Life in progress


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HarsH ReaLiTy Has Moved!!!

No more HarsH ReaLiTy on WordPress!!
Comments closed here. Visit the original post to put in your two cents. Thanks.


112 Comments

How did we meet?

One of my favourite things about WordPress is the way networking works. Sometimes I go looking for other bloggers according to interests (tag search in the Reader is a wonderful tool!),  once in a while I’ll discover someone through an article shared on FaceBook, and I can’t count how many people I’ve met through HarsH ReaLiTy. (Have you checked out Jason’s new site yet? If not, you should! Click here!) Often I stumble across another because of an interesting comment they’ve left on a blog we both follow.

And then there are the prompts. I’ve met countless bloggers through the A-Z April Challenge, a few through The Daily Post, and many through my own prompts, which is something I find amazing.

I can’t remember where I met you all, though some I do. Do you remember how you first found me? Or did I find  you first? And how long has it been?

Please let me know in the comments. 😀


36 Comments

HarsH ReaLiTy update

Good news! I received an email this morning from Jason, aka Opinionated Man, to say that his site, HarsH ReaLiTy, will be open for viewing, though he will no longer be blogging. He read your comments (I would imagine there were a fair few emails that went out to him too) on my previous post and decided that enough people were interested in reading his work that he has chosen not to delete it.

All is well with him and his family, and he says he’s keeping busy and having fun with other ventures, though he didn’t specify what they are.

You can find HarsH ReaLiTy here: http://aopinionatedman.com/

Cheers, all! I’m off for a walk in the park.


222 Comments

The HarsH ReaLiTy (another one bites the dust)

So soon on the heels of the demise of the WordPress site “Mindful Digressions,” hosted by the amazing Doobster, comes the closure of HarsH ReaLiTy, brainchild of our beloved Opinionated Man, Jason Chandler Cushman.

I met Jason shortly after I started writing here on Life in Progress – I commented on one of his posts and was flabbergasted when he responded. From that day forward I knew what it took to gain a following, and quickly learned that there is a community at WordPress – one that is supportive, caring, and friendly. I thought about deleting my post “Save HarsH ReaLiTy,” but I think I’ll keep it open – it illustrates more than anything I’ve seen so far what a fantastic place we have here. You can view it here: https://lindaghill.com/2015/01/14/save-harsh-reality/ Most of all, read the comments. They are inspiring and heartwarming both.

Belinda at Idiot Writing – https://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/ – and I received an email:

If you have the chance please let people know that HarsH ReaLiTy is closed and is set to private until it can be deleted. I wish everyone the best and appreciate the connections I made over the past two years.

Jason
-OM

He, like Doobster, is closing his site for personal reasons. Here is Belinda’s post: https://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/all-the-best-in-a-harsh-reality/

For all the lessons you taught us, for all the support you gave us with re-blogs, challenges, and posts to share our own sites, for all the lively and entertaining discussions, I wish to say thank you, Cush. It was a real pleasure to get to know you. Your footprints in the sand (or snow) of my memory will remain.

In the spirit of OM’s mission on WordPress, please feel free to leave your tribute to Jason in the comments, or a link to your own post about him and what he meant to you. And check out each other’s sites. Let’s make Jason proud of what he accomplished!

As we remember all the wonderful, humorous articles and lists, the amusing one-liners, the controversial opinion pieces, and the loving photos of his family, let us lift a glass to our friend.

Cheers, Jason! May you and your beautiful family live a long and prosperous life!


HarsH ReaLiTy Challenge!

Take the challenge!
Note: Comments closed – please comment on the original post.


39 Comments

A Single Gal’s Guide for this Valentine’s Weekend

Image courtesy of [farconville] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [farconville] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(For ladies only. Men; don’t read.) This Saturday is Valentine’s Day – a perfect opportunity for a date with that great guy. But what if, like me, you’re single and dateless? Here’s what you can do instead:

7. Take yourself out for a nice dinner!
Spend Sunday reconciling how you managed to spend less on a filet mignon, a lobster tail and a bottle of fine wine than you spent at Desserts R’ Us.

6. Stay home with an expensive bottle of wine and your favourite flavour of Haagen Dazs!
Spend Sunday figuring out which one you regret the most. (Hint: it’s the combination of the two.)

5. Knit a sweater!
Realize Sunday morning that it’s never going to fit you – it’s for that fabulous guy you don’t have. Spend the rest of the day undoing it and knitting yourself a blankie to cry into.

4. Watch The Notebook!
Spend Sunday convincing yourself that it’s better not to have a romantic partner – you won’t have to worry about remembering who he is in 50 years.

3. Watch Magic Mike!
Spend Sunday shopping for replacement batteries. (You know what I’m talking about, ladies.)

2. Get yourself dolled up and go to the theatre to watch 50 Shades of Grey!
Spend Sunday inventing excuses for your family to explain why the fire department showed up at your house at midnight. Anything but the truth – that you somehow managed to handcuff yourself to the bed posts in your sexiest lingerie and then dropped the key but managed to hang on to the phone. Oh myyy!!

1. Spend Saturday night curled up with a nice glass of your favourite beverage and a great book!
Sunday, repeat.

I don’t know about you gals, but I think I might stick with #1. 😉


8 Comments

It Is Done

A letter has been sent to the powers-that-be at WordPress. Please, continue to comment with your support and re-blog (especially re-blog) the post Save HarsH ReaLiTy; I believe the more it gets around, the less likely WordPress is to miss it. And who knows how long it will take for them to pay attention to my letter? Now the comments are in the hundreds – lets strive for the thousands before the lucky person who reads our petition gets to see the post!

On behalf of myself, all of you, and equally, Jason, here is what I wrote. I sincerely hope it is adequate to the task at hand:

Hi,
I’m writing to bring to your attention a situation which I and hundreds of other WordPress users with both free and paid accounts feel that has perhaps been overlooked.
A popular blog, aopinionatedman.com has been given a partial suspension due to flagging for excessive “follows” within a certain time frame which, I am led to believe, is a common practice used by “spammers.” The above mentioned site is, however, not one of these.
Mr. Cushman of the blog entitled “Harsh Reality” is a genuinely caring advocate of the WordPress community, a place where many people find entertainment, an outlet to share, and in many cases literally life-saving support, as I’m sure you know. Please find here: https://lindaghill.com/2015/01/14/save-harsh-reality/ a petition of support for what he does, his blog, and how much his practices mean to other bloggers. Advocates for Mr. Cushman’s continued full-service abilities can be found in the hundreds in the comments of my post. I understand that there have been complaints against aopinionatedman.com, yet I strongly suspect that the supportive souls far outweigh the negative feedback.
I, therefore, humbly request that you reinstate his ability to “follow” and “like” other blogs. I’m sure I am far from the only blogger who has been encouraged by Mr. Cushman to pay for his or her site – not that I nor anyone else would necessarily remove our “paid” status from WordPress, but it would be a shame if such an advocate, not only for bloggers but for WordPress themselves removes himself from your site.
Thank you in advance for your speedy attention to this critical matter.
Yours very sincerely,
Linda G. Hill

Again, please direct all comments in support of Jason C. Cushman, aka Opinionated Man at HarsH ReaLiTy here: https://lindaghill.com/2015/01/14/save-harsh-reality/

Now I’m off to bed, exhausted but satisfied that I have done my best to SAVE HARSH REALITY!!!!!

YEAH!!!!!


49 Comments

The Harsh Reality

So I read WordPress’s Terms of Service. Fun times. Basically they cover their “assets” by saying they can do whatever they want – we agree to this when we sign up. Feel safe? Check section 16.

  • Termination. Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. If you wish to terminate this Agreement or your WordPress.com account (if you have one), you may simply discontinue using the Website. All provisions of this Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading the rest: http://en.wordpress.com/tos/

HarsH ReaLiTy’s access to “follow” and “like” blogs was suspended. This is why, and I quote from a letter made public in the forums:

Hello,

We have noticed unusual behavior in your account, and have disabled several social features of WordPress.com, such as liking and/or following, as a result.

You have agreed to our Terms of Service which specifically says your “blog is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, other blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods”.

Your rapid pattern of liking or following has exceeded our hourly limits many times, which caused your account to be flagged.

Your ability to follow other blogs will not be restored. If you genuinely need to follow so many blogs, we would encourage you to use an external RSS feed reader (eg. Feedly.com).

Lisa | Community Guardian | WordPress.com

As a result of this, Jason Cushman, aka Opinionated Man, owner of HarsH ReaLiTy, has said he will close down his site – and I can’t blame him. He has done more for bloggers on WordPress than anyone I know: what enabled him to do so is the very thing they are accusing him of doing wrong.

One would hope that the above is at least in part a form letter, sent to those whose blogs are flagged. One would also hope that there is a real human being investigating these automatic flags – a human being with compassion, common sense, and an eye for discerning what is truly malicious and self-serving and what is genuine human interaction, as evidenced by the comments here: Save HarsH ReaLiTy!!.

It is with this hope that I will send the above link to the Terms of Service people. I can’t help but believe that they will see that their automated systems have picked up on a unique situation and that the matter needs to be dismissed as a non-issue.

Please – I ask you one more time, if you haven’t commented on Save HarsH ReaLiTy!! do so now. The more support this gets, the more chance there will be to get Opinionated Man back.

Don’t let this be a Harsh Reality!!!

Other posts on HarsH ReaLiTy:

https://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/je-suis-opinionatedman-we-have-the-power-to-care/

http://doncharisma.org/2015/01/15/this-is-a-very-sad-day-for-blogging/

https://ahillbillyblogger.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/free-harsh-reality-from-wordpress-jail/

and of course: http://aopinionatedman.com/2015/01/14/closing-harsh-reality-going-private/


482 Comments

Save HarsH ReaLiTy!! – SUSPENSION LIFTED!!!

No one likes spam. In internet terms (as opposed to the stuff you find on the grocery store shelf) it’s the bane of our existence. Its sole purpose is to get our attention and once it does, it either begs us to buy something or gives us something we would never pay for – something like a virus.

Then there is the exception to the rule. In fact, there is only one exception that I’ve found in over a decade of browsing the web. It may have seemed like a “spam follow” at the start, but when I followed the cookie-crumb trail that led me back to its source, it ended up benefiting me beyond my wildest dreams: it was HarsH ReaLiTy.

Jason, also known as Opinionated Man, has a huge (over 50,000 blog, twitter, and Facebook combined) following on his blog, HarsH ReaLiTy. His passion for connecting with other bloggers is instantly recognizable by the way he interacts in the comments. How did he get such an audience? By following other blogs. By doing the exact same thing our self-serving spammers do. The difference is, Jason gets the attention of other bloggers and once he does, he helps them! Not by selling them things they don’t need – by guiding them to find followings of their own.

He has dedicated hours and hours to create places for bloggers to find their communities:

http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/12/29/wordpress-meet-and-greet-3-all-bloggers-welcome/

To help them draw attention to themselves:

http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/11/13/share-your-blogger-profile-all-bloggers-welcome/

To help them promote themselves:

http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/08/06/share-a-post-all-bloggers-welcome/

The trickle-down benefits alone are nothing less than astounding. If you have ever read any of my helpful hints on blogging, you can thank Jason – he taught me three quarters of what I know.

Why am I telling you all this? WordPress has seen fit to suspend HarsH ReaLiTy’s ability to follow and “like” other blogs. It’s a crime. WordPress is taking away one of its own biggest assets – a service provided to its own patrons, FOR FREE, and out of the goodness of one man’s heart. I wrote a post myself about how hard he works to help others grow their blogs here: https://lindaghill.com/2014/09/23/wordpresss-own-welcoming-committee-harsh-reality/

If Jason C. Cushman has ever helped you, if you have ever read any of his blogging advice, if you have ever guest posted for him, if he has ever re-blogged you, if you have ever commented on HarsH ReaLiTy and met another blogger there, please sign below.

Comment – leave your words of support or just write the words, Save HarsH ReaLiTy. I will make sure the WordPress powers-that-be see this post and all the support that goes with it.

Re-blog – make sure this goes out to every corner of WordPress that Jason has reached.

HarsH ReaLiTy is not a spam blog. It is WordPress’s shining star.

Edit: I’m purposely NOT responding to comments here so as not to dilute the message: WE SUPPORT HARSH REALITY AND WHAT JASON DOES TO HELP BLOGGERS!! Thank you to all who have shared and commented so far, and thanks in advance to all who will. Please keep commenting and re-blogging! Let’s keep this at the top of the Reader!

Edit: Now that HarsH ReaLiTy’s suspension is lifted I’ll turn off the comments here. This post will remain, however, as testimony to what Jason means to us! Long live Opinionated Man!!
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who commented and re-blogged. Your support is both overwhelming and heartwarming.
Now pass around the cookies!! 😀

Edit – April 20th: Jason re-blogged this with the following comment:

I actually didn’t read this until now because I was moody at the time. I feel the love from this post and the comments here. Thanks bloggers. -OM

I’ve turned the comments back on. You’re very welcome, Jason. It was the least I could do for all you’ve done for this community. 😀


75 Comments

WordPress’s Own Welcoming Committee – HarsH ReaLiTy

When I started blogging I had no idea what I was doing. I roamed around WordPress marveling at all the people who seemed to have something to talk about. I knew I had words inside me that I wanted to get out – but how to start was the biggest question, followed closely by, how do I get anyone to read what I’ve written?

So I began, rather lamely I might add. A few people followed me, most of whom when I looked at their sites were simply trying to sell something.

I read up on a few hints from WordPress themselves; things like click on people’s avatars and follow them, or comment on other people’s blogs. It didn’t get me too far, but it was a start. Then one day, someone who called himself “Opinionated Man” followed me. I made one of my bolder attempts at commenting on his site, particularly frightening as that was since he had something like 1,000 followers. 1,000! Just imagine! I didn’t for a second expect a blogger with stats like that to reply to my comment.

But he did.

Following his blog, and his lead, I began gaining confidence in myself as a blogger. I found out it was okay to be at the top of the commenter’s list on my own stats page. (Silly me thought that was a faux pas – an egotistical nightmare if there ever was one.) But most of all, I discovered through HarsH ReaLiTy that there was such a thing as the WordPress community.

Now Jason, author of the blog HarsH ReaLiTy, follows as many new bloggers as he can. The ones who take heart from what may be their first follow and click on his site may at first be a little overwhelmed. But the ones who take their time and read what he has to say rather than judge him at first glance for his numbers and his moniker, are indeed lucky to have found him.

I’ve come to think of Jason as the one-man welcoming committee for WordPress. While his motives may not be readily apparent, there is nothing on his site that cannot be learned from, whether it’s how to get fifty comments out of a single sentence, or how to go about expressing your own opinion no matter how badly received it might be. Any one of us can follow his example and succeed. Which is not to mention the advice he gladly dispenses in the articles he’s worked hard to compile for us, his followers.

I honestly can’t imagine a WordPress without HarsH ReaLiTy. Thank you, Jason, on behalf of myself and all the people you have shown the way. You’ve built something truly great, and upheld it with grace, a well-toned funny bone and a set of opinions that are undeniably all yours. Thank goodness one of them is that it is gratifying to help others discover what you enjoy – blogging.

Find Jason by clicking here. Enjoy!