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dunniteowl

dunniteowl
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October 11
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Supreme Commander of the Universe
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Matriculated from: School of Hard Knocks and Diablo Valley College (AA in Communications Tech.) Done all kinds of things for work. Painted sidewalk curb address numbers, sold shoes, USAF Radio Electronics Tech, Semiconductor Tech for AMD, Intel & SEEQ Technologies, worked at Stanford Linear Accelerator upgrading motherboards for Beam Current Magnet Control, IBM building "Industrial Strength" Voice Activated Dialing networks, server systems and intranets, sold greeting cards, nuts, grapes, newspapers and found pets, janitored, worked in fast foods, pizza and data entry. I even clerked at a 7-11 and also ran a big searchlight for those events at night. Also worked at a zoo, where I pretty much did everything you can do at a zoo other than be eaten. Some of those critters do bite. I write and have been since 1972. I have written poetry, fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. I also have come to enjoy essays relating to human experience, the future and being good stewards of this planet. I believe I'm funny sometimes, so chuckle occasionally at my weird jokes and allusions. Very into science and technology, love logic and reason. For some reason, though, I am also a certified Shaman. I can cast horoscopes and read Tarot cards as well (from the expressions on people's faces and their responses, I am apparently quite accurate most of the time.) Love photography: You can find me here: http://s52.photobucket.com/albums/g31/dunniteowl/ and here: http://www.viewbug.com/my-account/photos (if those don't work properly, just go to the main pages and do a search for 'dunniteowl' I am the only one on the internet as far as I know.) I also love game design, starting with board wargames, card games and RPGs. Please comment if you feel like it. I don't care about being "tipped" and don't even really understand it as a function. I signed up on Open Salon so I could have a wider outlet for my writing and hope that you find it of interest at all. This bio is a reflection of things to come, so be prepared.

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Salon.com
JUNE 8, 2012 10:18PM

Open Salon Protest: Don't Occupy Open Salon!

Rate: 38 Flag

You all know the stakes: Open Salon is under attack with spambots, live feeds, free Pay Per View, Hulk Smash vs Ironman sort of crap.  It's been bad before, but it's also not been this bad for some time.  It's bad enough now that the server is crashing and page loads are interminably long.  So I have a modest proposal for you and I await your response in support or lack thereof.

 I think, to make a point, in addition to flagging the spammers we should pick a day to NOT POST A SINGLE THING from a real live person.  I would like to hear your input, either by post comment or message to inbox.  Is this an idea you can get behind?  Can you go a day without an Open Salon post?  Can you suborn your desire to post and insead spend a few tens of minutes over the course of a day to do nothing but flagging spammers?

I know flagging is maintenance intensive.  I know it helps bog down the server.  I know that someone has to recieve these flagged messages and that's the real point.  The more messages they recieve, the more they're going to realize that we're not just going to sit here and piss and moan about it -- and nothing more.

For this reason, we also have to commit to doing something else -- nothing.  I mean it.  No posts, no comments, no activity, no rating, just flagging -- and nothing else.

It's like a reverse Occupy Action.  Don't Occupy Open Salon.  Do you get it?  With no human posts, no interaction between the people who actually use this site to communicate, to write, to inform, amuse or create discussion, there will be a relative baseline of how much activity is created in the feed by worthless spammers who shouldn't be here in the first place.

Of course, such a nothing protest is not without it's hazards and it's really nothing to them if that's all we do.  So we must have a demand to go along with this.  If this demand is not met, we'll commit more Don't Occupy Movement Inactions where the only sound of this site will be the hollow echoes of spambots posting with abandon, because we will have abandoned them -- at least for another day.

So what would our demands be?  I mean, after all, it's a free site and we're not getting paid, either.

Well, how about this: Institute a spam screening method such as Captcha or reCaptcha.  Sure, it's a small hassle to go through for all  us real people who have to enter the distorted words into the box, but consider this:  How is that worse than what we have to deal with now?

 To me, it seems the benefits of a serious and realistic Spam Filter far outweigh the modest time sink of five to ten seconds entering a passkey phrase that a spambot cannot recognize.  To me, it seems that this is a worthwhile, honest and sincere method to protest this situation.  To me, this seems to be the most humane and most effective method to get our point across.

What do you think?

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I think it would be difficult to coordinate. That's because not everybody agrees with this method. It'd be like going on strike with only half a union. While I like the idea, and may even join you at some point, before we do so, I think it'd be best to get the vast majority of OS members that are legit to agree to the same terms.
And it may backfire, like so many other strikes.
I'll be there, tho' with bells on.
I ain't no scab.
R
I think we had that this morning anyway. I didn't see anything "real" for hours.
A one day walk out is fine with me... who's going to organize this reverse occupation??
To all, as to organization, I would like to take a page from the Occupy Movement in that it has to be reached by consensus. In that light, I suppose you could call me a Facilitator for this.

One possible consequence of this is even talking about it on Open Salon out in the open, might get the attention of the PtB for the Salon Admins. It's not like we're asking for much -- just a way to reduce the spam.

This message is designed with that in mind and this message is also intended to start the process of dialogue, both here on the ground and hopefully higher up with the Admins.

We're not asking for the moon, or to install that Dalai Lama or for a War Crimes Tribunal for George Bush. We're just asking for a serious and useful spam filter that provides Open Salon the functionality that any site where real people gather deserves -- freedom from spam.
Let me know when and we'll go for it.
Great idea. I don't think you will be able to get everyone to commit, but if you get enough bloggers to flag, then they might be able to do something about it. R
i'm in if i can bring my gun....
Steel, bring whatever you want, this is the sort of protest we can all get behind, regardless of our personal differences, spam is spam to everyone and unless it's out of the can from Hormel, I don't know anyone that thinks it should be in abundance.
ok....jus lemme what we gotta do and when...
holy shit!....64 and my 1st protest...
R.
I'm in, just tell me when.
Rated.
Yeah, time to go on strike. No posts, no comments, no ratings.
OK I am in if everyone thinks it is going to help.
Great, people. Solidarnosk! As soon as I get more support for this, I will then beging Phase Two of:

Don't Occupy Open Salon!

And in case you were wondering at all the title and slogan is a double entendre.

By us not occupying the site when the day arrives, the intent is to drive the point home about the spam and to get the Admins to act to get rid of it so that spam doesn't occupy Open Salon anymore either.

I'm sort of clever that way -- playing with words is one of my favorite hobbies.

Hang in there and don't forget to spread the word if you think someone else hasn't heard yet. The best way for this to work is to have a large mass of peaceful protesters not posting. That means I cannot possibly do this on my own -- we must work together for common cause.
Apart from the slowness and jamming I'm not particularly affected by the spam but then, I'm kinda oblivious ... there's a flagging effort going on? Anyway, I'm in. I agree that as many as possible should join the occupy so let me know if you need some help.

(poor ole salon - it just gets lamer and lamer)
I think most sites just have a maintenance day, e.g.: "Sorry, we will be closed Monday for maintenance to our servers. We apologize for any inconvenience." Apology accepted.
Go on Strike. I like it. But something tells me they wont and dont care.
I'd be willing to go along with it especially since I've hit a dry spell on posting. Not sure what it would accomplish but for one day it's worth a try. I assume that day would be a Friday?
I've only been here a couple of weeks. Keep me posted as I'm pretty clueless how all this works. Cheers from Austin.
Just give me a date and I'm out of here ...
I will enlist in the DOOS crew. Its a great idea. Hope you will keep us posted on how to do it.
rated with love
Yes--please do keep us posted as to the timing. Would that be for next Friday or the following Friday? And is this a 24 hour long walkout? If so, how do the various time zones cooperate? Some of us are from Oceanea, where it is a different day entirely. SOme are from the EU. You get my meaning.
Peace
Of the 20 posts currently appearing in the Activity Feed, 15 are pure spam. This needs to stop, one way or another. It is freezing out legitmate posters, readers, and commentators.
Dunni,i think this is an excellent idea and I would like to count me in and inform me on the when!!Wishes from Greece!!!
I'm there like a bear.
^^ HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! ^^

Oh, really??? You the flannel or the leather variety, V. Corso???? :D



And, yeah, I'm in.
PROTEST!! PROTEST!!!!!
I don't think it is going to happen...and I don't think it is necessary. Besides the cost of stopping the spam...why would anyone in his/her right mind want to do so.

The crap makes the site look busy...and that is an important ingredient in looking big.

It is a royal pain in the ass...but there is no way the money needed is going to be spent here. A protest is fun...but it will be no more effective than no protest.

Sorry, but that is my opinion.
I agree with Frank. Old posts will just stay where they are an extra day. Outsiders who stumble in here won't have a clue what's going on. Now, then, if we were all to post THE SAME THING on the same day, something simple. Like WE'RE ALL ON STRIKE TODAY, under the same headline: OPEN SALON HAS SOLD OUT TO THE SPAMMERS, so that the feeds fill up with nothing but spam and our posts with the identical headline, that might get somebody's attention.
never protested anything, but how bout this......ONE person posts...."WE ARE NOT TALKING TODAY" or something like that.....and everybody rates it,no other posts or comments....or mebbe not....
@Steel Breeze, that would leave the rest of the top-rated feed filled with our old posts. The one protest post would remain at the top of the feed, but everything under it would be old. If we each post with the same headline we could fill the "top rated" feed with identical headlines, with everybody rating every one of them, no comments needed, that would catch the eye and leave an impression.
Great thought that might have sparked an even more powerful way to get the same message across. Because remember---they only change the front page ever 3-6 days. So how about CM's idea of one common headline?

Either way, I'm in!
ok.....guess i'll just go back to my violent fiction...
I can only speak for me and not my other personalities but I'd be happy not to post and have thought about cashing it in anyway. I don't even get e-mail notifications anymore regarding anything. (been about a month this time)

Seems whomever wants to load up this site with crap must lead a sad, lonely life and needs a ball to play out in the highway with.
TWENTY-NINE affirmative posts and then we come to fRANK, who true to his myspace motto: "i love to argue and am proud to have been thrown off of three boards," of course takes the opposite positions.

ssdd.
This place is free, we have no power and if they close this place we are screwed. There is not another site like this on the net, I've checked many of them out. Not one has a community atmosphere like OS. I know we put up with this shitty fricking spam, but the alternative to me is frightening.
I'd like to take part but it would be tough to co-ordinate. I've been thinking that we come up with a collective letter that goes directly to Joan and Kerry, signed by everybody.

At this point, one day of us not posting...well, it doesn't seem like anybody cares much what's happening here anymore, anyway.

As for it being a free site and not getting paid, I object to that somewhat. As long as there is traffic coming to this site and we produce it, it's a commodity. It's a business agreement we enter into here on OS...no one is really doing us any favors. It's a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" except our back is no longer being scratched.

I still maintain a group letter outlining our issues in detail and how we've all slowly been bailing for years and its a friggin' shame and a waste of traffic. What can they do? (Well, better written than that!)
Wow, this is getting cooler as far as I'm concerned. I didn't expect everyone to agree with it, but I wasn't sure there was going to be this kind of agreement, either.

For Frank Apisa and those who agree with him:
Captcha and reCaptcha are easy installation solutions and are not expensive at all. Mine came with my VBbulletin software to run my website, and that cost $130.00. I don't think Open Salon is going to balk at the heavy cost of spam filtering.

Other than that, I don't have a response to your lack of concern only to say, "More power to you." Does that mean, though, that with a potential plan in motion, you would NOT join in, or what? I'm not anything more than curious.

The idea with a protest is that you may not completely agree with it, but can you support it -- especially considering that the repercussions for negative backlash are so minimal as to be non-existant? So, even if you're not in, could you stand on the sidelines?

I like the idea of a series of single headline posts from everyone with the same title and then everyone rating each others' posts, though I am still intent on not posting anything and letting the spam hold the feed.

New people as a consideration is something I hadn't really thought about. That said, what would a new person to Open Salon think if no-one were posting and the only thing they saw was spam ads in the feed? So that's definitely something worth discussing.

Now here's a thing I just have to say, though:
While I like some of the alternative ideas, my focus on not posting, not rating and not commenting was this:

It's the easiest thing to do: Nothing.

A protest has to have, at it's core, simplicity. So that was where my head was at when I posted this idea. In all honesty, the idea was a cross between an Occupy Protest and "A Day Without a Mexican" where everyone had to do things themselves, because there was no "help" to be found.

I do realize that the Front Page/Cover is changed something like every three to six days, depending, but I have yet to see nothing change on Friday/Saturday, because that's the last period when the OS Staff takes their time off, so Friday is like the banner change day, even if the feed and pages change again on Monday.

As to the time of the event, that's something to work out and for all of you across the country (the US has four, five if you count Hawaii and six if you count the entire continent. I'm going to be using Zulu time or UTC (Universal Coordinated Time) and the map to draw your times from will be here:
http://www.worldtimezone.com/

As to the exact time, that has yet to be determined. I am still reeling from the fact that the idea is gaining this much traction so quickly (which should tell you something all by itself with the frustration index here) and am also open to modifications of the idea.

Lastly, while I would like to copy the Occupy concept as much as possible, there is a caveat that people, in general, look to have someone they can identify as a "leader." I never really thought of myself as that guy, but for the purposes of this protest, I suppose you could pencil me in for that role as Lead Facilitator or something.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and opinions and if you feel you have to communicate without an open comment, you can always message me to my Inbox as well.

Thanks to all!
Occupy Your Mind
Don't Occupy Open Salon Protest
(privisionally I suppose this coming Friday would be a good day, of course, coordinated with the time map and all other posters around the world using OS)
Mishima suggested on Jmac's spam post that mgmt stop accepting new accounts as way of addressing the spam problem. For obvious reasons mgmt is not about to do so. A reasonable compromise might be to adopt something similar to what went on here during the beta phase -- that is, new members by invitation only either by mgmt or existing members.

But any such solution assumes mgmt actually wants to eliminate spam rather than profit from it (not accusing, just wondering) -- and you know what happens when you assume.
Other than that, I don't have a response to your lack of concern only to say, "More power to you." Does that mean, though, that with a potential plan in motion, you would NOT join in, or what? I'm not anything more than curious.

The idea with a protest is that you may not completely agree with it, but can you support it -- especially considering that the repercussions for negative backlash are so minimal as to be non-existant? So, even if you're not in, could you stand on the sidelines?


I will not post next Friday…nothing at all.

I expect nothing to come of it, but if that will make you happy, I WILL NOT POST NEXT FRIDAY.

OS already gives me all I expect of it…and the “spam” I simply ignore. I wish it were not here, but I am of the opinion that if someone wants to post spam, the spam will be published.

As far as “the cover” is concerned…or ratings…or any of the trappings—frankly, I could care less. I am not interested in outside validation. I say what I have to say…I write what I want to write…and that is it. If people want to agree with me—fine; if they want to disagree—fine; if they want to ignore me—fine.

I am not interested in what OS does with “the cover”; I am not interested in “editor’s choices”; I am not interested in ratings for my pieces or in rating other pieces. I just want to share my thoughts and to consider the thoughts others want to share with me.

Bottom line: OS is a fine site where I can have a say on issues that I find interesting…where I can share ideas and listen to the ideas shared by others. I guess there could be improvements…and some of the navigational difficulties can be vexing at times…but not to the point where I think there should be “protests” or “movements.”

Sorry you have to characterize this as “lack of concern”, Owl. I prefer to think of it as seeing this particular glass as half full rather than half empty.

But YES…in furtherance of your goals (or more exactly, so as not to act in hindrance or obstruction of your goals) I will not post next Friday.

Good luck with whatever message you are trying to send.
We wouldn't need to be confronting OS management over this stuff if those idiots here, in the peanut gallery, didn't keep using those spam links to feed their juvenile sports addiction.

If nobody used those links they'd soon stop appearing. I'd go with a strike for THAT!

I don't know where so many of us got the idea that management could stop that spam in a minute if it wanted to do so. Have none of you seen the ads that blatantly boast that they can put such spam ANYWHERE THEY WANT IT!! (Anywhere you'll pay them to put it).

A strike is a great idea, but let's strike against the perps, not our OS benefactor.
.
You just call it, the rest of us will follow! But I don't always stop by OS. If I see nothing, I'll know you did it.

You would think, OS would screen those who join. If nothing else, to keep out the trolls! I think they actually generate some of that spam themselves. Just my opinion.
Okay....but I think Chicken Maan's idea would be much more effective, filling the feed with the same headline, all rating, no body to them....
Mostly I'm concerned anything we do en masse might be the tipping point of: okay, stop the unruly OS crowd, and the plug is pulled entirely.
I can already hear the discussion at the board meeting, it is definitely happening already: what do we do with Open Salon?
Kerry wants to keep us, new CEO sees us as dead weight.
My take, anyway.
The movement, whatever form it winds up taking, has my support and cooperation.

Lezlie
ah sorry man, i am an American narcissist par excellence....
" Can you go a day without an Open Salon post? "
i thought i could, but i cannot.

" Can you suborn your desire to post and insead spend
a few tens of minutes over the course of a day
to do nothing but flagging spammers?"

doing what?
flags flap in my face these days.
town is patriotic or whatever........
damn flags, they make me nervous cuz the old people dont
want you ripping em off the wall
and throwing them away.
sensitive, old guys.

I know flagging is maintenance intensive. I know it helps bog down t
I am feeling for those this weekend trying to get their stories across ~ they sure picked the wrong time !

Searching Most Recent for gold is on my list for Sunday.

" ... seek & learn to recognise who & what, in the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space." Calvino
Chicken Man's idea would seem th emore proactive, more like a protest march than dead silence th ewhole day. besides, not everyone is agreeable to NOT posting that day. So when those of us with our ideas at least similar look at it afresh, it would seem the only way to go would be to all post the same way, with the content similar or identical, all of it geared towards getting upper management to finally notice how bad things are.
Then, too, I know we risk having OS shut down for maintenance, if not altogether.
One simple mechanism to actually stop spammers from getting in would be all it would take, but we don't know their every objective, much less their every budgetary issue. How much does said mechanism cost? Are they willing to spend? And if not, then WHY NOT must become our chief quest.
The answer might not be a pretty one.
It could be an under the table deal which somebody higher up doesn't wish to have revealed.
We must be careful, tread carefully, negotiate wisely.
I definitely will participate but don't know how to get all those who are also bloggers who don't get read as much, or read and comment, to participate. There must be hundreds who are somewhat active.

There is much to be said for Just Thinking's comment, no way of knowing who is fighting to keep OS and who wants to get rid of the extra expense. Not to mention the embarrassment when investors come look at the site. Imagine pitching why someone would want to invest a few million in a site with a side order of writing salon, and them coming to see our teenage brawls and dramas! There's more than spam that fills the feed, there's a lot of other mystery meat too.

We had investors tour the dot com I used to work for before it went under, uptight looking bunch every time. Then she ran out of investors and wound up in jail in Haiti for trying to embezzle children with a bunch of Baptists, sorry to blather, the story that still amazes me. People are quite surprising when it comes to money. Tom Cordle will remember posting about that story, hi Tom, I was "Carole" that was feeding info to Andy Kopsa.

Ah well, if it goes under, it goes under, and not because of us. It's all about lack of ad revenue and average people being broke. I wouldn't mind a boycott, it might make me feel powerful. I'll watch for specifics.
@ Poor Woman: just from a quick Google scan, it appears you can get a Captcha program for free!

http://www.captcha.net/

Now begs the question: Why haven't they?
Folks, I am amenable to a Spam Fest of the Same Titled Post from everyone involved and then spending an entire day rating, rating, rating to keep them up on the feed. I am totally okay with that and I agree, it's a bit more proactive.

That's more protest oriented to be sure. In my idea, it's really like a lockout or a boycott. I am open to either or one on one day and if nothing happens, then another on another day, or just keep hanging out at Emmerling Park here on OS. Again, I am really just wishing that, as a group, we can all make a joint statement and just see what happens.

If nothing happens, then we have our answer as to how much those who run the site care about how our experience goes, right? If they act in some manner, even if only to answer us, then we'll know that too.

Most importantly, either way, what do we lose by acting?

Honestly, I don't see that even being an issue on the whole. It's just time and we're using that up anyway.

Thanks again all and I will update with a time frame within the next 24 hours so that we're all on the same Page, so to say.
I'm confused. I can and frequently do go days without OS on any level. I have my own blog outside of OS and only cross post to OS in the first place. And, I don't always even go to my own site to see what's up there for days at a time. If my TV died, I wouldn't kill myself over it, just spend more time reading books. Same thing for OS. I'm not convinced that OS would notice whether i lived or died anyway. Truthfully. I do appreciate the effort though. Ya know, decades ago I was in the Peace Corps. I'm not sure anyone in my host country would remember me, either. Certainly no one in our own government remembers I was there. I guess that has flavored my world view in a big way. Stay home. Read more. Write more. I was fine before OS. I'll be fine after.
Glad to have met you all along the way.
Just in case you didn't get the memo, It's a SPAM war, baby and it's going on right now. The suggestion to post our own SPAM posts I liked and others had already started that I flip flopped and went all in on that idea.

Here's my SPAM post that explains it:
http://open.salon.com/blog/dunniteowl/2012/06/09/the_debbil_made_me_spam_this_post

We don't need no stinkin' leaders and we don't need to wait.
If not now, when?

as to not messing with our benefactors:
Spam is stoppable.
Spam is bad.
Spam is getting worse.
Spam filtering is FREE.

All they have to do is get it and integrate it into the current DB/OS/OS (that would be DataBase/Operating Software/Open Salon) and they should be good to go. It may not stop the SPAM entirely, but it'll definitely put the kaibosh on at least 90% of it and I could tolerate a level that's only 10% of what it is now.

Occupy Open Salon with the:
OS Spam Protest Fest (I liked the SPF so we could allude to sunblock as SPAMblock.)
I also would like to point out that I like Beth Mann's idea as well and think it has merit. Should this be a collective series of Messages sent to Kerry and Joan or a collective letter signed by all somehow and posted? Both?

Your thoughts?
I'm in but I think we do need the Dalai Lama.
Frank, the spam and cover issue...it's more than some ego issue; it's a collective site that we all help maintain via content. and when the home page looks bad, that looks bad for all of us. When we're bombarded with spam and slow loading times (by the way, is the spam causing the slow loading times? How does it interfere with our work here, other than jamming the feed?), it deters visitors and the writers from the site. It's a turn-off and people, including us, will tend to visit less. So your message isn't really getting out there as optimally as it could be.

Re: the letter. We just open a new account called "Letter to Joan and Kerry. Please Help." We could build it via comments with you or whomever writing a generally summary of the issues first. Oh...we could leave ten of the best comments in the post. Make sense? It would be:

Dear Joan and Kerry:

Point 1
Point 2
Point 3
Point 4

(all written by you or volunteer. Basic info. Just problem and possible solution. Technical writing.)

THEN:

COMMENT FROM OS WRITER 1:
COMMENT FROM OS WRITER 2:
COMMENT FROM OS WRITER 3:

We use their names. In short, we a comment section, just like we do here, at the bottom of the post.

We can leave as many comments as we want. Though we could stand to pick and choose. Some might be repetitive.

Some collective signature at the end.

Okay, hopefully that makes sense. I need more coffee.

b
Beth, that sounds pretty good. I'll consider using that as a template to get started. If an account to communicate is started, then I suppose the best way to "sign" it would be to simply add a comment to the "Letter" post with nothing more than the word, "signed," to it.

Additional comments to add to the statement would be to add "points" or elaborate on those points, I guess. In any case, it's a good idea. I am not nearly as clear headed today as I'd like to be. I did, though, wish to comment that I thought your idea was a good one and I will see what I can do to get that started.

thanks!
Yes, that's about the size of it. I'd include some of the key comments by OSers in the body of the mail at the end, separate from the "letter" itself. Handchosen comments that summarize personal feelings about their experience; that will help get varying points across. Like 10 or so.

"Open Salon used to be ________ and now it's _______ and I'm sad. - Beth Mann, Open Salon

That kind of thing. There's even a way (I've seen it on posts before) where people have embedded the comment section within their post. If that's not possible, just quotes from key members (I think that might be helpful as well. Some members have been around here for a LONG time. Kerry and Joan know them so they'll have a bit more pull.)

In the actual comment section, people can simply write "signed." Or another personal comment. The good thing is, the letter can grow and change as the content does. We can revise until its ready to go...and then we all should send the link to Kerry and Joan.

I'm having more and more trouble signing in here so email me at beth@hotbutteredmedia.com if you need help/have questions. Thanks for taking some initiative with this.
Tell me which day by IM and I will support this.... Not just a boycott to post but a boycott to VISIT OS on any certain day...
I can do this, and go you one better. I will contact all of my dead relatives, all dead former Presidents, Michael Jackson, Napoleon, Jesus, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco. All will agree to not post on this day.
I agree with Beth. If the Powers That Be don't notice the spam posts for soccer games and Nikes, they are not going to notice we're not there. We're not there now! I'll sign.
Okay people, I appreciate the support. I agree, it's entirely likely that it won't be noticed. I ask you this, though:

If we do nothing and nothing changes, what right do any of us have to complain? If we do what *we* can and nothing changes, then don't we have a right to complain?

Free or not, the spam is contravening the Open Salon mission statement. It is quite obvious that things have changed since the opening of Open Salon. It is also quite obvious the changes are making this place worse, not better.

To any and all that say:

It's a free site; that means we shouldn't complain or they might take it away. I say this: I have administered and moderate, currently, a free to sign up site for a large gaming company. I have been moderating there since 2004 (wow, I can't believe it's been eight years...) and while the company owns the site and the players post and comment there for free, our complaints about site issues (including spam) are heard and acted upon. They only have ONE (I was told in quite snarky terms) IT guy and so changes are slow.

They listen and they do try. Open Salon has an equal responsibility to us, their patrons, because it is this patronage that drives the initial power and life of this site. The ads on the site, the legitimate ones, are paying for site maintenance and upkeep (or should be) and therefore the spam simply chokes off the ability of those legitimate ads to reach their audiences.

We act because we see it as a problem. If the site admins don't act and don't at least say something, then we must presume they don't care. In the face of this onslaught, though, I think doing what we can is, if nothing else, a legitimate step to claiming the right to complain that we now have proof of a failure of the admins to hold up their end of the bargain.

We write, we post, we drive hits by sharing and linking to other sites (like I link almost everything I post through my FB account and occasionally through Twitter), driving more readers and more hits to the site. Each of us that does that pulls in more hits. The spam?

I have checked. Hits include views, which show up as people actually clicking the title and at least looking at the posts. Not so much. Very few hits. This means the spam does not generate as many unique views as do our posts.

From a marketing perspective, real people writing real posts and generating real interest in the site do a much more effective job per registered member than any four to six posts per spam member. As an economic point, the additional impact from spam requires the site to have more bandwidth to achieve the same ends as what happens without all the spam.

Expect to see a Petitioner's Letter Forum account in the next two to three days.

Thanks again for your support and your concerns!