This is what stubborn refusal to understand Anarchism looks like

More often than not we see intellectual dishonesty rather than valid criticism when Anarchism is concerned.

There we go again. Another blatantly dishonest anti-anarchist rant from the Barefoot Bum who apparently has no limits to how much he will twist the reality of the situation to excuse himself about throwing unsubstantiated and horribly misinformed slanders against anarchists and the movement.

Once again he whines about hostility coming to him when he innocently and pleasantly tried to understand the threory. He forgets to mention how he crassly insulted anyone who tried to explain things to him, how he alienated any anarchists who attempted to clarify some concepts and how he banned and silenced all discussion in his own blog when he had no arguments. Is it any wonder that he’s faced hostility after he practically goaded for it? There’s only so much abuse anyone will suffer when trying to explain a concept to someone who’s convinced they are “fucktards”.

The Barefoot Bum is a classic example of deliberate obtusity. It’s not that he cannot understand. It’s not that people have no tried to explain things politely. It’s not that Anarchism is difficult to grasp as a concept. It’s that he steadfastly refuses to listen. He has no interest to find out what the theory says because that would mean that he can’t strawman it by using definitional arguments or that he can’t compare it to US Libertarianism (which he egregiously calls “Right Anarchism”).

It may seem that I’m beating a dead horse by continuously pointing out the dishonest methods of TBB but I can’t help that he constantly places himself on the pedestal of bad argumentation. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving triggers to show how not to blog and how not to argue against Anarchism. Take this for example:

I do not understand what anarchists mean by “hierarchical authority” (or the related concept of Libertarian and right-anarchism of “initiation of coercion”). The best explanations I’ve read of these concepts boil down to the presence or exercise of authority or coercion the anarchist does not herself like.

Which is a blatant lie. A most cursory examination of available and primarily suggested material shows that anarchist opposition to hierarchical authority is far more nuanced than TBB claims. Any anarchist who understands the theory they espouse worth a shit will argue in a similar vein and in fact, I’ve done so already and he’s even seen it! To take all this explanation and clarification that I and other anarchists have provided on this exact issue and claim it is nothing more than “exercise of authority or coercion the anarchist does not herself like” can only signify intellectual dishonesty of epic proportions.

Unfortunately this is the classic way by which people have been arguing against Anarchism for far longer than when TBB first started cutting his lying teeth.  Lenin, Trotsky, Drapper and a great number of other Marxist-Leninists have a proud tradition of purposefully misrepresenting Anarchist ideology in order to convince people not take serious notice of it. Lest they become “infected” one imagines. It’s funny really how both sides of the statist camp, left and right, are so similar in the ways they oppose anarchism: By refusing to argue against what it really suggests. This should really point out to anyone how little they can actually argue against the actual anarchist suggestions. Lenin’s book State and Revolution is characteristic in this regard as it was written in a period where the Bolsheviks were practically acting like anarchists and thus he needed to completely misrepresent anarchism within the boook so as to clarify that they were not the same.

Much like Lenin, TBB persists in claiming that Anarchists only mindlessly oppose The System. He bases this conclusion on the fact that Anarchists do not support nonsense such as “Governmental Communism” or “Transitory States” which he himself supports. The argument is as stupid as “As long as you do not support the existence of a transitory state of some sort, you’re being naive or immature”. Read any Marxist-Leninist anti-anarchist tirade and you will see this argument at the core of it ad nauseum. It never gets old apparently. Just look at this:

In other words, I’m not sure it’s even important for me to understand anarchism. If anarchism labels an affinity group of people who simply want to oppose The System without worrying overmuch about the specifics, then good for them. Although it’s not my personal affinity, anarchists in this sense must exist and to a certain extent thrive in any good system, especially a system of governance.

You see? Anarchists are just rebels without a cause and nothing more. ((Even Better: “I have come to the conclusion (which I of course can change based on additional evidence) that left anarchists are infantile faithists because they passionately defend a concept they are unable to explain and seems basically incoherent.”))

Much like all the classic anti-anarchist bullshit commonly flung around, TBB then proudly informs us that:

if anarchism really were, as many of its proponents suggest, a coherent, rational and practical political philosophy, then I do want to know about it and be rationally convinced.

…While stubbornly refusing to listen, understand or be “rationally convinced” of anything that does not already coincide with his currently held views.

For everyone else, I hope that TBB once more serves as a lesson on how not to behave. Anarchists are more than happy to help anyone understand and to clarify any concept you might have about the thory – as long as you extend the same courtesy you expect in return. Such examples are plentiful. But if you go out of your way to insult, silence and dishonestly misrepresent our opinions and those who try to engage you, then you have no leg to stand on to claim that you are open to being “rationally convinced” nor to complain about “hostility”.

My gawd, the man is truly an idiot of heroic magnitude

Larry responds to me criticizing his article and the whining is epic. Bring the cheeze people!

Disclaimer: Skip this post if you don’t care about internet drama.

TBB responded in the most telling way possible and which should give you a clear idea of the kind of reaction you can expect from him when he doesn’t like your arguments. He will not respond, he will not argue. He will declare your reasoning “sloppy”, Make up some imaginary reason he thinks you respond this way he can use as excuse to not argue and declare you a liar, intellectually dishonest, slanderous, fucktard ((all actual names he’s called me and others who tried to leave a comment there)), and a host of other things.

Hey Larry, should I call the Waaaahbulance now? If you don’t like people criticizing your ridiculous arguments for the piece of bullshit they are, because you keep talking out of your arse without bothering to even read of goddamn book except Mao’s mental farts, then you know, close down your blog again. You seem to have adequate experience on how to do that at least.

Or, you know, don’t. You give me ample stuff to write about and I can counter easily your claims that

Anarchism — at least db0’s version of it — is just incoherent sputtering bullshit, without even a valid critique of capitalism, much less any kind of realistic vision for a better society.

as anyone can see by reading a small sample of my articles here.  I simply do it while  poking your thin skin and watching you squirm and whine on your blog since you’re too much of a coward to interact with the internet at large and can’t take criticism, even well-meaning or polite criticism, without calling people idiots.

So yeah, I’m going to keep calling you the “fucktard” that you are since that’s what you requested more than often enough. You’re comedy gold mate and you’re fast becoming the clown of internet discourse everywhere, even among groups you belong in, such as Atheists and Socialists. You’re the one we can point an say “You see TBB? Yeah, if you want to make a blog, don’t be anything like him”

I hope you continue “not to mind” Larry, and do enjoy all the hits I’m sending your way. You’ve earned them and you continue to earn them by giving me arguments which I can counter and make a stronger case for anarchism rather than the statist bullshit you propose without having a clue about history or reality.

Oh, and lulz about me “calling Orwell a Totalitarian”. Please continue to point out how you lack even basic reading comprehension.


Unwillingness to understand the Anarchist "opposition to authority"

Is Anarchism opposed to any and all forms of authority? Does it oppose coercion of any and all forms? Most importantly, can one criticize it by assuming your own answers to those questions?

Ah, another day, another horribly misguided anti-anarchist post from the Barefoot Bum who seemingly simply refuses to even listen to  what anarchists propose before criticizing Anarchism. It’s kind of sad really, especially seeing that it’s someone who wishes to pass himself as a radical intellectual and yet is too stubborn to know his enemy and rather prefers to imagine what their position is and counter that. It’s starts to feel as if he purposefully avoids knowledge just so that he cannot be accused of willful strawmanning. But one cannot avoid pointing out that this kind of behaviour goes far beyond simple misunderstanding, and rather points out a stubborn unwillingness to understand the other position. This is unfortunately only exaggerated when one is closed to all dialogue and would rather close his ears while shouting at the wind ((It’s not even worth pointing out how astonishingly hypocritical he is to claim that he faces “hostility and contempt”, when he is practically the one making people hostile by treating them like shit, banning them from his site when they disagree with him and then talking shit about others where he cannot be countered. When he is criticized elsewhere, he faces “hostility and contempt”. Hah.)).

Still, it does seem that when sufficiently demolished, TBB just might realize how egregiously wrong he is and jump to another strawman. At best, one can expect him to eventually run out of strawmen. At worst, this might serve to prevent someone who does not know better from being taken in by this kind of nonsense. So, without further ado, lets take a look at the arguments put forward in this article.

First of all anarchism is criticized for not having a sufficiently succinct definition like “Communism” which he mistakenly defines as governmental control of capital. One can provide quite a lot of descriptions of Anarchism but you cannot understand the sociopolitical system from just a description. That requires either reading, or a discussion with actual Anarchists and you cannot do the latter by acting like a twat. Nevertheless, one can describe Anarchism as egalitarianism via prevention of concentration of political or economical power. The replacement of hierarchical control with individual voluntarism and the replacement of competition as the driving force of progress with cooperation. As TBB said, the devil is in the details but fundamentally anarchism is predicated on the idea that distributed capital is order more effective than concentrated capital ((And this is something sufficiently shown by looking at reality historically and empirically rather than pulling facts out of one’s own arse.)) and that self-determination and mutual aid allows humans to achieve personal happiness that is orders higher than authoritarian top-down management can ever achieve.

TBB then moves to wonder what anarchists mean when they say that they “oppose authority” which is something that indeed needs clarification. But if one actually read what Anarchists had to say about this, they shouldn’t really have any confusion on this issue. This is really not a subject that is easy to explain, nor does it spring up from the definition of anarchism or from sound-bites one heard in a forum discussion and unfortunately that is precisely what TBB is doing and then wondering why it makes no sense. Anarchists recognise very well the distinctions of “authority” and are very clear on what exactly they oppose. In the words of Colin Ward:

“You can be in authority, or you can be an authority, or you can have authority. The first derives from your rank in some chain of command, the second derives special knowledge, and the third from special wisdom. But knowledge and wisdom are not distributed in order of rank, and they are no one person’s monopoly in any undertaking. The fantastic inefficiency of any hierarchical organisation — any factory, office, university, warehouse or hospital — is the outcome of two almost invariable characteristics. One is that the knowledge and wisdom of the people at the bottom of the pyramid finds no place in the decision-making leadership hierarchy of the institution. Frequently it is devoted to making the institution work in spite of the formal leadership structure, or alternatively to sabotaging the ostensible function of the institution, because it is none of their choosing. The other is that they would rather not be there anyway: they are there through economic necessity rather than through identification with a common task which throws up its own shifting and functional leadership.”Perhaps the greatest crime of the industrial system is the way it systematically thwarts the investing genius of the majority of its workers.”

It is blatantly obvious, when one retains intellectual honesty and does even a light attempt at discovering what anarchists oppose, that it is hierarchical authority. We oppose the authority which comes from people being in control only in lieu of them having more power than others. In very short, we oppose coerced authority. Either passively or actively coerced, that is either authority enforced by force of arms, or authority imposed by taking away all other choices. TBB proceeds to doubt wether coercion can be imposed as it’s always “within society” but that is blatantly false as any society which has been invaded by another should make abundantly clear.

He also argued:

The anarchist opposition to “hierarchy” does seems really nonsensical; a small group that exercised coercive power should be objectionable even if it were organized other than hierarchically. For example, the capitalist ruling class employs hierarchical structures, but is not itself organized hierarchically.

This is irrelevant, since the capitalist coercive power can only be maintained by hierarchical control. Taking away hierarchical control would necessarily require the abolition of capitalism and therefore the capitalist class. In short, it is not possible to have a “ruling elite” without hierarchical authority, ie someone to rule over.

Anarchists of course do not aim to abolish all coercion, as that is simply impossible. At the most basic level, we still need to use coercion to prevent the imposition of coercion. Eg, we need to physically prevent someone beating up people who will not become his slaves. It is the use of coercion that matters and how it is applied and anarchists argue that using coercion to form coercive hierarchies is bad, because hierarchical coercion is bad for humans. The reasons why this is so, is a lengthy subject for another day.

Furthermore, his argument that distributed coercion is worse than hierarchical coercion is of course pure nonsense.

Finally, he also posits the following “paradox”

Another important consideration is that there are intrinsic variations in individuals and in the organization of more-or-less “voluntary” associations. These variations can combine naturally to afford some groups more power to effect their desires than other groups. And, of course, one natural desire is for more power. Not only does power naturally concentrate, but the concentration of power forms a positive feedback loop. In order to keep power distributed, some group would have to have the authority — the coercive power — to block or reverse natural concentrations of power. Concentration of power is necessary to stop concentration of power, a nifty paradox.

If there’s one thing that an anarchist who has had to debate quite a lot has learned to look out for, it’s the common fallacy from human nature. There’s key words and phrases which should automatically ring alarm bells to the heads of everyone reading such arguments as they attempt to call out to previous assumptions of the reader about “facts of human nature” and work from there. Such is the argument TBB is doing by saying “And, of course, one natural desire is for more power” where he doesn’t attempt to base his arguments on anything other than a very shaky assumptions of what is a “natural desire” for humans. Once you challenge this, the whole “paradox” topples down like a house of cards.

There is in fact no reason for humans to form coercive authority in order to prevent coercive authority. We can firstly prevent hierarchies from forming by not enabling them (which is where the abolition of private property comes in) and by distributedly coercing those who would impose them. But it is not tyranny to oppose tyranny. TBB would like us to believe that humans naturally would try to accumulate power and that groups of people will somehow manage to do this within themselves before extending over others. This of course will not work as within the group, those who are in the lower rungs of the hierarchy will soon rebel and demand equality. This “natural movement or humans within a positive loop” that TBB asserts is nothing more than an unrealistic idea based on assuming a human who acts however you’d like and on the pre-existence of a system which would  naturally select for such a behaviour (such as any propertarian system).

While I was writing this, TBB also wrote an article against voluntary co-operation, unfortunately filled with the same kind of misunderstandings of what Anarchism stands for. This is a perfect example of why it makes no sense to argue against a theory, any theory, without first bothering to at least understand what that theory suggests in the first place. It is unfortunate to say this but TBB is only following in the proud tradition of Marxist-Leninists (I’m certain he’ll reject this classification too and call it slanderous) who  go out and make strawman after strawman as they attempt to make people pre-emptively dismiss Anarchism.

Update: Also see joeldavis’ great point-by-point refutation in reddit.

The Barefoot Bum strikes back and the ethics of blogging.

The Barefoot Bum finally reacts to my condemnation of his actions. His response unfortunately falls short of the point.

8 12 09 Bearman Cartoon Freedom of Speech
Image by Bearman2007 via Flickr

…Sort of. In response to my internet drama post about banning me from his blog and my thoughts about it and his past actions he’s come out to clarify his position and why nobody deserves to call him an enemy of free speech or whatever. Of course that would actually be a valid defense if I had claimed that he was an enemy of free speech and open debate. Which, you know, I haven’t.

The Barefoot Bum thus, unwittingly, provides us with a perfect example to talk about blogger ethics and go further on why his actions were objectionable. ((Really, It’s not worth wasting any more bytes explaining how he didn’t understand why I was annoyed at him. My post is quite clear on this even though Larry picked the parts which were the easiest to misrepresent and proceeded to do so.))

He claims that he has no obligation to publish comments or be as nice to commentators and thus implies that shouldn’t be criticized for not doing that. He also claims that he doesn’t object to others criticizing them at their own locations…within a blogpost whining about me criticizing him at my own blog. The Irony is delicious once more.

But what he has failed to grasp is that I’m not criticizing him for being a hypocrite or an enemy of free speech. I’m criticizing him for being an arrogant elitist, for being a dick to people who don’t deserve it and for being hypocritical about being a “a honest seeker of truth” when he dismisses arguments which do not fit into his preconceptions.

His comment policy fits nicely into this picture since it’s a policy which works quite different from the examples he mentions about “no comments”, “no replies from the office”, and “open to all but trolls”. Putting aside the fact that any and all those comment policies can and should be discussed and criticized just as well, his own policy of “comments are heavily moderated and discouraged” is very vague on its guidelines and judging from the examples of what he ends up banning can thus be condemned for the thin excuse for intolerance of different opinions it is. Just because it’s his  policy in his own blog does not allow him to escape this, and this is precisely what I did.

One might ask, as he proceeds to do, why didn’t I do this before? Why I didn’t criticize his comment practices (or his Maoist tendencies) before this drama occurred. The answer is quite simply because I used to consider him an online friend at some point in the past and thus was trying to tactfully point out the errors of his positions without putting it bluntly and thus forcing him on the defensive which would have simply ended up with us speaking past each other. This is only common (n)etiquette between friends and acquaintances really as you’re trying to change the other’s position without breaking up all relations in the meantime. My attempts were especially cautious furthermore as I knew firsthand his intolerance and thus slow. But it was there, in the various counter-arguments I made in his comments and in this blog as well.

Of course, what ended up happening is that the more clearly I started opposing his position, the more annoyed he became at me and the more cold and stressed our interactions became. Still I kept hope that he would be willing to listen to opposing opinions  from someone who’s opinion he used to respect and thus I decided not to come out and condemn him openly until he took the first step to force my hand as I expected him to do, and as he proceeded to do. Instead of thinking why someone he used to read and agree with started arguing against his positions, he took the easier solution to consider that I must have somehow become stupid in the meantime and therefore not worth listening to.

In fact, this etiquette is what Larry seems to be severely lacking and something that he also deserves to be condemned for just as well. His reaction to people who express a different opinion is horrendous. He will accuse them of stupidity or “fucktardery” (to use his own words) at the drop of a hat and thus only manages to discourage and avoid dialogue. Is it no wonder why I consider such knee-jerk reactions counter-productive and do not follow them? And this is precisely the reason I now openly take the time and condemn Larry’s intolerant behavior. Because I wish to discourage it.

I don’t have any illusions that Larry will learn from this of course but he does serve as a great example of how not to act if you’re really looking for truth. Shutting down dialogue, especially when the other side is not being deliberately trollish or aggressive, is not in your interests as a freethinker. Larry may be too far gone with far too thin a skin to save but hopefully the rest of you aren’t.

For closing I am going to address Larry’s contention that he’s not a Maoist because he’s not explicitly said so. A claim so ridiculous on its face that I shouldn’t have to address anyway but I’ll do this just in case one can’t see it. Very much like Socialism or most other political theories do not apply via self-description, so does the opposite hold true as well: The lack of a self-described label does not automatically exclude one from the theory. Larry makes the fallacious reasoning that people are not a “Hitlerites” either simply for being vegetarians nonsmokers, missing the point that those factors do not a Nazi make. However someone who was intolerant to non-Aryan races and homosexuals and also an anti-semite would probably strongly point to Nazi-tendencies. Similarly, the Barefoot Bum’s promotion of governmental communism, his support and apologetics for various Maoist policies, his fawning over Bob Avakian and the RPCUSA and finally his intolerance for opposing opinion in a true Marxist-Leninist fashion, do point out that strong Maoist-tendencies certainly exist in his political orientation, even though he has not explicitly endorsed the whole theory.

If it walks like a duck and it looks like a duck but it hasn’t actually quacked yet to confirm it, you are still warranted to have a very strong suspicion that it is, in fact, a duck.

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The Barefoot Bum is just not interested

The Barefoot Bum decided the best tactic to counter my criticisms would be to ban me from his blog. This is my parting shot.

And for your daily dose of internet drama…

I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while and finally now, after the Barefoot Bum re-re-re-…-re-opened his blog I’ve finally been banned from commenting on it in no uncertain terms. He’s “just not interested” in what I have to say. This is after I simply pointed out that his speculations on the historical rise of capitalism are off-base as he misrepresents a lot of historical factors such as subsistence farming or the causation for wage-labour and thus may/will reach the wrong conclusions.

I was implicitly threatened with a ban if I did not “provide evidence” to counter his lack of evidence and then my subsequent comments providing some sources and explaining in direct terms that he cannot assert something and then demand evidence to disprove it, were deleted (or left unapproved more likely). Shortly after, I was informed via email that my input was not appreciated.

And this pissed me off.

Why did the random email from some random blogger piss me off? Because for good or bad I’ve had a friendly history with this particular blogger and in my dismay I’ve watched him descent more and more into intolerance and elitism as time went on. I’ve seen him ban friends, foes or simply well-meaning people for uttering words of criticism with the laughable excuse that they’re not “a honest seeker of truth”. I’ve seen him deliberately crap on my efforts to help him and did not even get as much back as a consistent apology (only some half-arsed mumblings about “Technical issues”). Back then I did not express publicly my annoyance at the way he treated me as I was willing to give him the benefit of a doubt on behalf of our friendly history, but enough is enough.

The Barefoot Bum has become the example of a blogger you want to avoid.

And it’s sad, you know? He was the type of blogger that I enjoyed linking people to and asking for his input for my own ideas. He has the type of sharp thinking that can accurately criticize socioeconomic issues such as the capitalist mode of production and reach some interesting and digestible conclusions. But his growing intolerance to simply being wrong is just off the fucking scale. Oh he’s just wonderful when he’s arguing against theism where he knows he’s right. I’ve seen him accept the most rampart hostility from theists with a chuckle, but don’t you dare challenge his nascent political beliefs and especially don’t you dare challenge them from a socialist perspective. Or he’ll shut down his blog!..Again.

Did I mention I’m pissed? Just in case you forgot.

For someone who prides in his “honest search for truth”, TBB is ridiculously closed to listening to constructive criticism or facts which go against his ideology. And don’t you dare do so in his blog without evidence he’ll agree on. His comments are just for praises after all. And you have something critical to say, you’d better post it where he can safely ignore it (i.e. your own blog) and continue as if no objections have been made to his errors and distortions.

And you know what the funny thing is? This change of character happens to correlate very nicely with his turn towards Maoism of all things! It’s like a perfect example of how flawed ideologies lead to flawed results, not only in practice but apparently in character as well. The more he started getting turning towards authoritarianism and “glorious leadership” as valid sociopolitical concepts, the more his own character started representing the nasty effects these concepts breed. It’s like a practical example of how character corrupting these ideologies are.

In any case, there’s nothing left to salvage here. This bridge is well and truly burnt and not worth rebuilding without some big changes. I do hope to be proven wrong and see Larry rethink his position and actually start hunting for truth with an open mind once more, but I don’t bet on it at this point. It is also probably time to also unsubscribe from his blog as there’s no point in reading analysis starting from flawed premises from an author who stubbornly refuses to consider this possibility.

Goodbye Barefoot Bum. I’m certain you’ll sleep better with the knowledge that your ban earned you a prominent place along with Objectivists and liars. I wash my hands of you.

UPDATE: Hey look, he’s just noticed this post and his response was his usual arrogant bullshit avoiding any substance. No, much easier to call me unintelligent and declare I’m not worth arguing with. I guess only stupid people can possibly disagree with the Barefoot Bum since everyone who does is labelled as such. As for Maoism, well, read his latest posts and make your own conclusions.

Slap in the face

This mountain bicycle features oversized tires...

I’ve been trying to control and introspect my feelings lately, after the recent event where the Barefoot Bum abruptly terminated his self-hosted blog. This sudden turn of events left me stunned and hurt, very much like a slap in the face.

Thus, I’ve been waiting for the last few days to get an explanation, a reason or something anyway to understand what led to this. But after my emails were ignored and my IM attempts were shot down, I’m starting to believe this is for him, somehow personal.

But why is this a slap in the face for me? Let me give you an analogy.

Lets say that you have an old fashioned bicycle which does not have any speed control but always moves at the same old speed. This bicycle does not have anything fancy but it takes you where you want it eventually but like all bikes missing speed control, when the road gets upward, it makes you struggle and when it goes downwards, your pedaling becomes useless.

I see this and I explain to you that there are new types of custom bicycles with speed control. They takes a bit of time to setup and get used to but give you much more power in your rides. You’re sceptical at first but once I explain the rest of the features and widgets that a custom bicycle can have and that I’ll be glad to set it up or you as a gift (once you buy for the material) you’re sold.

I also explain that I’m trying to convince more people to try these out as I think it’s worth it.

So I spend some time to setup this bicycle and you start using it. The first week goes just fine and while you don’t yet have the perfect understanding of speed control, you can ride it. Sometimes it gets a bit harder as you’re not used to switching the speeds but nothing serious. As far as I know, everything seems to be going fine until…

One sunday, I wake up to find you shouting how much these bicycles suck. You start calling them an absolute piece of crap that only bike mechanics could ever setup and ride, regardless of the fact that many non-mechanics are doing exactly that. Not understanding what changed, I try to explain that this criticism is a bit harsh.

And the next time I wake up and find that you’ve smashed your new bike into millions of pieces. This bike which as a gift I helped you setup, without any expectation of reward and with the best of intentions, is now scrap metal.

How do you think that makes me feel?

All along you knew that as my first attempt to setup a custom bike for, you are the first sample people are going to look at as an example. And yet, you now start saying that custom bikes are not working and that you can’t remove those dynamos I suggested for your old bike either.

You don’t consider that custom bikes may not fit your style. You don’t give me a chance to fix any problems. No, you smash it and then say that they are crap. As if you’re trying to deliberately turn people off and sabotage all I’m trying to achieve.

How do you think that makes me feel now?

If you thought hurt and surprised, you’d be spot on.

Like a slap in the face.

And here I am now. A few days after the “slap”, and I still do not know the fuck happened. I’ve been patiently waiting to see if anything will be explained but in vain. I’ve also been trying to suppress my outburst but I’ve had enough.

All I know is that from one day to the other a succesful migration was trashed and I’m reading impressions that I didn’t expect. At least not from someone I respected. And make no mistake. The migration was succesful. All the posts from the old blog were moved. All the comments, from both blogger and IDC were moved ((Save one post with ID Comments)). Everything was working. The only missing was the moving of the old blogroll and widgets to the new blog, and the only reason I did not do this as well, is because I was not given access.

There was absolutely nothing more complex left to do, than going to your dashboard and clicking on “Write new post”. Others agree.

As for the setup difficulty; do not be confused by my step-by-step process. In that, I went into excruciating detail in order to make it as easy and fool-proof to follow as possible. I could have easily shortened it to half the size.

That’s it then. This post was mostly a rant to take this stuff out of my chest before it easts me up and burst out like an alien of bitterness and anger. I cannot claim to know why BB acted the way he did but for me, it was certainly the wrong way.

For me, it is especially troublesome when we’re talking about atheist activism, solidarity and cooperation to have my first attempt to help others, pissed on like that from the get go.

UPDATE @ 02/11/2009: This post was never posted publicly until now. As a result of recent developments with the Barefoot Bum, I’m making it public as I see no hope of salvage. Make of it what you will.

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Barefoot Bum's New Slum

So, Barefoot bum’s new shiny, wordpress-powered self-hosted blog is now ready. I’ve finally finished with all the imports and the thing is ready to use. Of course the layout might change if Larry wishes but the thing is ready to be used.

Here’s a step-by-step summary of the setup process, just to get an overview of what was required. Keep in mind that for a new blog, you don’t need more than 10 or so of these.

Day 1

  1. Setup the domain to use php5 and not to use the needless www. prefix.
  2. Use One-click install to setup wordpress and wait 5 minutes.
  3. Setup WordPress password.
  4. Install One Click Plugin Updater through FTP.
  5. Deactivate Wp-Cache.
  6. Acticate the plugin Wp-Super Cache (Installed with wordpress).
  7. Delete all other plugins except Akismet and Hello Dolly (Just in case he likes it).
  8. Go to Settings > General and copy the blog desc from the original blog.
  9. In Settings, Go to Writing and add to the ping so that the Atheist Blogroll is pinged.
  10. In Settings, Went to Discussion and deactivated the option to require one approved comment before posting it. Increased the number of links before moderation to 3.
  11. Updated the admin password to a temp password from the default of WP.
  12. Added a new admin user for me and Larry and deleted the default admin to avoid 0-day attacks.
  13. Went Manage > Import > Blogger. Sent email to Larry to authorize wordpress for his blogger account.
  14. Downloading some themes closer to the original blog style.
  15. Larry started the import procedure. It finished in about 10 minutes for 1200+ posts and 3000+ comments.
  16. Installed a cartload of plugins. Activated them.
  17. Set Permalinks to /blog/
  18. Setting up feedburner.
  19. Setup Yadis for blogger
  20. Setup Photodropper
  21. Enabled wp-supercache and .htaccess settings.
  22. Added Similar & Recent posts to sidebar and feed.
  23. Added Socrates Image to right sidebar.
  24. Extended sidebar size.
  25. Added We-Op-Ed image and rss for larry.
  26. Added Atheist Out Scarlet A.
  27. Added more wigets.
  28. Got stuck on how to import the IDC comments from blogger

Total time to setup all these, from start to finish, while also doing other stuff (like chatting on ICQ and reading blogs): 5 hours.

Day 2

  1. Finally received some help from Intense Debate on how to import IDC comments from blogspot to WordPress. I got a plugin which automates this in the mail.
  2. Plugin did not work as my host does not support a php function for security reasons.
  3. Contacted the Josh Fraser, the author of the plugin for help. He was amazingly responsive and helpful and provided me with an updated version of the plugin that could work around the php restriction. Josh you rock!
  4. Import went perfectly and all comments were back into wordpress. Unfortunately one post did not get them as the title has italics which wordpress stripped and they names did not match. Nevertheless, the rest worked. (I will do a follow-up post on this later)

Total time for this part: 1 hour.


Of course this process was a learning experience for me as not only did Larry have a pretty customized blog with widgets, images, etc) but he is also subscibed to a lot of services I do not have access (Feeburner, Scoutle, etc). Finally this was the first time I was trying to migrate ID comments from blogger to wordpress sso this took some extra research as well.

For someone who has a very simple and uncustomized blog, the migration time can be cut to 1/3 easily.

Nevertheless, this first experience will now allow me to know what I need and streamline the process. Specifically, there is the issue that I cannot setup a lot of stuff without access to one’s accounts, while other times I may need feedback.

This is the stuff I need to know in order to bug people less:

  • Feedburner password: In order to setup your blogspot feed to redirected to your new blog
  • password or API: So that I can setup your stats
  • Blogger password and username: So that I can start the import process and see the codes for any widgets you have on your sidebar (Mybloglog, scoutle etc)
  • If the codes are not visible through the blogger gadgets, I need to have them so that I can put them in the sidebar.
  • How do you want your tags and categories? As blogger only supports the generic “labels” which gets translated to wordpress categories, I need to know which ones (if any) to turn into tags
  • How do you want your permalink structure to be? By date (as in blogger, like a newspaper), with categories? with a custom text (like here under /blog/ ?)

All of these are information that I will need to set it up with the minimum of input from you. If any of these is missing, unfortunately I will have to ask you or you do it yourself (for the last two options I can just make a choice myself which you can change later on).

All in all, it went quite well and nothing horribly broke. So I’m quite glad. This will go much faster for someone with a more simple blog (as in, one hosted in, or not very customized blogspot)

I’m only a bit saddened that Larry chose not to start using it yet. If he keeps using his old blog, new comments and posts will be more difficult to transfer over as it cannot be done as part of a mass import.

Anyway, so what do you think?

And it begins

The Barefoot Bum has accepted my offer. I now have my first…guinea pig 🙂

That was quick 😀

So I’ve now started setting up the Larry’s new home. I will attempt to log and blog my progress to that hopefully others who might want to follow, but doing this themselves might be able to do so.

Stay tuned 😉

As for the others, I still haven’t heard from Alonzo and unfortunately Vjack is preoccupied with Hurricanes and the like so it’s not really feasible for him at this point (and best of luck to him). In any case, I have some time until I’m finished with the Barefoot Bum.

PS: Fuck, I now need a new category to post these types of blogposts under.