painting or drawing. Naturally the artist wants to share their creation because it is fun to be recognized for our achievements. When the artist shows the picture to me there is now a version of the picture stored in my memory.

The artist owns the paper and the ink or paint used to create the work, but the artist does not own my brain or my memory. The visual recreation of their art is physically stored in my brain, which belongs to me.

Scenario 2:

A video or song is played on Youtube. The artists who created those works own the tools used to create the original work, such as musical instruments, or video cameras. After their work is digitized, those instruments are no longer being used to create their work. Their work is being digitally stored as a series of instructions which instructs my computer on how to recreate the original work.

The artist does not own my computer. They don’t own my screen, or my hard disk used to store the data. And they still don’t own my ears, eyes, or memory. After their work is recorded and uploaded, they don’t own ANY of it. The only thing you could legitimate argue they own is the original creation of the work, which is not the same as the re-creation.

Artists need to get paid

It is clear from these examples that “intellectual property” is garbage. It’s important to understand that fact, in order to keep a firm grip on the reality of our lives. That said, people have to get paid for their work. Because of the structure of our entirely made up society, we have to pay for shelter and food and entertainment to keep ourselves sane in the face of existential horror.

We should continue paying artists. If they aren’t stealing from you and you have the means to do so, then pay for their works. But we need to stop corporations from trying to claim ownership of our brains, our computers’ storage devices, and everything else they can get their hands on.

Copyright is Bullshit. Intellectual Property is Bullshit.

The conclusion is simple. When data exists on a computer that you own, you own that data. Data is not a tangible thing, it’s instructions written on a piece of paper, in this case a magnetic or electronic disk, and that paper belongs to you. If I write a poem on your $100 bill, that doesn’t transfer ownership of the $100 bill to me, and the same logic applies to the storage device in your computer or your head.

Copyright is bullshit. Intellectual property is bullshit. Stop treating them as anything more than bullshit. This puts creators in a dangerous place, so make sure they don’t starve and die.

Terms of Service

By visiting this website and viewing any of the content you have already viewed, you are LEGALLY REQUIRED to follow the TERMS OF SERVICE which I have outlined below.

1. YOU MUST BE NICE

You must say “Please” and “Thank you” and treat people with respect and kindness.

2. OPEN CARRY OF FIREARMS

You must carry firearms openly in all public places outside of your home. This will deter crime and make everyone look like cowboys.

3. LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

Marijuana is harmless. You must make every effort with your socializing, activism, and votes, to legalize marijuana for recreational use, including private cultivation of unlimited numbers of plants.

4. CRIMINALIZE MURDER INDUSTRIES

Tobacco and Alcohol are industrialized murder industries. You must make every effort with your socializing, activism, and votes, to make them criminal activities.

5. RAISE EDUCATION BUDGET TO $600,000,000,000 OR MORE

Currently the United States Government spends over $600 BILLION dollars per year murdering people, preparing to murder people, teaching it’s children how to murder people. Meanwhile the Education budget sees a pitiful $100 BILLION dollars at most.

This is why our country is full of retards who think a website’s “Terms of Service” should carry the weight of law. You must make every effort with your socializing, activism, and votes, to swap the military and education budgets. If your children and grandchildren are to have any sort of future then the budget needs to reflect your desire for that to happen. Presently it looks like you all want them to burn in World War 3.33333333~

6. WORSHIP THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

The beauty of this one is it doesn’t matter if you agree or not, you can’t escape it.

7. ALL HAIL KING SIMBA

I am so glad that the INCREDIBLY SMART people in the Georgia senate who are obviously taking money from corporations to buy their influence have decided in their INFINITE WISDOM to make “Terms of Service” a document of law with criminal penalties for violations.

YOU AGREE, by visiting this website and viewing any of the content which you have already visited and viewed, that I AM KING OF ALL THAT IS OR EVER WILL BE.

8. ABOUT THESE TERMS

These terms are legally binding. If you violate these terms that makes you a criminal. You can go to prison for violating these terms. By visiting this website and viewing any of the content herein, you have legally agreed to 100% of the terms you have read on this page.

These terms are subject to change at any time, based solely on the whims of their author, SIMBA, KING OF ALL THAT IS OR EVER WILL BE. Whining about it won’t solve anything. You may or may not be notified of changes to these terms, but probably not.

 

apple 2 computer showing bbs screen

How to build a Modern BBS

Preface

After reading an article here about building a modern Bulletin Board System, and crafting my own brief response here about how the website already is a modern BBS, I decided I should write a short guide on how you can construct a modern equivalent of a BBS on the web using mostly free tools.

A computer & phone line

In the 1980s operating a BBS required a computer and at least one phone line. Back then a single phone line would cost $20 to $50 per month. Today, a phone line still costs a minimum of $20 a month (phone service is a racket!), but you don’t need to spend that much. For $5 per month you can rent a Virtual Server from Digital Ocean with a dedicated IP address. As far as quality and reliability are concerned Digital Ocean are the best in the marketplace, which is why I recommend them. The link I provide is a referral link which will give me credit toward my own hosting bill if you sign up.

Digital Ocean Hosting

Website Software

It is true that you could build a website from scratch so you don’t actually need to use this software but that takes a lot of time and you’d be re-inventing the wheel. That’s okay if you’re a developer and you’ve got a great idea for a wheel that nobody has thought of before, but otherwise I recommend using WordPress. It’s free and mature, as well as very easy to start using.

WordPress.org

Message Boards

In the 1980s, “Message Boards” are where people would post and discuss topics. Today we call these things “Forums” but they serve the same functionality. The best software for setting up a message board on a website is phpBB. Not only is it free, but it has a really excellent user interface that meets all of the common needs and is very intuitive. It is stand-alone software and it is loaded with features. Installation is pretty easy but configuration can feel a bit daunting. Just take your time and read the documentation and you should be fine.

phpBB

DOOR Games

One of the coolest features of a BBS in the 1980s was Door Games. These were computer games that ran externally from the BBS software. The term ‘door’ was a reference to how the BBS acts as a gateway to access these games. This technology has evolved in multiple ways and powers many of the advanced capabilities seen on the internet today.

There are many ways to run games on your website. Software such as Unity or HTML5 make it possible to build modern games for the browser. However because Nostalgia is a big part of this theme, I’m going to recommend EM-DOSBOX, which is a plugin that allows you to run actual DOS games from within a web browser. The Internet Archive uses this same software for it’s video game archive website.

EM-DOSBOX

Real Time Chat

In the 1980s operating a chat system on a BBS was extremely expensive. First most free BBS software didn’t support it well at all, so you probably had to pay for a commercial platform. Second, every user required their own phone line connection, so if you wanted a 10 person chatroom you had to pay for 10 separate phone lines. Today it’s so much easier and cheaper.

There’s a lot of ‘chat’ plugins available for WordPress. I am going to focus on Matrix.org and Riot.im. There isn’t an easy ‘plugin’ available to install these on your website, but you could use an iframe to embed a riot.im chatroom. The Matrix protocol is still very early in development and as time goes on you can expect there will be simpler and more elegant solutions for this purpose.

Matrix.org
Riot.im

Summary

So there you have it all of the tools required to build a modern “BBS” on the web, and with the exception of server rental all of it is free. You could, in theory, do all of this on your own server running on your home internet connection but that introduces some challenges such as DNS addressing. It’s up to you if that’s worth the $5 saved.

You might notice I did not include detailed tutorials on each piece of this puzzle. That is intentional. This post is meant to be a starting point for people interested in this sort of project. There are already dozens of specific guides and tutorials available for each of the things I’ve linked. This kind of project represents an adventure and learning about the software is part of that adventure. Also, detailed information like installation procedures are likely to evolve over time. So if you’re looking for help with phpBB or WordPress, just do a web search for tutorials on those subjects and you’ll find dozens.

I hope you found this article helpful or useful. I welcome any comments on how to improve my recommendations.

The website is the modern equivalent of a dialup BBS

Preface

Today I read a really cool and nostalgia article about the BBS, which stands for Bulletin Board System. BBSes were what the cool kids used to communicate online before there was a consumer internet. You can read that article here

I just had to comment, because BBSes played a significant role in my teenage life. I spent more time online than I did in the classroom. Seriously I failed several classes in high school because I never attended, I was at home playing Legend of the Red Dragon or responding to posts in the forums. I’ve included my response below:

My response

I think it’s awesome what you’re doing, I grew up on BBSes and I didn’t think they were weird at all, but everyone at school thought I was weird. Then the internet hit their living rooms and I don’t talk to those people anymore. Too busy getting paid $100/hr to build and support their websites.

While I love the nostalgia of this project, I think it’s worth noting that the “Modern BBS” is called a website. I know I know, ‘it’s not the same!’, believe me I get it. But from a purely end-user functionality standpoint, a website is exactly the same as a BBS, only improved.

Forums are handled by software such as phpBB (hands down the best UX in forums), you can play all sorts of web based games including dosbox classics with some java plugin, chat rooms are easy to embed especially with the new Matrix.org protocol, and of course we have various ‘wiki’ software to handle documents.

Best of all, an IP address is cheaper than a phone line ($5/mo droplets from Digital Ocean are the way to go) and the cheapest solutions can still handle 5–20 simultaneous visitors.

One of the things I always thought was really great about BBSes is how they empower “regular” people to organize and communicate ideas. Literally anybody can set one up, you don’t need a license or permit and the costs aren’t prohibitive. Websites are the same. We’ve been seeing the results of this anarchy for the past 30 years as corporations are no longer able to monopolize the distribution of information.

When I was a kid I ran my own BBS using the Renegade software. I had wicked ASCII art I found on pirate sites when you logged in, I forget what but it was probably a grim reaper or something. Now I have tailpuff.net and the first thing you see are high resolution full color graphics. It doesn’t tweak the nostalgia but it definitely is an improvement of the model first presented by the BBS.

How to Build a Modern BBS

I thought people might be interested in this idea, and so I decided I would provide some links to software and resources you can use to re-create all of the features of a BBS from your own blog website. These are not the only solutions, just my personal favorites.

Full disclosure: The Digital Ocean link is a referral link, if you sign up I will get credit toward my own hosting bill.

care bears holding paws

Furry fandom is not an “accepting” community.

I was introduced to “Furry Fandom” in 1994

I was spending time in a role playing chatroom on America On-Line. Some friends of mine at the time introduced me to this thing called TLK Muck where I could role-play in the Lion King universe. It was basically a whole world built out of a chat network. I joined that for a few months and met some others who introduced me to something called “FurryMUCK”. This is how I learned about the Furry Fandom.

Care Bear at Heart

When I was growing up I would watch the care bears every morning at 5:30 before going to school. This was where I learned to socialize. I learned about being considerate of others and caring about their feelings. I learned to be nice instead of mean. Because of this, I did not get along well with most of the people at school, because most of them are dicks who do not care about anyone but themselves and their own instant gratification. Before you think I’m being extreme, we are talking about 10-18 year olds here.

O.G. Furry

Furry fandom spoke to all of my interests. I started attending and volunteering at conventions. I worked 10 years in the security department for Midwest FurFest, and 10 years in the Audio/Video department for Anthrocon. I was also on the Anthrocon Board of Directors for 3 years, as the head of the A/V crew. I worked 90 hour weekends. It was physically and emotionally taxing, and I enjoyed it because I was building this thing that so many people were enjoying.

“Retirement”

In 2009 I suffered a painful break-up and lost my job a few months later. The stress was too much. It was difficult enough finding money to attend conventions and so I stopped volunteering. It wasn’t until 2013 that I really got back on my feet, when I moved to Georgia and started my own business as a technology consultant.

I have been attending FWA each year since, and while I have felt the craving to volunteer I’ve forced myself to stay in retirement. Other people can do the hard work, and I will just enjoy it, I’ve told myself.

Making Friends Online

I’ve made most of my friends using the internet since the mid 1990s. Several of my friends have died in recent years, and others have written me out of their lives for this or that bullshit reason. So to find new friends I returned to the internet. I started joining “furry” themed chat groups based on interests I share. Surely I could find some new friends this way, I thought.

Furries are bullies. Furries are trolls.

What actually happened was something different entirely. I got banned from more than half of the groups I joined because I stood up to bullying. The pattern was so consistent I was able to identify the exact method they use, which I will describe in a moment. Every where I went, IRC, Telegram, Forums, and so on, the same thing happened.

The Playbook

I mentioned that the bullies use a consistent method, and here it is. Someone throws out some “innocent” looking statement into the chat, usually something based on the stated interest focus of that chat group. When someone responds to it, they gang up on that person. This happened to me a lot, because I thought the point of being in chat rooms for specific interests was to chat about those interests. I did not know they’ve been taken over completely by social predators. When I learned to stop taking the bait, I started seeing them doing it to other people.

Once the victim has been identified, you see the exact same people every time gang up on that victim. If this goes on long enough, the victim gets “banned” for “causing trouble”.

The Definition of Cause

The victim did not cause the trouble, the cause of the trouble was the person who threw out the bait in the first place.

the whole ugly thing is hiding behind “free hugs” like a creepy man handing out candy to children from his van.

This is the reality of “furry fandom” culture.

This is an organized and pervasive culture of bullying, it is going on every day, in every “furry” chat group.  This is not an “accepting” fandom. It’s a hostile place, full of real life predators, and the whole ugly thing is hiding behind “free hugs” like a creepy man handing out candy to children from his van.

I love anthropomorphic art and stories and I think a lot of furries are really awesome people. But this thing that I’ve born witness to for the past decade is not anything that I would ever support.

Sex is okay tho.

You want to know what doesn’t get attacked? Sex. If you’re sharing porn or encouraging sexual behavior, with the obvious exception of groups that explicitly forbid that, the bullies never target that. Intelligent conversations get you banned, mindless masturbation material is encouraged. This is 100% true, and not accidental at all. It’s intentional and it’s organized and it’s everywhere.

P.S. The Irony..

I tried posting something about this on /r/furry, a sub-reddit on the popular reddit forum service. They banned me. With their action in spite of my warnings they validated everything I’ve said.

Linux: batch convert webp to png using ffmpeg

If you have some images in webp format, such as exported from Telegram’s “sticker” packs, and you want to convert them to standard png for use in other applications, I have written a small bash script which will convert all the webp files in a directory into png and then remove the webp files.

This requires that you have ffmpeg installed. If you don’t want the webp files deleted afterward just remove line 5.

If you find this useful let me know in the comments! I invite suggestions to improve upon it.