I welcome you.
I welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture,
political opinion, identity, and self-identification.
I welcome activists, artists, bloggers, crafters, dilettantes, musicians, photographers, readers, writers, ordinary people, extraordinary people, and everyone in between. I welcome people who want to change the world, people who want to keep in touch with friends, people who want to make great art, and people who just need a break after work.
I welcome fans, geeks, nerds, and pixel-stained technopeasant wretches. I welcome Internet beginners who aren't sure what any of those terms mean. I welcome you no matter if the Internet was a household word by the time you started secondary school or whether you were already retired by the time the World Wide Web was invented.
I welcome you. You may wear a baby sling, hijab, a kippah, leather, piercings, a pentacle, a badge, a rainbow, a rosary, tattoos, or something I can only dream of. You may carry a guitar or knitting needles or a sketchbook.
Conservative or liberal, libertarian or populist [See note below.]
I believe it's possible (although not terribly probable) for people of all viewpoints and persuasions to come together and learn from each other. I believe in the broad spectrum of individual and collective experience and in the inherent dignity of all people. I believe that amazing things come when people from different worlds and world-views approach each other to create a conversation.
I get excited about creativity — from pro to amateur, from novels to haiku, from the photographer who's been doing this for decades to the person who just picked up a sketchbook last week. I support maximum freedom of creative expression, within the few restrictions I need to keep the service viable for other users. With servers in the US I'm obliged to follow US laws, but I'm serious about knowing, respecting, and protecting your rights when it comes to free expression and privacy. I will never put a limit on your creativity just because it makes someone uncomfortable — even if that someone is myself.
I think accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority, not an afterthought. I think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. I believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community.
I have enough experience to know that I won't get any of this perfect on the first try. But I have enough hope, energy, and idealism to want to learn things I don't know now. I may not be able to satisfy everyone, but I can certainly work to avoid offending anyone. And I promise that if I get it wrong, I'll listen carefully and respectfully to you when you point it out to me, and I'll do my best to make good on my mistakes.
I think my technical, business, academic, and leadership experience is important, but I think our community experience is more important. I know what goes wrong when companies say one thing and do another, or when they refuse to say anything at all. I believe it is important to insure transparency and integrity in word and deed while respecting stability and tradition.
I make every attempt to walk my talk -- I am not perfect; however, I believe in striving for progress not perfection. I avoid treating treat people as second-class undesireables because they're non-mainstream or might frighten "normal" people. To me, you are not simply eyeballs. You are not simply pageviews. You are not simply demographic groups. You are people -- in the tribe of humanity.
Come dream with me.
[Honesty revision (2017)] I now, no longer welcome, embrace, or respect those who openly identify as a (modern) Conservative or Libertarian; for them, I harbor antipathy. Spiritually, I can not reconcile with Conservative or Libertarian beliefs that:
- advocate American exceptionalism;
- support bigoty and/or ignore social justice;
- seek to destroy or privatize the public commons;
- advance economic liberalism at the cost of equal opportunity or the environment;
- promote Judeo-Christian practice and dogma while righteously suppressing others' beliefs and/or practices, or to not practice and/or believe, as should be possible;
- are opposed to communism, socialism, tribalism, humanism, darwinism, vulcanism, or climatism out of fear and ignorance;
- defend Western culture from perceived threats posed by "creeping socialism", moral relativism, multiculturalism, and liberal internationalism.
Such things are antithetical to that which I believe. Which is contemporaneous "liberalism" – now recalled as classical liberalism – that advocates both political freedom for individuals and a free market in the economic sphere. Additionally, I staunchly support the separation of church and state, utilitarianism, social liberalism, and where socially pragmatic, responsible economic liberalism -- ideas promulgated by John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who are respectively remembered as the fathers of classical liberalism.
For those that identify more as Populists or who ignorantly harbor a notion that they are Independent, I reserve abject contempt. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, along with an ample dose of sloth and laziness, have rendered Populists into little more than lemmings -- possessed of mindless, misdirected energy. One may be independent of affiliation, but one is not independent of ideology -- such being either a foolish and harmful denial or an unwillingness to assert an honest position. A self-described Independent is someone who intentionally misrepresents themselves -- or more simply, a liar.
If lies and liars are the new normal, I'll have nothing to do with acrasial people. I will dis-empower them. I will give their fallaciloquence no voice or venue. I will offer no safe harbor. To be clear, I will discriminate against those who support untruthfulness or the untruthful, hate or the hateful, aggression or the aggressive. And to the best of my ability, I will divorce myself from those, who, through inaction, do nothing to oppose untruthfulness, hate, or aggression.
I can have and hold spiritual values that emphasize compassion while at the same time assertively defending myself against those who intend or advance real (or the apprehension of) harm against myself or others.
As a Buddhist, I recognize the Buddha nature present in a shark; however, my journey does not require me to either swim with sharks or to place my head in a shark's jaws. And if I know an evil man places poison in my tea, I am under no obligation to drink with him.