Trolls and Bullies

Where did we get the idea that Internet communications should be anonymous? The Internet registration authority, ICANN, requires that all websites and IP addresses have real contacts, but once you get into a system like Twitter or Facebook, accountability disappears.

It is not enough that when an anonymous person bullies someone, disparages someone, or publishes lies that the person attacked gets to complain to the manager of the system who may or may not punish the offender. A bully’s penalty is have their Twitter account closed? In the world outside Twitter or Facebook, a bully is shamed for their actions. Someone must consider consequences when on stands up in a public forum and tells lies or disparage someone. In Facebook, the bully or propagandist is protected, but the bullied has little recourse.

I think we have to require that Internet services know who their users truly are and those identities should be public. These services are not small anonymous chat rooms anymore. That was the model in the infancy of the Internet, but the Internet has to grow up and foster responsible communications.

Master Class

I wanted to share my joy at being accepted into the Master Class workshop at Mendocino Coast Writers Conference this year – MCWC. I participated in the Master Class last year and, like many of the activities at MCWC, forged a bond with the other writers. We keep in contact and encourage each other. Several of us have had stories, novels, and poetry published since the workshop, and many are still working on the goal we set for ourselves: one hundred rejections.

I have been going to MCWC on and off for several years. I don’t know how unique it is, but the non-competitive, encouraging atmosphere is truly amazing. I like to think it is a result of the work of Suzanne Byerley, who was co-director when I first attended the conference. She was so encouraging. She made me believe that it was doing the work that counted. If you worked hard, shared what you discovered, and helped your fellows, good things would happen.

As she has for the last three years, my daughter, Samantha, will be joining me. She is working on the second rewrite of her memoir, Raver Princess. Like me, she has found the conference encouraging.


AI War

While working on the sequel to Nano-Uncertainty, More Uncertainty, the characters have taken me away from my original plot outline. It seems the story is going to be about an AI War. This is a theme that has been the subject of Science Fiction in several forms: The Terminator and Vaughn Heppner‘s A.I. Destroyer. Those are wars between humans and AIs, but what would a war between AIs look like? I started a page AI War to consider this. Your ideas are welcome.

Emotion in AIs

The sequel to Nano-Uncertainty, More Uncertainty, looks at whether or not an AI can represent emotions, and, if so, could those representations be used to control the AI’s actions.

While listening to a fascinating discussion on Forum, with Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of the call-in-ers mentioned to her that he worked in AI and his project was to see if emotions could be used to control an AI.

Guess I’m not the first person to think of this idea, but, hopefully, I’ll be one of the first to put it in a novel.

Here’s a book on the subject: At $439.00 for the book, I think I will wait for the movie.

Writing Dialog

I got some feedback from my writing group on one of my scenes that there was too much dialog without any breaks for summarized dialog or emotional expressions. I did some research – in A Farwell to Arms, Hemingway has half the book in dialog with almost no breaks. But that’s Hemingway.

I wrote another scene with breaks for emotional observation and my editor thought that I should drop the observations. We discussed the issue and finally concluded that the height of the emotions in the dialog should determine whether one takes the reader away from the dialog or tries to summarize in order to break things up.