Typical MND misrepresentation: shame on you, Glenn Sacks OK, his explanation does make sense after all

Alert blog-readers may have noticed that many blogs, including this one, use a “cut” or “more” tag on longer posts, so that only the first few paragraphs show on the main page, and to read the full story one needs to click on a link that usually says “continued” or “read more”. The text used to anchor such more-links is fully customisable according to a webmaster’s whims.

On Shakesville, they have a few playful habits, one of which is having their posts on the main page use a “more” link which says “Open Wide” to read the full post, and then a link at the end of the opened version which reads “Shut Up!” so that the article can be closed to the shorter version again, with the web-browser remaining on the main-page the whole time. (This is different from the way that more-links work on this blog, which is to take the reader’s web-browser to a separate single-post page. ) That more-link/close-link pair appears on every long post that a Shakesville author wants it to appear on, but it does not appear on every single article there.

So how does an experienced blogger like Glenn Sacks quote “Open Wide…Shut Up!” in his post about one of Melissa McEwan’s article as if those words were actually part of her post instead of part of the blog’s main-page architecture?

Edited to add: apparently this is actually possible if one’s web-broswer has Javascript turned off when one cuts-and-pastes a Shakesville post into a text-editor. Thanks to Shaker marijane in comments below who pointed this out as something she had encountered recently.

I’m a bit astonished to find someone like Sacks with acknowledged little internet expertise browsing the web without javascript enabled as a general rule however. Most Web 2.0 sites will have bits of their format and function broken without Javascript enabled.

My original post is still below the fold.

  • Especially when those words only appear on the post when it’s part of the main page, and do not appear when the article is viewed as a single post (as per the link which Sacks himself provides)?
  • Especially when even if viewing the post on the main page, the post would say either “Open Wide” at the bottom or “Shut Up” but not both, depending on whether one had clicked that “more” link or not?
  • Especially when it was actually one of her short posts which didn’t even use the “more” link?

Screenshot of Sack’s post: click for larger version

Including the “Shut Up!” as part of his executive summary of Melissa’s post is even more blatant. It absolutely reeks of deliberate misrepresentation.

“If you’re not a feminist, you’re not a progressive…End of story…Shut Up!”

See, I took the trouble to scroll back through the last week and a bit of posts using the Shakesville main-page and the “back” button in its bottom left corner. I back-paged all the way back to April 8th and looked at that post as it appears using the main-page format. There is no “Open Wide” more-link to be seen, so there is no way to generate a version of that post that includes a “Shut Up!” close-link either.

Screenshot Shakesville: click for larger version

Just to hammer this point home: there is no honest way to quote any post on Shakesville that includes both “Open Wide” and “Shut Up!”: even if one did accidentally include that link-text in a cut-and-paste, the page would only show one or the other. There’s especially no way to honestly quote a short post which didn’t use the more-link to include that text.

Sacks must believe either that his readers are too lazy to actually follow a link that he provides and see that such text does not exist in the original post, or that his readers are not sufficiently ethical to call him out on falsely including text that was not part of the original post if they do follow the link. Either way that’s pretty damning.

Shame on you, Glenn Sacks. And shame on your readers for being so ready to believe your anti-feminist bile that as of this writing no-one has posted querying the inclusion of that text, which appears to have been included only to make Melissa look irrationally aggressive.

Next to the above faux-pas, the additional “huh?” about Sacks writing on April 15th about Melissa posting the quoted and linked post “yesterday” when her post was actually dated April 8th is hardly worth mentioning, but I will anyway. Wotta maroon.

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, Meta, technology

Tags: , , , ,

36 replies

  1. A reader sent me to this page. I guess I really am a “moron” because I actually didn’t realize anything about the “open wide” and “shut up,” and I did think it was part of the post. I’ll let my readers know.
    As for being an “experienced blogger,” I’ve been blogging for a little over a year and still feel somewhat new to it. As for “posted yesterday,” when I wrote it, it was “yesterday”–I sometimes write posts and then don’t post them until several days later and forget to change the “yesterdays” to “last week.”

  2. Nice try Glenn – but as I said, there’s actually no way to cut and paste quote Melissa’s actual post that you linked to and honestly include the “Open Wide” and “Shut Up” as part of the cut and paste. You would have had to add those separately and deliberately as two separate, additional, cut-and-pastes.
    Glad to hear that you’ll be modifying your post anyway.

  3. No, it wasn’t a “nice try,” it was the truth, but whatever. I changed it on both MND and on http://www.glennsacks.com.

  4. But Glenn, how could you have copied “Open Wide” and “Shut Up” as part of a quote from a post which did not include those words as part of a more-link/close-link pair?

  5. I’m not sure. But sometimes what I do is highlight and copy a whole page and then put it into frontpage, and then edit it from there. I must have done that and then thought those words were part of her post.

  6. If you click on the screenshot from Shakesville, Glenn, I think you’ll see that to do that would have involved some very weird manipulations of the page indeed, such as scrolling down to the bottom of the post below to find an example of “Open Wide”. And then you’d have had to copy a different version of the page, with that post displayed in full, to copy the “Shut Up” portion.
    That’s an awful lot of of scrolling and highlighting and cut-and-pasting to do just erroneously thinking “it was part of her post”.

  7. Good catch, Tigtog.
    These are some kind of flimsy excuses, Glenn. There’s literally no way that anyone could think “Shut up” was part of that post; that only shows up as part of a post when a “below the fold” break is inserted — and I didn’t insert one on that post, its being < 100 words and all.
    You would have had to, as Tigtog points out, thought that the “Shut up” at the bottom of another post entirely was part of that post, but none of the text in between was. Inconceivable.
    Btw, Tigtog didn’t call you a “moron.” She called you a “maroon.” Reading is fundamental!

  8. …shall we begin addressing what IS there, now? That list, are those or are those not, in your eyes, requirements for being a progressive? Particularly, do you openly acknowledge that hatred is a requisite?

  9. Melissa, I was actually going to write to you with an apology for my error, but since you’re here, I’ll offer it to you now.
    On the larger issue, both of you obviously disagree with my politics. Perhaps you’d like to come on to my blog and express your views directly to my readers? For the past 6 weeks we’ve been doing something called “The Feminist Dissident” on my blog, where feminists are given their own posts and the opportunity to speak directly to my audience, without any editing or limitations on my part.
    Our previous “Feminist Dissident” posts are at http://glennsacks.com/blog/?cat=91. If you are interested, I can be reached at glenn@glennsacks.com

  10. It turns out that if you view Shakesville with Javascript turned off, “Open Wide” appears at the bottom of every post, regardless if there is more below the fold or not. Also, since the link triggers Javascript, clicking on it never does anything. I dunno how you would end up with the “Shut Up” text that way, or even more how you would get both appearing, but it’s possible that different browsers behave differently. (I’m using Safari 1.3)
    My conclusion after experimenting with web browsing with Javascript turned off: it makes some sites more stable, and appears to make things generally faster, but it breaks things everywhere. Beyond the “Open Wide”/”Shut Up” thing not working, comments on Shakesville are completely inaccessible without Javascript.

  11. Particularly, do you openly acknowledge that hatred is a requisite?

    The whole post is about the difference between progressives and fauxgressives. Melissa mentioned three “hates” as part of that list: which were progressive and which were fauxgressive?
    I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that simply “hating Bush” is not enough to qualify anyone as progressive in Melissa’s books, it certainly isn’t in mine. After all, a lot of conservatives seem to hate Bush’s guts for not being hard enough on the various issues they wanted him to crack down on, yes?
    Hating the war in Iraq might be more indicative of progressives, seeing as how it has not resulted in any recovery of alleged WMDs, nor has it improved the lives of Iraqi women, and it’s cost the lives of thousands of C.O.W. personnel and many times more that in Iraqi lives. It’s hard not to hate an unjust and wasteful war.
    Hating the current US policy on torture seems like rather a progressive no-brainer. Torture doesn’t work, is actively counterproductive in promoting insurgency and jihad, and degrades the peoples who resort to it as much as it degrades the victims.

  12. Matthew, how interesting. I just tried browsing Shakesville with Javascript turned off in Firefox, and as you said, on the main-page I did see “Open Wide” at the bottom of every post. Of course, as you also said, without Javascript there was no way to generate the “Shut Up” option, so that’s still not any explanation for how Glenn could have generated that “quote” of Melissa’s post without a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing to generate the cut-and-pastes.

  13. I just came over here from Shakesville, where I mostly lurk, with the intention of having a good chuckle.
    However, I recognize this as a browser/javascript quirk I’ve encountered before, just a couple days ago, in fact. If Firefox users cut and paste the entire text of the post, they’ll get both the “Open Wide…” and “Shut Up!” text between the last word of the post and the word “Comment” when they paste. On a Mac, anyway, and it doesn’t happen in Safari. It may not happen on Windows. Try and see.
    So, this may be a case of lack of attention more than misrepresentation.

  14. marijane, thankyou. I just tested this in Firefox and when I cut-and-pasted the post to a text-editor it did exactly what you describe.
    Glenn, you’ll get a lot more out of most websites if you have Javascript enabled, truly you will. You are missing most of the special Web 2.0 features by having it disabled. I’m about to edit the post to reflect this new information.
    P.S. my apologies for my ingrained skepticism regarding your explanation.

  15. “do you openly acknowledge that hatred is a requisite?”
    😆 Maroon. Total maroon.

  16. Betty, wasn’t that special? I think bmmg39 at comment #8 was desperately snatching for any little thing that looked remotely like a possible Gotcha! to flourish triumphantly in our general direction.

  17. Beyond the “Open Wide”/”Shut Up” thing not working, comments on Shakesville are completely inaccessible without Javascript.That would be due to Haloscan, whose functionality is completely dependent on javscript.
    Space Cowboy’s last blog post..Somebody Call the Waaaaaaaaaambulance

  18. “my apologies for my ingrained skepticism regarding your explanation”
    Thank you, that shows some class, and is appreciated.
    I also think it’s nice that some of Melissa’s readers wrote in and explained how my mistake was possible, as opposed to “See what a despicable person Glenn Sacks is, etc.” Many of the readers on both sides–feminist readers and my readers–would not have been so fair.
    As for your comment about JavaScript, you’ll think I’m an idiot but I don’t really know what JavaScript is. I’ve heard of it a million times but I don’t know what it means to have it enabled or not enabled, and I don’t know whether mine is enabled or not. I have a web guy who handles all my web stuff for me, and while I do OK with computer stuff, there’s (obviously) a lot I don’t know. How would I find out if my JavaScript is enabled? How would I change it? And if I changed it, would it mess something else up?

  19. Every time I haven’t had JavaScript enabled, I’ve had a window pop up to tell me so and help me download and enable it. Of course, I always use Internet Explorer, so it might be different for you. However, you can get JavaScript downloads, tools, tutorials and more at http://www.javascript.com. A Google search will get you everything you need 🙂

  20. Glenn, I don’t think you’re an idiot, you’re obviously just more of a newbie than I realised. We were all newbies once. (Newbie Rule #1: Lurking is your Friend.)
    If you have a recent-generation web-browser, javascript will probably be an inbuilt option. To find the appropriate check-box, you will need to examine the “Tools” tab or “Options” tab in your browser toolbar, and look through all the sections until you find the javascript section.
    If you don’t have a recent-generation web-browser, go to the Help tab in your browser toolbar and look for the info on “updates”. I’m pretty sure all major browsers offer free online updates to their latest stable versions, which should include javascript pre-packaged as part of the update.
    If the above seems way too confusing, then ask your radio station’s friendly IT helpdesk guy, perhaps?

  21. Oh, for reassurance: javascript is a powerful enhancement tool for interacting online. The only thing it might mess up is your download times, but the additional links you will see and functionality that you will be able to access generally more than makes up for that as long as you have broadband internet access. Some people on dial-up internet access prefer to browse online without javascript enabled as a general rule, and only enable it for specific interactions on JS-heavy sites that they can’t live without.
    (P.S. If anyone knows of any other negatives regarding JS, please do let us know)

  22. Glenn, I understand the explanation for what happened, and I apologize for thinking it was deliberate.
    I do want to say, however, I hope you do enable Java, and I hope you start reading the comments on posts of mine after you link to them. Every time after you link to me, we get an influx of some of the nastiest comments we ever get, not to mention the death and rape threats I get in my inbox.
    I’m not holding you responsible for your readers’ actions, but given that my readers have been nice during this whole thing, I’m hoping maybe, because your readers do invade what is supposed to be a safe space and behave in a deeply offensive manner, you’ll just stop linking to me altogether.
    Melissa McEwan’s last blog post..News from Shakes Manor

  23. “Glenn, I understand the explanation for what happened, and I apologize for thinking it was deliberate.”
    Apology accepted. I assume you’ll update your readers on your blog?
    Every time after you link to me, we get an influx of some of the nastiest comments we ever get, not to mention the death and rape threats I get in my inbox.
    Some of my readers can be quite nasty, as are some of yours. As for people sending you death and rape threats, please forward me these letters, including the email addresses. To some degree I’ll be able to ascertain if any they are my readers, and if any are, I will provide you any information that I have on them if you want to notify authorities. I will also ban them.
    ”I’m not holding you responsible for your readers’ actions”
    Thank you. I try to extend the same courtesy to feminist bloggers. There are plenty of lunatics on both sides.
    “you’ll just stop linking to me altogether.”
    The reason why I linked to you was so people could see what you wrote for themselves, but I can understand why you would request this.

  24. I assume you’ll update your readers on your blog?
    I already did.
    As for people sending you death and rape threats, please forward me these letters, including the email addresses.
    Why would I do that? I can get their IP addresses myself, and your banning them doesn’t stop them coming to my blog and emailing me.
    The reason why I linked to you was so people could see what you wrote for themselves, but I can understand why you would request this.
    Okay, but why do you even need to blog about what I’m writing, when you already know that your readers will disagree with it? I just loathe the kind of blogging you do (and I know there are lefties who do it, too), where the whole point is just ginning up outrage at another blogger. I almost never link to and/or discuss rightwing or MRA bloggers’ posts, because I know the Shakers will agree with my assessment, and that there is a possibility that some will just be unnecessarily disruptive or rude in the other blogger’s thread. More than that, it doesn’t give my readers anything new to think about.
    Put forth your own ideas, new ideas within your own paradigm, instead of just pointing to me (or other feminists) and saying: “Look how dumb these feminists are.” You’re creating an audience of sycophants, and syncophantic blog audiences are the ones who race over to other blogs to call names and be disruptive, which is, let’s be honest, the worst thing about the blogosphere.
    If you don’t want to be that kind of blogger, then stop linking to me and using me as an exmaple of What’s Wrong With Feminism. Develop your own positive movement with concrete ideas for your readers to hold onto, instead of just being a source of their daily outrage. You’re just really not making the blogosphere, no less the world, a better place that way.
    Be better than that.
    Melissa McEwan’s last blog post..News from Shakes Manor

  25. “I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that simply ‘hating Bush’ is not enough to qualify anyone as progressive in Melissa’s books, it certainly isn’t in mine.”
    I know you’re not saying that “hating Bush” is sufficient to be a progressive. What I am asking is if you think that “hating Bush” is one of its requirements. Hating war, hating torture, sure. But I’m asking if hating the President needs to be part of being a progressive. This isn’t a “gotcha” question; I’m asking you sincerely.

  26. bmmg39, as an Australian I can’t really answer that on behalf of an American progressive. Generally though, I’d say it’s more targeted at people who say “look at how much I hate Bush and accept me as a progressive ally” when they simultaneously want to throw progressive causes such as poverty, healthcare, womens’ and minority rights down to the back of the queue of “issues” yet again.
    I can compare it to our most recent election, where progressives were accused of being “Howard-haters”. There’s a difference between rhetorical expressions of hate towards a political figure as an ideological icon, hating their track record, hating the thought of their ideological legacy perpetuating through the next electoral cycle and associated political ramifications; there’s a big difference between that rhetorical hating of a public figure and any sort of true personal animosity toward a private individual.
    I hated the ideas of Howard. I hated the thought that he might win the election. I hated entertaining the possibility that I would continue to feel ashamed that he was the leader of my country government, and that his policies and decisions might continue to define my country to the world.
    I didn’t and don’t have personal animosity towards him. I don’t know him, I only know his politics. If I’d seen him in the street then I might have yelled a political protest in his direction, but I wouldn’t have thrown anything at him or spat at him even in the most heated moments leading up to the election. I certainly wouldn’t do anything if I saw him in the street now, not even yell anything political: I’m just glad that we’ve hardly seen him appear in our press since last November. He’s gone. Hurrah.
    Did I make snarky, sarcastic and disrespectful posts about Howard? Sure. Might some people consider those posts “hateful”? Sure. But they were very much targeted at the politician holding the office, not the man. I bet that like any politician he got bags of hate-mail while he was in office, particularly leading up to the election. I expect that he gets very little now.

  27. To chime in here on the “sic ‘em” attitude at Sack’s blog — I just started getting a bunch of hateful comments at my home blog yesterday (guess where they came from? Glenn’s blog) — and in response, no less to my “Robbing the Hearts of Men” post . . . cuz that one was so, you know — man-hating and all. *eyeroll*
    I left a comment in his blog and requested that he not link to me, and was accused of “blaming” Glenn, and of being “angry”.
    The comment thread was, as you can imagine . . . interesting.
    PortlyDyke’s last blog post..You Know — Sometimes Humans ARE Amazing

  28. Portly, I went and had a look at the thread on Sacks’ blog. Interesting, as you say, that many commentors took your post to task as making assumptions about men being angry when allegedly they’re really feeling anything but, and then the first thing they accused you of was being “angry” with your mild comment. In other forums I’d cheer for such a delicious playful exercise of deliberate irony, but in this case I think not.

  29. Glenn Sacks linked to Portly’s piece at Shakesville the same day I asked him (above) that he just stop linking to Shakesville (it looks like one day earlier only becaus of timestamp differences), and told him I get offensive comments and threatening emails every time he links to me.
    Which, as you can see above, is a message he saw and responded to. Then decided to keep on linking, ignoring my polite request and showing no regard for my safety or peace of mind.
    That should tell anyone everything they need to know about Glenn Sacks.
    Melissa McEwan’s last blog post..The Puppetry of the Pentagon

  30. Melissa wrote “given that my readers have been nice during this whole thing, I’m hoping maybe, because your readers do invade what is supposed to be a safe space and behave in a deeply offensive manner, you’ll just stop linking to me altogether.”
    Melissa–As you see above, you asked me to stop linking to YOUR posts, not to those of the many other writers at Shakesville. I had seen PortlyDyke’s post about how society is “Robbing the Hearts of Men” a few weeks ago, liked it, wrote about it, and saved it as a draft until I had opportunity to use it.

  31. Yes, Glenn, and you have now also received my specific request to not link to my posts at Shakesville or my homeblog as well. I hope that you will respect my request.

  32. Melissa–I wrote a response to your criticism of the way I blog at http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=2076 –GS

  33. Someone writing in support of Glenn Sacks left 4 quite lengthy comments over 15 minutes or so, and used a fake email address in the ID field to do so.
    Fake email addresses are explicitly against our Commenting Guidelines, the link to which is right there beneath the “Leave A Reply” heading.
    The longer Comments Policy also notes a no-tolerance position towards commenting behaviours which tend to silence other commentors by dominating the thread. Excessively frequent and/or long comments are one of those behaviours.

  34. Two Javascript issues to be aware of:
    1. unless it’s very carefully designed, many Javascript-based features are invisible or unworkable when using screen reader software (e.g., for those of us who use voice output to access the web).
    2. Many public internet services (e.g., public libraries) can’t update to the most current web browsers (yes, I know Firefox is free, but municipal institutions may not be able to control their IT with the same agility as can end users with our own fast hardware). This means that requiring “modern browsers” can shut out those of us who don’t own personal computers (e.g., broke, displaced, homeless).

  35. Thanks, Jesse the K. Good points.

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