I have a confession. I'm kind of a jerk on Facebook.
It's not that I have some fundamental desire to be a jerk, or I even like being a jerk; I just am a jerk. And when I say jerk, I mean opinionated.
On my own Facebook feed, I try to limit my posts and comments to food, science fiction stuff, random things my pets do, and links to my articles. This is because most people enjoy that. But I also participate in lots of groups, usually about restaurants, cooking, and food.
Well, people don't like me in those groups. Why? Because people say really incorrect, misinformed things. They are just wrong; they opine about stuff in which they lack any kind of expertise. So when their opinions are wrong, I correct them civilly. I don't engage in ad hominem attacks; I don't break any group rules.
Despite the fact what I do simply falls under knowledge transfer and adding value to the overall discussion, my tone is considered "attacking" due to my desire to correct people, as these folks fundamentally do not understand that civil discourse with tens of thousands of other people is not just forums to agree with everything everyone says. So I frequently am blocked by a lot of participants. I get reported a lot, too, because I am a big mean jerkface.
Facebook rarely contacts me with a "you did something that goes against our standards" message and removes a comment or a post. I've never been in Facebook jail or suspended. But on occasion, I do get thrown out of groups because a group administrator doesn't seem to know how to enforce their rules consistently, or I have just been deemed such a colossal pain in the ass from members complaining about my relentless desire to tell people in the most civil manner possible that their opinions are worthless that they need to get rid of me.
Yes, I get thrown out because they do not like me. And when it happens, it doesn't surprise me, and I move on.
Well, last night, it looks like Facebook has had enough of me telling people in groups that they are wrong. Late yesterday evening, after trying to post a comment in one of the groups I belong to, I received this ominous message:
I'm restricted from posting or commenting in groups that I do not manage myself until December 4? Six Months? My God, that seems rather extreme.
But after putting down my evening cocktail and adjusting my glasses, I looked at the number next to December 4: 219250468. Well, that has to be code for something. Maybe it's an expression of 64-bit UNIX epoch time? I inquired with a few colleagues about it. Ed Bott ran it through Python, and well, he got the year 219,250,468 at 10:30 am. (Edit: It's actually the maximum value of time.Time in the Go language.)
Well, the good news is, at least I'll be able to post by lunch. And by that time, not only will the UK and EU have Brexit figured out because Novopangea will have formed, but also, where I live in South Florida, I will be able to drive to the tip of South Africa or Caracas, Venezuela, for lunch, and be back in time for my afternoon Zoom calls.
That must be a silver lining. At the very least, I won't have to tell people in South Florida that their food opinions are worthless, because from what I understand, the cuisine in Praetoria and Johannesburg is fantastic; I will be able to get legit braai, bobotie, and bunny chow in just a 30-minute drive from my home.
It does feel like a bit of extreme punishment for being an opinionated pain in the ass. Indeed, other people have been incarcerated for less time than this.
I mean, our former president has only been suspended for two years -- now granted, I can still post in my groups and on my feed, but I can't post anywhere else until what seems like the heat death of the universe.
Okay, I exaggerate. Maybe not that long. But General Zod, the planet Krypton's most notorious criminal, and his henchmen were sentenced to the Phantom Zone for a paltry 300 Kryptonian sun-cycles of "somatic reconditioning" for using a duplicator ray to create a private army of Bizarros to overthrow the government. For sedition. My sentence is like, 730,000 times worse than General Zod's.
But how long is 219 million years, anyway? I mean, it is longer than we have to wait for the next season of Star Trek: Picard or The Expanse, but what does that look like in terms of our fundamental understanding of referenceable events throughout history?
Well, yes, geologically, it's long. It's about a quarter of an eon (a billion years) and half the current Phanerozoic Eon length, which started 540 million years ago. So the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt at least 300 times in that timeframe because it happens every 725,000 years or so. And all life on earth will be made extinct at least two or three times more, because on average, it appears to be happening at least every 30-50 million years, depending on what caused it. But yeah, statistically, at least one more big asteroid. And perhaps a nearby Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) or another mass attack by farting microbes.
So yeah, I am a jerk, but maybe Facebook should lighten up on the group restrictions. A bit.