Boing Boing 

Apparently there is some drama involving Amanda Palmer and the payment of backup musicians

Update: Palmer's paying all the musicians, forward and retroactively, so everyone can chill out now.

Whenever a female musician reaches some high point of success, particularly an indie artist—it seems inevitable that her moment of recognition will be followed by a backlash of one sort or another. With this in mind, I was not surprised to see a wave of drama spread accross my Twitter timeline yesterday, focused on Amanda Palmer. Her wildly successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than a million bucks for a music project.

On her blog, the hyper-interactive Palmer put out a call to fans that she was "looking for professional-ish horns and strings for EVERY CITY to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes." In exchange, the blog post continued, Palmer promised to "feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make."

Critics said this amounted to asking for free spec work. Lots of hostile comments piled up on that blog post, some from working musicians, upset that the million-dollar crowdsourcer was asking for free labor from creative professionals who are struggling to make a living.

Read the rest

Ubuntu Made Easy

The latest edition of Ubuntu Made Easy preserves all the best characteristics of the earlier edition I liked so much, but updates it substantially to cover the next-generation graphic interface Unity, and the cutting edge features that have been added since those days. Written by a member of the GNOME documentation project (Phil Bull) and a veteran computer writer (Rickford Grant), it is a clear, well-organized reference to the free operating system I use exclusively.

HOWTO be a good commenter

On John Scalzi's Whatever, a list of ten excellent rules for being a better commenter -- it's certainly stuff that I'll keep in mind the next time I leave a comment somewhere:

1. Do I actually have anything to say? Meaning, does what you post in the comments boil down to anything other than “yes, this,” or “WRONG AGAIN,” or even worse, “who cares”? A comment is not meant to be an upvote, downvote or a “like.” It’s meant to be an addition to, and complementary to (but not necessarily complimentary of) the original post. If your comment is not adding value, you need to ask whether you need to write it, and, alternately, why anyone should be bothered to read it. On a personal note, I find these sort of contentless comments especially irritating when the poster is expressing indifference; the sort of twit who goes out of his way to say “::yawn::” in a comment is the sort I want first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

2. Is what I have to say actually on topic? What is the subject of the original post? That’s also the subject of the comment thread, as is, to some extent, the manner in which the writer approached the subject. If you’re dropping in a comment that’s not about these things, then you’re likely working to make the comment thread suck. Likewise, if as a commenter you’re responding to a comment from someone else that’s not on topic to the original post, you’re also helping to make the comment thread suck. On a busy blog or site, there will be many opportunities to talk about many different subjects. You don’t have to talk about them in the wrong place.

3. Does what I write actually stay on topic? As a corollary to point two, if you make a perfunctory wave at the subject and then immediately use it as a jumping-off point for your own particular set of hobby horses, then you’re also making the thread suck. This is a prime derailing maneuver, which I like to dub “The Libertarian Dismount,” given the frequency with which members of that political tribe employ it — e.g., “It’s a shame that so many people are opposed to same-sex marriage, but this is just why government has no place legislating relationships between people, and why in a perfect society government steps away and blah blah blahdee blah blah.” If you can’t write a comment that isn’t ultimately a segue into topics you feel are important, ask yourself why everything has to be about you.

How to Be a Good Commenter (via Beth Pratt)

Why not to hire a woman, Australia edition, 1963

An Australian Department of Trade document listing the reasons women should not be hired to be trade commissioners. "A spinster lady can, and often does, turn into something of a battleaxe with the passing years. A man usually mellows." (HT: @christinelhenry)