Streisand Effect

Again with something I didn’t know. In fact, I’m starting to think that the list of things I don’t know is getting longer.

Anyway, I’m reading about the NSA wanting to ban some parody T-shirt (and then a later story debunking the earlier story), and some Internet commenter says this will turn into the “Streisand Effect.”

Streisand Effect? Yes. Looks like that’s a thing. Interesting.

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently generated further publicity.

Reminds me of how Beyonce’s publicists wanted to somehow remove from the Internet those “unflattering” Super Bowl pictures that would have faded into obscurity had her team not given them so much attention. Poor Beyonce.

Beyonce’s people believe this is an “unflattering” photo. Fine. They should check out every single photo of me ever taken.

And poor me for not knowing what the Streisand Effect was all this time I’ve been alive. I could have used it in conversation and seemed smart to someone.


A proofreading font?

Distributed Proofreaders is a site to “help ease the conversion of public domain books into e-books” in the mission of “preserving the literary history of the world in a freely available form for everyone to use.”

DP has adapted a font for proofreading that is supposed to be easier for readers to distinguish similar characters (lowercase Ls and ones, for example) and often-overlooked errors (e.g., rn looks like m).

Guess it makes sense that there’s an optimum proofreading font. I always just used a nice, fat serif font when I had a choice. Often, I didn’t have any say in the matter and had to do the best I could with 9-point Interstate Light Condensed.

Still, I’m not sure this proofreading font, DPCustomMono2, does much for me — it actually makes my eyes hurt a little. But maybe I’m just not used to it.

Here’s DPCustomMono2 proofreading font (on the right) compared with a more typical font (Arial). Easier to proofread with this font? Maybe. For me, the jury’s still out.

Why does Obama hate English?

The president of the United States visited Reddit the other day and chatted up the Internets. Of course during the talk, there just had to be some doofuses chime in and correct Obama’s grammar.

I know people are passionate about language. I’m passionate about language, too. But there’s something really ugly about people who correct other people like this. Aside from educational and newsroom environments, I’ve never been corrected in person. Know why? Because it’s stupid, and only creeps do it. With the Web’s anonymity, though, everyone’s a linguistics professor who just has to let you know that you ended a sentence with a preposition. Normally, I just roll my eyes and move on, but you’re seriously going to call the president out on a / an?

Knock it off, people of the Internet. Correcting people’s grammar (and by the way, most of the dumb things you’re “correcting” aren’t wrong) is not helpful or illuminating. It’s pitiful and irritating. It’s the act of a bully — worse, actually, because with an actual bully, you can fight back. With Internet bullies, you’re just swinging at air.

I’m probably overreacting. Thanks for letting me vent.

Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt your vibrant conversation, but I thought you’d like to know that you just used “who,” when the objective “whom” would have been more appropriate. Ah, yes, you’re welcome. Carry on.