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Yes, it's true.

I will finally have to accept that I can use a prostitute to


achieve greater ends than I am meeting now.

Oh, not a woman, by the way.

Gather.com, an internet service for writers and readers which has gained great
popularity in recent months, has prostituted itself. In the cause of increasing
its profits by increasing its traffic usage, it has allowed bullying of its
members, emotional terrorism of its members, discussions of trash (including
articles where the authors name other members they wish would commit suicide--I
have been on more than one such list) and publishing of articles whose sole
purpose is to have hundreds of people post comments (of no value) so they can
accumulate points which may be redeemed for "gifts." Gather's owners want money
more than respect.

They will not ban members for inappropriate articles or comments, nor will they
allow members who have been continually attacked by bullies to ban them from
posting comments to their articles. The bullies win on Gather by claiming their
right to freedom of speech. Gather wins because it can charge more for advertising
when its user traffic numbers are much higher than they should be. Only the good
members have something to lose, their emotional well-being and their respect for
themselves.

However, this Gather user can use the system for his own purposes. Gather allows
its posted articles to be reached by outsiders who find them through a few link
sites. This additional internet exposure can be used to enhance search engine
ranking when people search for terms that would apply to my book, for example.

I can forbid Gather from forwarding email to me from bullies, refuse to allow
Gather to send me notifications of worthless comments to my articles (including
those from the bully), keep trash Gather notifications out of my inbox, yet still
benefit from greater internet exposure of my articles on Gather, each of which has
a link to my web site.

It's all perfectly legal and within the terms of service for members of Gather.com

Good guys can play within the rules and win too, so long as they know what the
rules are and how to use them without repercussions. And if they aren't afraid to
offend those who already stretch the rules to their limits.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' a book
about how to prevent these problems instead of how to patch them.
Learn more at http://billallin.com