Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Technology

Rules for Troll Handling

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No Trolls Allowed

Via Route 5:9

Ah, internet trolls. They can be found in their natural habitat all over the world wide web from the comments sections of YouTube, Reddit, and CNN to Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. If you’ve ever spent any time online, you’ve probably come across one which is why I found this article by Emily McFarlan Miller over at the Her.menuetics blog so helpful (and humorous!).
As a Christian, engaging (or not) with internet trolls requires us to realize that there’s a person on the other side of that keyboard and we are called to treat them as Christ would. That’s why Emily’s advice is so good.
Here’s her three tips with a little snippet of the explanation she gives for each point:
1. Thou Shalt Not Feed the Trolls
The first commandment of the Internet is this: “Don’t feed the trolls.”
The reasoning is simple. If the intent is to make people angry or otherwise disturb them, the way to shut it down is simply not to respond. And certainly, there are Proverbs that speak to the futility of answering – or not answering – a fool.
2. Thou Shalt Not Troll
Our response to trolling, Harrington suggests, begins with our own online behavior – removing the digital plank from our eyes, so to speak.
For Jones, deciding how to respond to Internet postings begins with checking herself, asking if this is somebody with whom she normally would engage. Sometimes the seminarian tries to take the interaction offline, a tactic she learned about a year and a half ago when she was shown the same grace.
3. Love Thy Trolls
But even when a person is trolling, Jones said, “they’re still a human being. They’re still a person Jesus is crazy about. … It sounds cheesy, but it really does boil down to loving that person – am I being kind to that person? And it can be real hard to do on the Internet.”
It’s the Golden rule: Treating others on the Internet the way you would want them to treat you, even on your snarkiest, most impulsive of days.
There’s a lot more explanation over at Her.menuetics, so be sure and go read the whole thing.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 26, 2014 at 20:20

A Fly Over 9 Important Biblical Archaeological Sites

This is a great video by SourceFlix.com with a fly over of nine important biblical sites.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 10, 2014 at 16:08

The Forever Bible

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Using Space Age nanotechnology, it even floats on water…


 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 5, 2014 at 23:16

I’m Sending Out Spam!

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So yesterday, I thought my e-mail had been hacked when several contacts on my Gmail account notified me of a suspicious email that had as a heading line:

RE: Fr Stephen Smuts – 7/14/2014 10:36:01 AM

There was only a single link contained in the mail which my own antivirus wouldn’t let me open. Much to my embarrassment, the email was not generated, complied nor sent by me, though I could clearly see the ‘contacts’ who had been selected and contacted (the Bishop included) when a friend emailed me back asking what a spam mail from me was all about?!

Frantically, I spent a large part of the day beefing up my security – changing passwords, settings, doing virus and malware scans etc. I hope it has worked for I would hate to have to change my email address because the present one is somehow compromised! If anyone else has received such an email, please ignore, let me know, and definitely (!) do not click on the link.

But after having subsequently done some further googling, this is what I’ve come across:

If your Contacts received spam from you, or if you find access activity that you can’t account for, we suggest following all the steps outlined in the Gmail security checklist to make sure your account is secure.

We are very concerned about this activity. Please obtain the full headers of the spam message from Sent Mail or from one of your Contacts, and report it to our team. We’ll investigate your report, but we’re unable to respond to individual cases. In particular, please note that we aren’t able to provide you with information about attempted logins to your account including, but not limited to, the IP address from which the attempted login was made, and the time and date attempted logins occurred.

I only use a laptop for all my Internet work. So I tried to report the incident but couldn’t convert the mail to the .txt required, so I basically gave up, hoping and praying instead that this doesn’t happen to me again.

Is Gmail safe? That becomes my next question.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 15, 2014 at 16:24

Map of Where the Twelve Apostles Died

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I stumbled upon this interesting use of technology: A Google Map of where the 12 Apostles died.

Untitled

View in a larger map.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

May 29, 2014 at 12:20

Bishops and Bloggers

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 21, 2014 at 19:44

Bishops Shouldn’t Try to Censor the Blogosphere

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Bishop Michael Campbell (Flickr/Mazur)

So say a leading English priest:

Fr Timothy Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, made the comment after Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster asked Deacon Nick Donnelly “to voluntarily pause from placing new posts” on his blog Protect the Pope.

Fr Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, south east London, wrote: “I do wonder about the practical wisdom of attempting to censor the blogosphere. Protect the Pope now carries posts by Mrs Donnelly, and she has offered an invitation to others to contribute material – which several writers have already taken up. Other censored bloggers can also simply start up a new blog under a pseudonym, or use alternative social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter are well-known but the possibilities are endless. As activists on the internet pointed out years ago, censorship is just another bug for which you find a hack or a workaround. The danger is that a previously censored commenter will be probably not be inclined to moderation in a new social media incarnation.

“Bishops also have on their side the great respect of most Catholics for Bishops. Quite often a blog will criticise a Bishop severely, only to find that another blog tells a different side to the story, or the Bishop issues a statement clarifying things – and then receives a lot of support from Catholic bloggers. The discussion will continue, but the Bishop is not exactly powerless to defend himself. Bloggers work in an environment which is open to everyone. One of the healthy things about such open communication is precisely that you cannot rely on personal standing to squash disagreement.”

After the bishop’s request Deacon Nick Donnelly, who writes the Protect the Pope blog, will be taking an indefinite break from blogging, while his wife, Martina Donnelly, has taken on the running of the blog for the time being.

A statement released by the Diocese of Lancaster last week said: “After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on March 7 saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.

“Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church. Deacon Nick has agreed to the bishop’s request at this time.”

In a short statement on the Protect the Pope website Martina Donnelly wrote: “As Nick’s wife I am writing to thank you for all the kind messages, prayers and gifts that Nick has received. You may have noticed that he has not posted for a while and I did not want you to be worried, as although he is still far from better, this silence has not been caused by his illness. Rather Nick has been asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection. Please continue to pray for Nick during this time.”

When asked by The Catholic Herald if he thought his blog had ever crossed the line, Deacon Donnelly replied: “No.”

He said: “I think blogging is an incredible tool for evangelisation, I started blogging in 2010 before the papal visit because I felt I needed to answer lies and misrepresentations about the Catholic Church. When I launched Protect the Pope it received coverage all over the world. I even received coverage in Vietnam. When I finished Protect the Pope I was getting 100,000 views per month.”

He said that the aim of his blog was simply “to compare and contrast what’s being said and done in the Church with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That can never be wrong.”

He said that he would rather not continue blogging in the future if it meant that he would have to change this basic aim. He emphasised that the “period of reflection” was indefinite and added: “The past three days I’ve had so many messages of support from my readers, even people who don’t agree with me. I’ve found that really encouraging. That’s been a positive experience from all of this.”

When asked if he thought that Catholic bishops understood the blogosphere, he said: “My feeling is that their a priori position is suspicion and they don’t understand blogging’s potential. They don’t react to it well.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told the leaders of the world’s ordinariates that while blogs could be a helpful tool of evangelisation, they could also “express unreflected speech lacking in charity”.

The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 17, 2014 at 16:18

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