Don Sherfick

A safety net for the "send" button

Filed By Don Sherfick | October 14, 2007 9:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: blogging, Christopher Columbus, internet

[NOTE BEFORE READING: If you’ve never posted an article or comment to this or any other website, and then quickly wished you hadn’t, then by all means feel free to skip the rest of this post. Fellow operators, er…I mean contributors are standing by in other articles, eager for your eyes and minds.]

Contributors to this site use features of what’s called a “publishing platform”, this particular one called “Moveable Type”. Like most platforms, it lets the writer compose something, edit and rewrite it a bit, sometimes deciding to scrap the whole thing and go feed the dog. All of this takes place before irrevocably pressing some kind of “send” button and revealing it to the Internet universe, its superbly brilliant points spreading along with its warts. The same thing is true when a reader comments. Well….not quite ….contributors get to revise published things even after they are up on the site, but commenters typically don’t unless they cozy up to the editors or agree to advertise.

Still, I wish Moveable Type and other publishing platforms had a safety feature on their “send” buttons. Somewhat like the “delete” features of Microsoft Office products. An egg on the cyberspace face is often harder to remove than one thrown on a shiny automobile hood. Special medical tools designed to extract one’s foot from one’s mouth are terribly overpriced and generally even Overnight Express isn’t quick enough to deliver them when urgently needed. Here’s what I have in mind for such a safety featu

Once you finished composing and preliminarily editing an article or a comment, and press the “send button”, a series of pop-up windows would appear. The first one would say something like this:

Are you really sure you want to send this? It’s not too late to make a change.

If you pressed “No”, you'd get another chance. If you pressed “Yes”, a second message would pop up:

If you are a contributor, and are replying to something you read elsewhere or perhaps to a fellow contributor’s item, or if you are commenting on the above, or commenting on a comment to the above, [there may be several additional iterations of this phrase] are you MORALLY CERTAIN that you have fully read and understood the content and the likely intention of that writer?

If you pressed “No”, you'd get another chance. If you pressed “Yes”, a third message would pop up:

Have you let your self-described masterpiece, after last proofreading and editing, sit quietly for at least half an hour in the case of non-controversial subject matter, or up to three days for hot button topics in the cultural wars, particularly if what you are saying might offend folks who are generally on your side, for example the brouhaha concerning inclusion of transgender people in ENDA?

If you pressed “No”, you'd get another chance. If you pressed “Yes”, a third message would pop up:

Just as a final check, are you saying this because you really want to reinforce, correct, or otherwise have a coherent and civil dialogue with the person or persons to whom you are responding, or are you REALLY talking indirectly to your significant other and taking your frustrations out on him or her, a phenomenon metal health professionals call “transference?

If you pressed “Yes”, you get……well, you get the general idea.

Now I freely acknowledge that a downside of this process: to stifle the spontaneity of dialogue that the Blogosphere provides. Sometimes spontaneity is a good thing. Other times I would prefer that the message boat had sailed around Cape Horn three times before getting to the Far East. (Contrary to “established science”, there is a good case to be made that thousands of people actually fell off of the earth when they sailed to the edge. Why take the chance with your computer?)

In closing, although Moveable Type hasn’t so far accepted my idea, I want to assure you that before pressing the button to publish this, I’ve still gone through the equivalent of all the above-described steps as if it had, plus a few more. And please, no snide comments back about garbage in, garbage out………unless you go through the same self-restraining exercises.

Oh, and as to the “falling off of the earth” thing above, after you enter the Creation Science museum, turn right. That’s the only direction permitted there.

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I would be all in favor of something like this. :) It would result in a lot less "ummm, well..." moments in my life.

Oh, Don, do I know what you're talkin' about!

There is a common phrase for when you regret buying something you later wish you hadn't --- "buyer's remorse".

... and, being something of a clown at times, when I post a silly comment I later regret I call it "commenter's icks" ... and if you want to see some really, really atrocious comments lately that gave me a bad case of "commenter's icks" check out several comments on Alex's recent thread called "Commenting fun" ...

... no, wait! On second thought ... please, world, don't check that out! ...

... Thank God that some day I'll be six feet under (probably by the year 2054, when I turn 100), and those electronic remarks will disappear into the Great Bit Bucket in the Sky (maybe about the year 3000 or so would be my guess, when a small, obscure committee of super-intelligent robotic librarians decide "We can dissolve these old backup discs labelled "Bilerico" in the liquid methane landfill on Saturn, can't we? They are from that era when those ancestors called "humans" had long, boring arguments about those things they called "genitals" ...)

So you're another one of those flat-earth freaks? What is wrong with you?

Oops. Didn't read the whole thing.