Social media update, and contemplating a language change

I am happy to say I now have Facebook access back and no longer need to keep running to my husband’s office to use his account. Hopefully I can avoid further troubles with the platform but honestly I have my doubts. During my time away I encountered, and commiserated with, many people online who had been kicked off Facebook for no good reason, and sometimes no reason at all, and unless the platform makes major changes I think things are only going to get worse.

So posts on the Charley Project Facebook page have resumed as before. Need I also remind you the Charley Project is on Twitter?

I’m also happy to report that I’ve had no side effects from Thursday’s COVID-19 vaccine, other than a sore arm. It was very sore yesterday and much less so today. I also have a sniffly nose, but I’m pretty sure that’s just pollen.

Now on another topic: Occasionally I have adjusted the Charley Project’s vocabulary to fit with the times. For example, I stopped saying “confined to a wheelchair” after it came to my attention that, for people who cannot walk, a wheelchair is not a tool of confinement but liberation. Instead I started saying “uses a wheelchair” or “needs a wheelchair for mobility.” I also changed “committed suicide” to “died by suicide” because suicide is no longer a crime in most jurisdictions, and referring to the act as if it was still a crime contributes to the stigma against it and against people who die in this way, most of whom were suffering terribly.

Josh Duggar’s recent arrest (is anyone surprised? not me!) has got me thinking: I’ve seen a trend, in some publications, to replace the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse images.” I think it’s a good change. Adult pornography, whatever feelings you might have about it, is legal in most jurisdictions throughout the world, and participants are doing it voluntarily and are usually paid. Child pornography is obviously not legal and the participants are being exploited and abused, and the term “child sexual abuse images” reminds a person of what is going on in those pictures and videos and the crime that must be committed to produce them.

So I’m thinking of making the change myself, and changing all references of “child pornography” on the Charley Project to “child sexual abuse images” instead.

Thoughts, anyone?

When a missing person goes missing again

So a woman disappeared, and she was missing long enough to get posted on the Charley Project, so I posted her. I’ll call this woman Yvette. Then recently Yvette got arrested on some minor charges in another state. So I listed her case as resolved, explaining about the arrest etc.

I heard from Yvette’s sister-in-law. Apparently, she vanished again immediately after she got out of jail. and the family was frantic with worry. Could I relist the case?

I wasn’t sure what to do in this case. Presumably Yvette’s missing persons report had been closed when she was arrested; even if she has since been re-listed as missing with the police (and I wasn’t sure if she had been or not), didn’t her arrest kind of restart the clock? Like, wasn’t she now missing for a week instead of over a year, in which case she’d be ineligible for the Charley Project? It seemed that way to me but I wasn’t sure I had the heart to tell the relative I wouldn’t re-list Yvette’s case.

I decided to first settle the issue of whether Yvette’s is currently listed as missing with any law enforcement agency. I wrote back to ask the sister-in-law this. My email bounced. I can’t get in touch with her. Fooey.

It’s a very sad situation for the family. But I don’t know, if I were the police, whether I’d accept a second missing persons report. Yvette clearly does not want to be found.

Facebook is a broken system and I hate it, part III

I had written about Facebook woes last winter, here and here. Well, now my account has been permanently disabled. The last straw, for them, was a meme I posted two. years. ago. (And it didn’t violate community standards, then or now.)

They aren’t even letting me download all my info like they’re supposed to. This is an account I’ve had since like 2004. I’ve had it since back in the days when you had to be a college student to get an account.

I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just the stupid moderation bots, as I discussed in the previous entries linked above, who don’t understand the difference between a historical meme educating someone about World War II, and a pro-Nazi meme.

I kind of knew this was coming. The same thing has been happening to a lot of people for a long time.

No, it’s not really possible to just make a new account. No, I can’t contact customer service. Facebook doesn’t really have customer service.

This is really quite catastrophic. Leaving aside the social consequences of suddenly being cut off from all my happy online friendships (and I miss them all horribly)… I need Facebook to run the Charley Project. SO MUCH missing persons stuff is on Facebook. This is a critical source of information, almost as big for me as something like Google is, that I’m suddenly cut off from. Without an account I can’t even search Facebook for anything.

[EDIT: And to all the people suggesting I simply make a new account, I’ve tried. It can’t be done. I’ve tried different names, email addresses, phone numbers. I’ve tried using a VPN to hide my IP address. I can’t start a new account; they all get suspended immediately.]

People’s judgmental attitude in internet comments sometimes drives me mad

I often interact with the people who comment on stuff I post on the Charley Project’s Facebook page; I consider it my duty, as the admin of that page, to do so, and also I usually enjoy discussing things with them. We are, after all, talking about items of mutual interest. But sometimes people just… argh.

I put up an article recently written about the Bianca Noel Piper case (the article was of the “we’re still looking for” variety, nothing new), and immediately a bunch of commenters started saying awful things about her mother for making her go on that walk back to their house so she could chill out and deal with her anger. One of them even accused the mother of “abandoning” Bianca.

Well, here are the facts:

  1. The walk was about a mile. That’s not very far. It may seem like a long way since everyone is accustomed to driving these days, but a person Bianca’s size and age can walk a mile in ten or fifteen minutes.
  2. It was a rural area, not a big city.
  3. Bianca’s mother cooperated fully with the investigation and is not a suspect in her case.
  4. Bianca’s mother, by making her go for a walk, was following the advice of Bianca’s therapist, and they had tried the walking treatment before and it had been helpful. Loads of people go for a walk alone to cool down when they’re angry, and it’s a commonly recommended method of anger management.

I’m sure Bianca’s mother has regretted what she did every day of her life in the past sixteen years. But I do not think she did anything wrong here. She was following medical advice and the advice given sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I think Bianca was just very unlucky. And certainly casting judgment on her mom at this late date is not going to help at all.

Bianca was tall for her age, and heavy. I think that in the evening light, from a distance, she would have looked more like a woman than a child. My guess is some predator driving by saw her walking alone and grabbed her. Wrong place, wrong time.

I also grew up in a rural area and in the late nineties, as a young girl Bianca’s age, or younger, would often wander around by myself on foot or bicycle, sometimes traveling up to fifteen miles from home. It did me no harm and in fact I benefited from it. I got exercise and fresh air and learned how to amuse myself. It bothers me a lot that so much judgment is heaped on parents these days that it seems like they are expected to swaddle their youngsters in cottonwool until they graduate high school — and then people wonder why young college-age adults have no idea how to take care of themselves.

More technical problems, albeit of a different variety

Suddenly I find myself unable to access charleyproject.org on my desktop computer (good old Orville). I can access the site on my phone, but ONLY if my phone is using the cell phone data package for internet rather than my WiFi connection. If I try to access the site when my phone is on WiFi, no dice, the connection times out.

No desktop computer access to my site = no updates. Sorry, folks. This is very frustrating to me as there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to put up today.

I am uncertain what the problem is but have shot my host an email to ask if they somehow accidentally blocked my IP address or something. Beyond that I have no clue and will just have to wait until Michael gets home, see if he has any ideas. (I can’t access the site from his home office computer either.)

This really makes me nervous because a long time ago, probably 20 years ago in fact, I had a personal website and developed the same problem: I suddenly could not access it from my home PC, only from school computers. I never was able to fix it, and wound up having to abandon the website entirely.

Site’s down at the moment

So a viewer reported seeing a blank screen when they tried to go to the Charley Project. It worked fine for me last night but I’m getting a blank screen now also, on both phone and computer.

The Charley Project is run via WordPress and when I tried to go to the WordPress dashboard that’s not working either, which leads me to think this is on WordPress’s end. If it’s not resolved by later today I’ll start banging on people’s (metaphorical) doors about it and see if I can get something done.