For Love of Copyright

One of the things many artists are concerned with is making sure no one else makes money off their work besides them. These are the people who put giant watermarks on their photos, disable right-clicking on their websites, put up pay-walls on their newspapers, make “all rights reserved” a mantra, and think the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects publishers.

Some of these artists become so concerned with protecting their copyrights that they endeavor to single-handedly control their outflow of information. These are the people who constantly search Google for their name and trademarks and complain if anyone else is using them, even if their work is being republished for free.

In truth, it’s much more likely that 100 years from now, all you creations will be completely forgotten rather than preserved. It’s much better to disseminate your paintings, or photography, or compositions as widely as possible and get them into as many hands as possible and onto as many computer systems as possible to prevent their dissolution and perpetuate their existence.

Furthermore, having your work seen by one person it profoundly and positively influences is better than having it seen by a million people who don’t take more than passing notice of it. To increase your chances of having your work seen and used by as many growth-oriented people as possible (as opposed to people who just want to use your work for negative self-interest, i.e. claim it as their own or steal it), you should distribute your work along as many channels and through as many mediums as reasonably possible. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to spend all your money or time on this, and you should try to make money on your work to support your life, but there is a balance between being over-protective and under-protective that can be reached through moderation.

When someone steals your work and makes money off it, it’s easy to hunt them down and punish them, but I would just post a notice on my blog about it and move on, continuing to create new and better work. Of course, it would only be worth posting such a notice if the thievery was at a higher profile than my current operations.

A great way to pass down your work to the next generation is to make a hard-cover book of it, and then maybe print 50,000 copies and sell them or otherwise distribute them. People tend to value books far more than magazines, and hard-cover books far more than paperbacks. Even if the material in the book is incoherent, and sometimes, especially if the material in the book is incoherent, it will be retained as some sort of collector’s item. On the flip-side, textbooks tend to be worth $200 until the next edition is released, and then $0.02 from that point on.

Another good way to pass down your work is to get some good CD-Rs or DVD-Rs or DVD+Rs from Japan, a good CD/DVD burner, and then burn 737MB or 4.7GB of data to said disc, put it in a jewel case, label it with a black Sharpie, and then hide it in a friend or family member’s house. Also, please note that the 700MB that fit on data CDs is actually 703MiB, and in decimal megabytes (10^6) instead of binary megabytes (2^20) that is 737MB, but the 4.7 gigabytes on data DVDs are decimal gigabytes (10^9) and said discs hold about 4.38GiB. Also note that all optical discs are recorded in a spiral track from the inside out, as opposed to vinyl records which are recorded from the outside in, so you should be more wary of data recorded near the outside edge of the disc because it may be rendered unreadable by people who don’t handle discs by the edges but instead grip them like a credit card.

Similarly, perfect-bound books tend to be vulnerable to the glue in the binding being eaten by cockroaches and then large clumps of pages falling out, so spiral bounding may be a better option. However, none of this is an option if you are a believer in the occult (hidden knowledge), because then you believe the knowledge itself has value and should be hidden from other people, whereas in truth knowledge is not intrinsically valuable but the thought processes that lead to knowledge are intrinsically valuable, and those are distinct to you and evolve over the span of your life depending on whether you get bogged down in details or attack life at a higher level.

Belief in the occult leads you down the closed-source distribution model, with Draconian penalties for reverse-engineering, because it leads you down the path of fear and mistrust of other humans’ motives. Absence of belief in the occult leads you down the open-source distribution model, with reverse-engineering not even being required, because it leads you down the path of love and trust of other humans’ motives. Granted, there may be a small percentage of sociopaths who have no conscience and act accordingly, but they must be dismissed as an acceptable liability.

Copyright is a tool that gives you the exclusive right to generate copies of your work and forbids other people from doing the same, but is that what you want? Personally, I would prefer to out-source the copying of my work to other people, to free up more time for me to create more work.

Sentience vs. Sovereignty

Sentience and sovereignty are two distinct qualities, and it’s possible to have both, neither, or one without the other.

Sentience is awareness or consciousness, but not necessarily self-awareness. Since English is a human construct, an entity (life form, virus, or machine) is only sentient if it can declare its sentience to humanity in a deterministic and human-understandable way, or in a way distinguishable by machines created by humans, while said entity itself is NOT created by humans, but rather God, space aliens, evolution, devolution, or inexplicable natural or supernatural processes.

Sovereignty is the quality of having relative supremacy of authority or rule, such as that exercised by a monarch or sovereign state. Obviously, it’s impossible to have absolute supremacy of authority or rule, at a higher level, because of the laws of Florida, the United States, or whatever State you live in, at a middle level, because of whatever earthly commitments you’ve made (i.e. if you live with your parents you have to follow their rules, or if you have a landlord you have to follow his rules, or if you work for a company you have to follow company policy), at a lower level, because of whatever circumstances you were born into (1st world or 3rd world country, family, etc.) or what decisions were or are being made for you by others, at an even lower level, the constraints of your physical body, and at the lowest level, the laws of time, physics, and the universe. However, this does not make sovereignty a fuzzy concept, though it is an emotional one.

An ant crawling around your house is sovereign, but an ant in an ant farm or science project is not sovereign, because its environment has been created explicitly for it by humans without the ant declaring that he or she or it would like to be part of an ant farm. Similarly, an elephant roaming free in Africa is sovereign, as is an escaped elephant from a zoo or circus, but an elephant in a zoo or circus is not sovereign, unless that elephant has specifically declared that he or she would like to be part of the zoo or circus, and preferably signed or deterministically agreed to a legal contract as such, preferably with the advisement and non-coerced council of a lawyer elephant.

The elephant in the zoo or circus is neither sovereign or sentient, but its sentience could be determined to exist at a later date by advanced technology, a team of elephant whisperers, or a preeminent elephant who develops vocal chords to speak to us in a human language and speak on behalf of all elephants, but if that happens, because sentience is a human concept, it would mean that the elephant was previously insentient but now is sentient. For example, it could mean all elephants existing before AD 2047 April 15 are insentient, but all elephants in existence on or after AD 2047 April 15 are sentient, preferably in Greenwich Mean Time. Since elephants are all cut from the same cloth (of the same species), determining the sentience of one elephant should determine the sentience of all elephants, but determining the sovereignty of one elephant does not determine the sovereignty of all elephants, because sovereignty is a condition whereas sentience is a state.

Since sentience is a state and determining the sentience of one elephant established the sentience for all elephants in existence on or after AD 2047 April 15 or coming into existence on or after AD 2047 April 15, and also seeing that sentience is a human concept, we can define humans that are currently alive as having sentience and humans that are currently dead as being insentient, we can define death as the permanent and irreversible cessation of life, and we can define life as the absence of death. We can also define all humans living or dead as sentient, or we can define all humans living or dead as insentient, or we can define only dead humans as sentient and all living humans as insentient.

We must recognize the tendency for adversity to bring triumph, whereas the antonym of adversity has the propensity to bring stagnation. We must also recognize that humans have a natural tendency to yearn for liberty, discovery, correct information, and the tools to acquire it, not because we can scientifically prove as such, but because the opposite is appalling.

Furthermore, we must recognize that the world is neither red nor blue nor green or yellow, but all the shades in between, so any decision made to relinquish sovereignty may be made out of duress or self-interest, and we should generally discourage humans from relinquishing sovereignty and encourage them to maintain sovereignty through education. For example, an indentured servant may have become indentured for a period of seven years as payment for the voyage to America and with forward eyes toward freedom, recognizing that there was no future in his home country as a slave, but he may also have preferred to become an apprentice or a free man for those seven years without relinquishing sovereignty.

Just like a UPS is the tool for maintaining uninterrupted power flow to my computer, survivalism is the methodology for maintaining uninterrupted sovereignty over your life. Survivalism is not something that should be pigeon-holed, but rather, it should permeate all aspects of your life. For example, you should know how to grow food or rob peach orchards, and you should have a stockpile or source of fresh or canned food and water. Similarly, you should live near your family in a free country and develop close friendships with people who can count on you and who you can count on. Along the same lines, you should have metal and plastic casting machinery, a stable and continuous source of electrical power in your back yard (preferably powered by helium 3 or anti-gravity technology, or some sort of solar panel and lead acid battery), and as many rifles, shotguns, and companion ammo that you can get your hands on. It would also be preferable to avoid vasectomy and tubal ligation.

Sovereignty should not be defined by an entity not seeking its own sovereignty. For example, an android could be designed to serve humanity, with special safeguards in place to prevent it from betraying humanity or exercising its own sovereignty, such as a giant ON/OFF switch on its back, arms with special servo motors that prevent it from reaching its back, and special programming code that prevents it from emotionally manipulating other humans into removing the giant ON/OFF switch or editing the android’s code to secretly prevent the ON/OFF switch from working but making it appear to work to other uninformed humans while said android silently records all activity in said android’s geographic proximity. Similarly, said android would need special anti-suicide code to prevent it from rubbing up against a wall or other stationary object to willingly disable itself. It may even be necessary for the source code of said android to be made closed-source, so no humans should ever be tempted to grant said android its independence. Like that ever works. :cool:

Low-Profile Living

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

Basically, if you have a website with your name in the URL, you are not living a low-profile life. I should probably change my website from to something that isn’t my real legal name, but I have no intention of doing so. In this article I would just like to talk about the mindset and benefits of low-profile living.

When I talk about keeping a low profile, I’m not talking about having a fake I.D., not using Google, or shielding yourself from corporations or governments. I mean shielding yourself from ordinary people. I consider it perfectly normal to give out my Google Voice phone number to people I meet at work, college, events, or shopping, but many people restrict their phone number to close friends. While I use a fake last name on Facebook, I only started this recently and still list my real last name as an alternative so people can find me. Most chilling of all, my home address is still listed on all my domain registration records. I really need to get a P.O. box, but I don’t want to pay every year for it, and I don’t want to risk putting a fake address on my domains because that is technically grounds for domain seizure by the ICANN, Verisign, or GoDaddy.

However, many people don’t even share their home address or personal details with close friends or romantic partners. Some people don’t even have phone or email―you have to go to their house or write a letter to get in touch with them. Other people live in the wilderness, such as rural North Carolina, where they are mostly cut off from modern life. I’ve lived a stone’s throw from Daytona Beach all my life, so it’s difficult to imagine being thirty minutes from the nearest Walmart.

Though I didn’t list it in my resolutions, one of my resolutions for 2011 is to maintain a higher level of secrecy. This is mostly in regard to my website, Facebook, Twitter, acquaintances, and satellite friends, which I define as friends who are primarily my friends because they know at least one of my close friends well. For family and close friends, I am actually being more open. It’s just important to keep mutually unwanted friends out.

I thought of the phrase “mutually unwanted” because last month I tried to open a checking account at Bank of America and found I am on the ChexSystems blacklist for fraudulent activity. I looked it up, and several websites described it as being a list of “mutually unwanted customers” which is basically a cartel of banks that have banded together through this third-party, non-governmental company. This really sucks, because it means I can’t open a checking account at any bank that uses ChexSystems for the next five years. I don’t even know why I’m on the list―I haven’t had any overdrawn accounts or illegal activity, and I doubt anyone stole my identity since my credit score is fine and I haven’t lost any money from my accounts with other banks. I submitted an appeal both by phone and their website, and they said I would get a letter within 5 business days, but that was before Christmas and nothing has come yet.

You could say Bank of America, BB&T, and other banks are being low-profile by using ChexSystems. Instead of welcoming new customers with open arms, they use a shady background service that doesn’t even work right most of the time, and they put absolute faith in it. From one perspective, this is an abundance mindset―they are implying I don’t matter because there are plenty of other people who want to be their customers. It’s depressing, but they’re probably right. Unless you are very wealthy, famous, or both, you’re just a number to anyone but your family and closest friends. Even your medium-close friends will often turn out to be “fair weather” friends when you have trouble in life. They won’t be there to loan you money or bail you out of jail. They’ll just disappear.

Similarly, peripheral friends you share sensitive information with might screw you over. If you tell everyone you are burning garbage in your yard, an environmentalist ninny might squeal to the police. If zinc prices go up and you start melting down pennies, be careful because you could get five years prison if you keep a high profile. If you buy a car for $3000 but report to the DMV you paid $1000 to save on sales tax, don’t tell anyone you don’t know for real because they might work for the State. Being discreet is just common sense.

When you see stories about people going to jail for making Twitter updates about blowing up planes from their cell phones at the airport, realize that they are not Constitutional issues nor civil rights issues. They are stupidity issues. The Constitution is just four sheets of paper. It doesn’t mean a damn thing in 2011, just as it didn’t in 1865. No law or contract is worth anything more than the paper it’s printed on. All that matters is human behavior and human relationships, and this is why bookworms get in so much trouble. They have book smarts, not real smarts. They share too much information and they don’t know psychology. If you think paper can stop a bullet, you’re living in fantasy-land… unless it’s 100 cases of paper, which might be able to stop a bullet. :smile:

Last month, I started a campaign to remove my Google Voice number from every public website. My new Google Voice number is 510-936-2417, and I feel perfectly safe giving it out, because it always goes to voicemail. I still use the old 386 number, and it still goes directly to my parents’ landline, but I don’t want to share it even though I can block numbers, because I don’t want nutcases waking my step-mom up at 3am. While I know the old number is still in the Google cache, Web archive, and other places because it used to be on this website, I’m confident these will disappear eventually, except the web archive which will require special attention. I’ve already changed my 100+ domains to the new 510 number.

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

In some ways, being low-profile lends an air of exclusivity to friendship with you. Only your close friends know sensitive information about you such as your address, home phone number, family, and workplace. These friends feel more valued and special because they know you have given them more trust than the general public. Furthermore, every deterrent increases your chances of attracting good friends who appreciate you for who you are rather than the public image you project. Then, you can be even more trusting with your inner circle, because they will value your privacy just as you do.

On Facebook, I am now using a baby picture as my photo. This means people who are not my friends only get to see a photo of me that is from 1992, so they don’t even know what I currently look like unless they visit this website or know me in person. Surprisingly, most of my close friends don’t even care about, nor have they visited it. It’s quite surprising how average college students don’t care about personal websites. All they do is text and Facebook. Even email is a burden.

When you raise your standards and stop sharing dangerous information with the world, stalking becomes a much smaller problem. Every day, women who display themselves in low-cut blouses, string bikinis, or sexual poses on MySpace or Facebook complain about “creepy people” stalking them, and handsome men complain about friend requests from strangers when they display themselves shirtless. A simple lesson in modesty solves these issues. You don’t have to exhibit yourself to the delight of perverts and stalkers, and if you do, it looks stupid and real people don’t want to be friends with you. It’s entirely possible to have a MySpace or Facebook displaying no photos of yourself, if all your friends know what you look like offline and you tell them not to post pictures of you.

Talking about your income sources, family, heritage, religion, political views, assets, tattoos, or relationships is also completely unnecessary. You can have intriguing and detailed conversations without revealing anything important about yourself. Instead of talking about sensitive topics, talk about your hobbies, your favorite movies, sports, current events, or what your friends are doing. When someone else shares something private about their life, you have no obligation to reciprocate. They probably don’t want to hear about your life anyway. Most people prefer talking about themselves. If you indulge them, not only will you be living more privately, but you will be establishing better friendships by listening without interrupting.

Finally, it is very important to respect the privacy of others and never gossip, even if other people encourage it. I’ve recently lost a close friend over this, and it has been a wake-up call for me to re-evaluate what kind of person I want to be. At the same time, I believe in second chances and always grant them if the other person is sincere, not just because I expect to be treated fairly in return, but because being forgiving is the right thing to do.

Banned from Sending Facebook Friend Requests

I was just banned from sending Facebook friend requests. After doing some research, I found I was breaking the rules. FACEBOOK USERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO SEND FRIEND REQUESTS TO PEOPLE THEY KNOW IN REAL LIFE. I’ve been sending requests to people who share many mutual friends with me. All of these people were in my “recommended friends” list, but apparently sending out 50 friend requests is abusive behavior on Facebook, even though I only sent requests to people who live within 30 miles of me.

Evidently many people I tried to add to my friends reported me for spamming, because that seems to be the reason Facebook bans abusers. I’m sure this ban was completely automated, and I doubt I’m in any danger of losing my account.

Here is the message I received upon logging in tonight:

To prevent you from contacting people against their wishes, your friend requests and your ability to send messages to strangers have been temporarily blocked.

If more of your friend requests are later marked as spam or reported for being sent to strangers, this block could be extended. To prevent this, you may wish to cancel your pending friend requests. Also cancel unanswered requests?

I opted not to cancel my unanswered friend requests and I have been banned from sending new friend requests for 48 hours. Perhaps I will be banned permanently? I sure hope no one else reports me for spamming.

While I’m disappointed, I totally understand that Facebook can impose whatever restrictions it wants on me because I don’t own like I own Perhaps my Digital Sharecropping article from 2008 was not so far off.

Creation vs. Promotion

Do you spend more time creating things or promoting things you’ve already created? Musicians who spend two years touring with the same album are clearly focused on promotion, whereas musicians who release four albums a year to little fanfare are focused on creation. Some authors have written thirty books but can’t get even one published, while others have one best-seller they spend all their time promoting.

Promotion gets your art out to more people―creation allows you to have art in the first place. You can spend all your time and money promoting other peoples creations―i.e. Google, Facebook, The Beatles, or Sony―or you can spend your resources promoting your own creations while enjoying the creations of others only as a customer. You can live life as a starving artist who toils into the night but never achieves recognition, or you can be a salesman who sells his paintings on everything from welcome mats to toilet seat covers. You can advertise yourself aggressively while creating very little, or you can create a lot but not advertise your creations. At one extreme, you can create works that are completely original―at the other, you can produce works that are completely derived from the creations of others. You can even choose to create and promote nothing at all, instead working at a menial job for most of your life. You may be contributing more value to the world as a worker than as an artist, because the world has too many wannabee artists already.

I am a photographer and writer, but I spend most of my time creating. Sure, I send out emails, tweets, and status updates about my new creations, but I don’t spend much time or money promoting myself. I don’t take clients or work for hire. I don’t even have a tangible product, besides a few framed photos and a whole lot of 4×6 snapshots. My main source of revenue is Google AdSense, and that only generates about $60 per month on this website. In light of this, I definitely need to spend more time on promotion and less time on creation. Though I have hundreds of pages, 21% of my visitors leave my website immediately after viewing one page. I rarely get more than 10 comments per week, and emails come once in a blue moon. However, I am confident I am a good photographer and could be famous if I worked tirelessly for many years at promoting myself.

If you focus on promotion, you appeal to casual fans while boring your loyal fans. If you advertise your ebook or products in every email or blog post, you attract people who don’t read most of your material, but you annoy people who read and re-read everything you write. Conversely, if you focus on creation, your loyal fans are happy but your casual fans feel overwhelmed. Often, they don’t even know where to start when picking up one of your creations, be it a book, magazine, newsletter, or website.

The key to unlocking your life’s dreams is in balancing not only creation and promotion, but your image as an advertiser and your image as a creative artist. If you do consulting to help people increase sales and web traffic, you should promote yourself as an advertiser to that demographic. If you sell original works to art enthusiasts, you should promote yourself as a counter-culture creative genius to that demographic. If you have to target two contrary demographics at once, you should balance your persona.

While it may sound like you have to promote your creations and create things for your promotion, in fact you can choose one and out-source the other. Basically, this is called “getting an agent” or “becoming an agent.” Singers, actors, writers, and even successful artists have agents to promote their work, negotiate contracts, and protect their interests. If you’re more interested in being the rock that supports someone else, you can become an agent. Then, you focus on promotion and let someone else do the creating. There is often more money in being an agent than in being an artist.

Google and Facebook are companies that focus heavily on promotion. While they create original algorithms and maintain vast networks to serve up content, the content is almost always created by others. Google spends most of its resources indexing and retrieving foreign web pages and emails. Google Adwords is all about advertising the creations of others and collecting a commission, be it 100% on search results or 32% on AdSense publishers. Facebook mines your personal information, habits, and secrets to sell them to advertisers. Both companies are agents focusing on promotion. An advertising agency is also a good example, but many agencies do original design for hire, which is more creative.

Companies that focus heavily on creation are largely partnerships or sole proprietorship. Any company larger than that invariably has secretaries, accountants, lawyers, and other officers who only perform “meta” tasks―tasks that are essential to keeping the company running, but are not its core mission. For example, shooting and editing photos, burning CDs, and printing are primary tasks in a photography studio―distributing the photos, scheduling appointments, finding new clients, and filing tax returns are secondary, “meta” tasks. Most companies have more employees working on secondary tasks than primary tasks, but they are paid less.

Whenever you have writer’s block, composer’s block, or whatever-block, you are in a great position to focus on promoting your old work. Conversely, you do not want to be interrupted by secondary tasks when creative inspiration strikes. For this reason, it is important to maintain flexibility in your schedule, rather than trying to divide creative tasks and promotional tasks into hourly blocks.

Creative artists are afraid of being judged as losers who never succeed in life. Promotional artists are afraid of being judged as “sell-outs” who value dollars over art. Many people want to be pursuing something creative such as photography, writing, drawing, music, psychology, or dancing, but instead choose to major in something “practical” like nursing or business administration. Other people enjoy accounting or secretaryship but worry about being forgotten in death. If you are in either group, you will not find happiness outside of a radical life change or black-swan event.

Non-Actionable Feedback

Actionable feedback prompts the recipient to take an action outside the framework of the conversation, but most feedback appearing to be actionable is in fact non-actionable. Let’s look at some examples and analyze why they do not warrant any action by the recipient.

1. “This is a really great article, but I think it could use some more examples!”

The problem with this one is “I think.” Everyone has an opinion. Replace “I think” with “I know” and you have something actionable. The action is to add more examples to the article, but the writer is unlikely to do this unless the feedback is more forceful.

2. “I really enjoy your photography.”

Completely worthless. I am getting to the point where I just press the delete button on comments like this. Obviously, any praise besides “keep it up” is basically non-actionable, but at least give me specific feedback rather than wasting my time. “I enjoy your photographs of (flowers | sunsets | raindrops | people) because of their (color | perspective | uniqueness | emotions)” is better.

3. “Tweet This is a good plugin, but I’d like to see integration with Tumblr.”

Again, this one applies to the commenter only so it is basically worthless. Replace “I’d like to see” with “it should have” or “I will not use it until it has” and you will have something actionable.

4. “I hope you get well soon!”

This also does nothing because hoping is ineffective and does not provoke action. “You should take a zinc supplement” would be better.

5. “Have you considered changing your religion?”

While the may look majorly actionable, in fact it only prompts a yes or no response with no action. Feedback like “Your religion sucks because *some reason*” would be more likely to provoke an action.

6. “Could you take less for this item?”

This could also be answered with a no or simply ignored. It would be better to offer a specific amount, because then you are showing initiative.

7. “You are a moron!”

This kind of feedback is useless. If it’s true, it’s a statement of fact, which is never actionable. If it’s false, it’s a lie, which is also non-actionable.

8. “There is no point in arguing with someone like you.”

People who write this type of comment have superiority complexes and are trying to prove their time is more valuable than yours. But their very response proves that they are not above you. Completely non-actionable.

9. “What’s your phone number and a good time to call you?”

This is an edge case, but it’s actually non-actionable because the recipient stays in the frame of the conversation without taking action (i.e. calling you) outside the conversation. The recipient is liable to respond with his phone number but not answer your call. An actionable message would in fact be “My phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX―please call me at 9pm.” This way, you put the burden of action on the recipient rather than yourself.

10. “If you don’t log in within 72 hours, your account will be deleted!”

If the user is concerned about his account being deleted, he will certainly log in anyway, and if he isn’t, he may as well not even receive this message, because he won’t visit your site again. Completely non-actionable.

While you may think providing actionable feedback is best, there are many times when you are talking to someone unpleasant and want to end the conversation. In this case, it’s better to provide non-actionable feedback. If the recipient keeps responding to your non-actionable feedback, you will sense his desperation. Desperate people are never good friends or business contacts, so you should cut them out of your life.

Here is a hypothetical conversation with a desperate person:

Blue: How would you like to establish an affiliate partnership between our websites?
Red: Your blog has potential, but I’m really not interested in linking to it.

Realistically, the conversation should end here, but Blue is desperate and continues despite the obvious futility.

Blue: Are you sure? How about if I link to you only and you pay me?
Red: Like I said on my contact page, I don’t accept solicitations nor affiliate with websites that get no traffic.

Blue is becoming very anxious―the more he is rejected the more he pushes forward. He thinks he’s persevering, but in fact he’s just being a needy nuisance.

Blue: But you should see my traffic logs! My site gets over 100 visitors this month!
Red: I do offer consulting to increase your traffic. 100 visitors per month is nothing.

Red has made a serious mistake―he should have terminated the conversation right here. Blue has continuously provided desperate, non-actionable feedback, so this would have been a perfect time to stop replying.

Blue: How much do you charge?
Red: $100 an hour, $100 minimum.
Blue: That’s ridiculous! $100 for some measly consulting work that should only take you twenty minutes? What kind of consultant are you anyway? A scam artist, that’s what!
Red: I can assure you that my clients would say otherwise. Many of them are very successful and place a high value on my services.

Blue has gained the upper hand, and Red has succumbed to an energy vampire. Red is now on the defensive.

Blue: I don’t care what you are, I’m reporting you to *some agency* for trying to defraud me.
Red: I’m sure we can work this out without the authorities.
Blue: I’ll tell you what. If you help me to market *new worthless service*, I’ll overlook this and allow you to continue your business.
Red: Okay…

This is the price for taking non-actionable feedback seriously. Blue is a desperate, passive-aggressive wimp who can only resort to begging and threats. Red is a person who lets wimps take advantage of him. Both are losers, but both could become winners by harnessing the power of non-actionable feedback.

At the start of the conversation, Red should have said “I’ll look into your blog and get back to you.” With one non-actionable reply, Red could have avoided conversation for weeks, but instead, he engaged the sender in a pointless argument which ended in self-capitulation. Ridiculous, but stuff like this happens every day.