Pez Dispenser: $200

If you have an old Pez dispensers from the 1960’s or 1970’s you’ll want to take good care of them.  Bless my mom for throwing my 8 or so from childhood into a box where I recovered them a few years ago after checking ebay pricing on my Casper Pez Dispenser, which is worth about $150.00-$200

I’m not sure but I think these values are up from a few years back, so Pez dispenser investment may be better than the alternatives?     I’ve got several and although Casper is worth the most I think they’ll fetch over $1000 total.    This might be a fun way to give to charity via auctioning these off, though I kind of like the idea of keeping them around.

Hot Wheels or Matchboxes?     Before you put them out in the garage sale you better price them at Ebay….


The Dollar Value of Homemaking

Here’s a neat article that assigns work values to the many tasks taken on by a homemaker in the course of a week.   I’m a little skeptical that the 80+ hours totalled here is a reasonable average but this seems to be a better approach than the recent study that assigned a huge value of about 116,00 annual to stay at home mom work.  Here is the calculator they provide.  That really does not jive with a rational view of how to pay people for doing work.     As the first article notes one realistic approach is to ask “what would somebody else do all this work for?”, though they also note that we undervalue domestic work in our economy.   I agree but don’t think we undervalue it enough to justify the claim of 116k.    For example if that was actually available to people to do the work you’d see a huge number of other professionals “apply” for homemaking jobs, which in turn would bring down the wage as demand for the job soared.

What is a realistic number?   Good question…working on that and paying myself handsomely for doing it.


Online Abuse Part II: Pownce TOS Violations

Ariel Waldman is a prominent tech blogger and also the community manager at Pownce.  She has ignited a huge online debate about Twitter failing to police a harassing commenter at Twitter, comments that appear to have come from a person who had been harassing her for some time. 

I’ve really been leaning to her point of view though I’d like to see the dialog and I’d like to see the community working harder to make sure this type of abuse is dealt with more harshly.    Ariel seems to think Pownce does a great job here.

However, at Ariel’s own Pownce page commenters are calling Sarah Lacy the C** word, with only a small admonishment from Ariel and no removal of the comment.     Ariel can correctly say that ongoing harassment is a lot more serious than a “one off” insult, but the use of th c**  word plays heavily in her critique of Twitter’s response to her harassment.

The point here is NOT that Ariel is wrong here or that she should be banning everybody at Pownce that uses the c* word, though maybe that is a good idea as you can hardly make a case this noun can’t be replaced with less objectionable material to get any point across.   Ariel presumably has the power to ban comments and/or users as the community manager at Pownce.  

The point is that the community standards *including Ariel’s* are far too low.   Twitter is only a small part of the problem here.   The problem is … all of us, and only all of us can fix this.


Is Lou Dobbs’ Head Going to Explode?

Update:  Dobbs is leaving CNN:

CNN’s Lou Dobbs personal crusade to rant about the plethora of problems with our bizarre immigration policy came to a fun “head” tonight as he berated and then looked ready to jump out of his chair to strangle the very composed Paul Waldman of a (liberal/ left) media watchdog group called Media Matters.

The group studied stories on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and suggest the obvious:  Dobbs’ routinely crosses the line of reasoned journalism in his personal crusade to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

“When was the last time you did a positive story about immigrants”  Dobbs:  “I don’t know”.

I’m more than tired of blowhards like Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Keith Olbermann all of whom routinely discard good standards of quality journalism in favor of either bombastic nonsense or simplifications of complex issues.   These guys are not journalists – they are *entertainers*.    That is OK, but stop the pretense!    TV “news” is mostly garbage now, and we should all be very, very ashamed.

Online Abuse and Harassment: Where are the Rules?

I’m reposting from my WebGuild post about the Ariel Waldman case where she is accusing Twitter of failing to enforce their Terms of Service over a what Ariel says was a case of very bad harassment and abuse on Twitter:

Are there appropriate standards of conduct for social network communication or does anything go in the wild west of social networks, twitter, and blogging?

Ariel Waldman was the target of an online “stalker” who posted abusive comments about her via Twitter. She’s understandably upset about the harrassment and posted a long note about getting no satisfaction from Twitter despite responses including a call with the Twitter CEO, who seemed to feel the case fell outside of Twitter’s responsibility.

I’m trying to get Twitter’s response to Ariel because I have a feeling there actions may hinge on a couple of twists that complicate what at first appears to be a clear cut case of putting free speech – which should be protected at great cost, above threat speech – which is a plague on the online world and should be harshly policed by the online and offline community including law enforcement.

The first issue is that Ariel blogs about some very “emotionally charged” topics with sexually charged language (though I saw no sign of what I would call abusive language in a quick scan of her blogs). However Twitter may be thinking that to censor comments about her or her topics while keeping Ariel’s own stuff online would not be in keeping with some sort of fairness standard (I agree this would be a weak argument based on Ariel’s description of the abuse).

The more relevant twist is that Ariel is the community manager of Pownce, a social microblogging site that is very much in direct competition with Twitter. Unless Ariel is certain that Pownce would handle this situation very differently from how Twitter is handling it she really needs to explain why this is calling out Twitter so powerfully rather than making more general statements about how the very lax online abuse standard are threatening the online social fabric.

This problem very powerfully emerged last year when Kathy Sierra, a prominent and excellent blogger, quit blogging entirely after several death threats against her. Although most of the community expressed outrage an alarming number of prominent bloggers suggested that free speech issues trumped the death threats, and came irresponsibly close to supporting what they seemed to see as the right of harrassers to threaten violence against others.

So it is important to make clear here that my personal view (which is not necessarily that of WebGuild) is that Twitter is wrong as are any social networks that allow harassment of community members. Whatever tiny advantages we might gain in free speech from an “anything goes” policy are washed away as debate is stifled under the threat of the virtual violence turning into real violence.

Update: Twitter Replies to Ariel

In their reply at GetSatisfaction, a customer resolution website, Twitter suggests that this case might be viewed differently by people if the comment stream was available. Presumably both Ariel and Twitter have a copy, so it should be published in the interests of fairness to everybody concerned.

Update 2:  Ariel’s Mom Checks in at her blog:

Mom Says:
May 22nd, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Yes, this is Ariel’s real mother. Those of you who are easily manipulated by media driven celebrity conspiracy theories or actually believe there is no such thing as integrity any longer will ignore this post. Too bad for you.

I am not here to comment on twitter, TOS, freedom of speech, the “sexiness” of ShakeWellBeforeUse or if Ariel is a c—. If I said she wasn’t, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

I CAN attest to one thing. It IS a fact Ariel’s stalker has been after her for over 3 years beginning in her home town—before she had a high profile on the web. I have seen the physical evidence and know it to be threatening. Ariel did nothing to initiate this situation, the person in question is mentally unbalanced and deeply insecure. The person found out where she lived and made it known to her. Ariel has done everything within her power (talking to the person and friends of the person, police, legal advice, adjustment of lifestyle) to defuse the situation all to no avail. I had thought when she moved to the city, these attacks would end, but they have not. There is more than mere name calling going on. There is a history of vindictive harrassment. Whatever else you think about how she is handling it is your opinion, but she did NOT make this up.

Since I have known Ariel all her life I can tell you one thing. She plays by the rules. She does not manipulate people or situations for her own gain. And she is too smart to screw up her own reputation as a consultant in social media to try and play competing services against each other. All speculation on that account is ridiculous.

And Mom to Ariel: you could have told me you were going to blog this rather than let me randomly find out about it on my own.