The Ethics of Data Mining on Social Media Platforms: a paper

InternetProgrammingSociety

I wrote a paper a few months ago on “The Ethics of Data Mining on Social Media Platforms” for the Ricco Ethics Scholarship and today, I was pleased to hear I had been selected as an award recipient. One of the stipulations for winners is their work will be available online for all to view. In that spirit, I share my work if you would like to read it. (It so happens this prompt is one that truly interests me, and I’d love to further delve into the topic if you want to discuss it with me.)

https://jeffw.xyz/public/The%20Ethics%20of%20Data%20Mining%20on%20Social%20Media%20Platforms.pdf

Travelling from UNT to Downtown Dallas using public transit

Society

Do you ever need or want to go to Dallas from UNT? If you have time to spare and want to save money, public transportation is a viable option! This guide is written mainly with TAMS students in mind, but I’ve also added some tips for the general public.

Prerequisites (for TAMS students): your UNT ID card and your gray “Reduced Fare” ID card.

Step 1: If you’re closer to the Art Building, then go to the southeast corner of Welch and Mulberry (NB Welch @ Mulberry) and wait. Or, if you’re closer to the UNT Union, go to the southeast corner of Welch and W Prairie St (NB Welch @ Prairie) and wait (it’s near the south terminus of Union Circle, across from the Wooten parking lot).

Step 2: Take either DCTA Connect Route 7 or 8 to the Downtown Denton Transit Center (DDTC). Swipe your UNT ID card. Or, if you don’t have one, bring exact change for $3.00 for a 2-hour pass.

Step 3: At the DDTC, purchase a regional day pass (not local) regardless of what fare you’ve just paid for the bus. For TAMS students, this will cost $2.50 with your reduced fare pass. Your UNT ID card does NOT suffice as a valid fare item on the A-Train. For everyone else, the price is $10.

Step 4: Once you’ve purchased your regional day pass, hop on board the A-Train.

Step 5: At the terminus of the A-Train, Trinity Mills Station, transfer to the adjacent DART Green Line.

Step 6: Get off at whichever stop suits you the best. The four downtown stations are: West End, Akard, St. Paul, and Pearl/Arts District. You can then transfer to DART buses with the regional day pass you bought back at the DDTC.

Step 7: Once you’re ready to go back to Denton, get back on the Green Line heading for North Carrollton/Frankford Station.

Step 8: Be very careful—remember, the A-Train transfer happens at Trinity Mills Station, not at the Green Line’s northern terminus (North Carrollton/Frankford). Trinity Mills Station is the station before North Carrollton/Frankford.

Step 9: Cross the tracks to the other platform and board the A-Train back to the DDTC.

Step 10: Back at the DDTC, transfer to DCTA Connect Route 7 or 8 and ride back to UNT. You can either board with your UNT ID or the regional day pass you bought. Get off at either WB Oak @ Normal or WB Oak @ Fry if you’re craving Chipotle.

Congratulations, now you know how to get to Downtown Dallas from UNT with public transportation!

The struggle with migrating to PHP 7

InternetMyWikisProgramming

When PHP 7 was first released, I was very excited to install it on one of MyWikis’ servers. In retrospect, I was too excited to install it—I should have been more patient. Some critical components of our website ended up breaking because they were incompatible with PHP 7. Of course, I hastily reverted back to PHP 5.6 and have kept it that way since.

Today, I’ve been thinking about whether to begin migrating to PHP 7. It has matured and many PHP applications have had time to adjust to PHP 7. The primary application I have in mind is MediaWiki—the lifeblood of MyWikis. Since MediaWiki 1.27.4, it has been fully compatible with PHP 7. It is now viable for MyWikis to initiate an upgrade of PHP on our servers. However, my answer to upgrading is still no.

I truly do look forward to unwaveringly upgrading to PHP 7. However, that day has not yet arrived. Too many legacy web applications are still stuck in PHP 5. Heck, many of them are stuck in PHP 5.3. In fact, 5.3 strikes that sweet balance between old PHP and new PHP (as it only deprecates certain legacy features instead of removing them). I have taken the responsibility of maintaining an old website that my mom wrote in PHP ten years ago (yes, really, in 2008). This website is deeply sentimental to me because my mom made it for an eight year old me. When I restored it back from a backup, it was an honor to fix the PHP errors that had appeared. I assume the website was written in PHP 5.2 standards, so when it was upgraded to 5.4, I had to remove all of the register_globals() functions, LOL!

But my point is, as a businessman whose livelihood depends on PHP, I don’t have the liberty to screw around and upgrade PHP to the latest version whenever I please. I have to consider its compatibility with legacy software that, while not up-to-date yet, is vital to my business. Today is not the day that MyWikis will be upgrading to PHP 7. I don’t think the day will come until PHP 5.6 is completely EOL’d. I do believe this is the best course of action, as upgrading will only bring havoc to our tranquil servers in their status quo and disqualify our servers from handling potentially important legacy software.

Until PHP 5 completely flatlines, MyWikis will not be upgrading to PHP 7.

How I watch the news these days

Society

The 2016 presidential election was undoubtedly one for the history books. We are still feeling its aftershocks today and are still trying to adapt to this earthquake’s changes. Since then, I’ve changed significantly from this unusual development in American politics. The most notable change in my lifestyle is how I watch the news these days.

Recently, I took a political science class at UNT and I’ve been able to gain a deeper insight into American media’s influence on politics. The class has changed my opinion on cable news channels such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News; I’ve only become more opposed to watching any of them. In general, the class has taught me that cable news channels’ content is biased and shallow.

This has only been amplified by the recent presidential election. Gone are the days of reliable breaking news reports upon which we could rely. Today, I follow the Associated Press and Reuters News on Twitter and no longer check CNN as I did religiously many years ago. When I began reading CNN.com in 2011, the news stories didn’t have clickbait headlines. Instead, the content’s quality was high and obviously the headlines were professional and summarized well. Upon reflection, sure, the articles were usually shallow, but they weren’t as shallow as today. They certainly were not as biased as today. I did appreciate learning my international affairs from CNN, and if they weren’t covered well, I would read that week’s edition of The Economist to supplement. Overall, it was a very agreeable experience. But that experience is only a pipe dream today.

I’m no longer surprised, but I continue to be shocked by the interactions that happen between anchors and commentators. Today, I saw Don Lemon trending on Twitter. Mildly interested by what trouble he was causing today, I saw the clip of Don Lemon’s show where he cut off the outspoken conservative commentator. This made me cringe. Neither side had respect for the other, regardless of how valid each side’s points were. Apparently, none of the other side’s opinions were valid, and all of them were offensive and unbearable. While they may truly be offensive, it’s still not acceptable to be hearing any of this on TV. Where has the civility gone? That is what I truly expect for TV news, not ad hominem bickering. On a higher level, this is yet another example of how these cable news channels have become echo chambers these days. What happened to “if they go low, we go high!”?

Watching these heated conversations makes my blood boil. It always makes my blood boil. Perhaps these cable news channels know that their content makes their viewers unreasonably angry. In fact, their primary goal of being biased is to attract a dedicated viewership, so it makes sense that they have now resorted to appealing to our thymos. Philosophy defines logos to be our rational soul, thymos to be our spirited soul, and epithymos to be our appetitive soul. Cable news channels have devolved from logos-appealing (which I desire) to thymos-appealing. Now, instead of being enlightened by rational logic, we are bombarded by angering conversations. In effect, our ability to think rationally is stripped away from us. This is a problem. Perhaps that is why each side accuses each other of “brainwashing” with their bias. Yet, it only makes sense if a third-party neutral observer asserts such a claim.

In short, I have moved on from shallow, thymos-appealing cable news channels and now read neutral news sources that minimally exhibit bias in their content and nostalgically remind me of the renaissance of CNN.com’s content.

The problem with hiring programmers to make things for you

ProgrammingSociety

I truly believe computer science is innately an intersectional discipline. (To be honest, while pure computer science is the root of today’s technical innovations and I recognize its importance, it is boring to me.) As a business founder, I firmly believe computer science and business is where it’s at. CS + Entrepreneurship is the magic formula that can truly change the world in this day in age. Programmers and businesspersons working together is much more impactful than either working alone.

Problem is, we have evolved to the point where the slightest “brilliant idea” can be touted by a self-proclaimed “entrepreneur”, and you as a programmer can have a piece of the action, as long as you sign an NDA of course. It’s gotten to the point where these kinds of people, who know nothing about programming, expect to woo over talented programmers with a bit of equity. Because all startups succeed these days, right?

It’s gotten super annoying that most people do not understand that programmers spend a good amount of time working on each project. There is a shortage of programmers in the world and we don’t have enough to spend several days to make a few extra bucks. Our work is valuable and you should learn that $100 isn’t going to cut it. Neither do we want equity. At the end of the day, time is money, so all we want is to be compensated reasonably.

However, this tweet is an extreme case. In most cases, I don’t see people wanting to keep the equity. They just want something built for them. They look up to us programmers because we possess the power to build something they can’t. But they don’t know what it actually takes to get it done, so they unknowingly propose a ridiculous amount of compensation and are then mocked by programmers. How is this fair? They’ll never know this is unreasonable while you basically bully them behind their backs.

We (the programmers and the people who solicit the services of programmers) suffer from a lack of mutual understanding. I’m here to set the record straight once and for all.

People who want the services of programmers, get ready to pay for it. Equity doesn’t work and neither does just $100, because both are insults. And stop asking for the most qualified programmers unless you’re willing to pay six figures. You’re not getting the most qualified programmers for your side job if you hire freelancers, that’s just how it works.

Programmers, stop making fun of innocent people trying to get something accomplished. Unless they are a stuck-up asshole like the person in the tweet above, they usually don’t mean any malice. They just don’t know what to offer, and instead of laughing about them, you should let them know what’s reasonable so they’ll know for next time. Be more understanding and empathetic towards them.

Remember, as ridiculous as an offer might sound, you might be turning down the next Uber. That ridiculous tweet up there might indeed sound ridiculous, but Travis Kalanick tweeted something just as ridiculous sounding in 2010 and now the person who responded to that tweet is a billionaire.

Net neutrality support has become way too hyped

InternetSociety

Before you ostracize me for my post, I want to make it clear that net neutrality is very important for the survival of the internet. I’m currently unaware of anyone who is legitimately against net neutrality. And back when the internet’s freedom was challenged by SOPA and PIPA in 2011 and 2012, I was doing what I could as an 11 year old to stop it from advancing. Even the father of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, supports net neutrality, and he knows what he’s talking about.

However, it’s a lot of other supporters that unfortunately don’t know what they are talking about.

I have seen a lot of messages about saving net neutrality since this summer, especially from advocacy groups such as the EFF and Battle for the Net. In fact, if you visited my company’s website a few days ago, you would’ve seen that we have a modal asking you to support the cause of net neutrality.

I’ve seen a lot of correct and accurate content about net neutrality being posted, but I am frustrated when I see misinformation being spread, such as this tweet:

The specific language used here was “websites we will lose access to without #NetNeutrality” (emphasis added by me). Thankfully, this is not immediately true. If net neutrality were to be repealed, it would be up to your ISPs (internet service provider) to determine if they want to start charging you to access a specific website. ISPs include your cable or telephony company (AT&T Uverse, Verizon Fios, Charter Spectrum, Apogee Telecom, etc.) and your mobile provider (AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US, and Sprint).

But here’s the thing. Currently, we do not know if these ISPs will be creating special access lanes or faster access lanes or whatever. In other words, we don’t know how they would change what they are doing right now. We know Comcast is currently already implementing monthly data transfer caps, which wouldn’t be allowed under perfect net neutrality. However, no ISP has said they will be forcing you to pay extra to access Google or Netflix. Anything else is speculation.

Saying that ISPs will “deny you access to Google if net neutrality is repealed” is a dangerously broad and speculatory statement. This kind of statement, while attracting the hoi polloi to support a once obscure issue, lowers the pro-net neutrality camp’s credibility, introduces unnecessary and unjustified panic into people, and causes more confusion than clarity.

Oh, and by the way, I wrote this post before net neutrality was officially repealed by the FCC. Now that is repealed, can you access Google? Yeah, you sure can. So this tweet was wrong and deceitful.

I encourage everyone who supports net neutrality to read up on how it could and would actually impact the internet and why it’s important, instead of just relying on series of 280 characters.

Why my favorite time of the semester is final exams

SchoolSociety

During dead week last spring semester, I found myself bored and unsure of what to do. My boredom felt wrong and dangerous. I had felt the same thing in the preceding (fall) semester, but I didn’t want to lose my A’s this time because I messed up my final exams. So, since I had nothing to do, I strutted down to my academic counselor’s office and asked her, “I’m bored and I don’t know what to do. I know I should be studying, but I don’t feel like I need to study anything. What’s wrong with me?” She replied, “Nothing’s wrong with you, Jeffrey! This boredom is typical for people who have done well throughout the semester. Trust me, you will be fine.” After hearing that, I felt relieved and validated. I continued doing what I wanted, studying only a little bit. To be honest, I was still apprehensive of what she told me, but I now trust her judgement after I received all A’s that semester.

After a few weeks of the fall semester beginning, I couldn’t wait for final exams. I had weeks lined up with four tests and sometimes two tests occurred on the same day. While finals week lines up many tests on the same week, they don’t occur around the same time as other homework assignments being due, and usually don’t interfere with college applications. Furthermore, cumulative tests just means reviewing previously learned content. If I did well in my midterm exams, most of the finals should just be over the same thing that I had already learned. And if they aren’t cumulative tests, that’s fine too; final exam week is just testing, so other downtime can be used for studying instead of going to class. I find that finals week gives me the biggest chunk of downtime I can expect from any time of the semester, perhaps other than the first week.

Mathematically speaking, final exams are the final figure in calculating our grade. Depending on previous performance in the class and the weight of the final exam on your final grade in the class, one can achieve failing grades on their finals and still earn an A. This means there is lots of leeway for error if such errors are made and that means studying for finals is less stressful than regular midterm tests because there isn’t as much pressure to do well. It lets me show what I really know, without having to “cram” any knowledge into my head.

This post isn’t meant to be a panacea for those stressing over final exams. If you believe you know the content well, then you can chill a bit and naturally do pretty well on your finals, but if you have not done well on your previous tests, this is the home stretch for you to redeem yourself and try your best to get an A, if possible.

But if you had a successful semester so far, final exams are a pretty nice way to wind down. Best of luck to everyone this finals season!

Edit: I just took my first final exam of this semester: US History. It was purely a free-response exam and I had double the time I am usually afforded for this exam. So, I sat down and thought about what I would say. I excited my brain cells just thinking about how everything went together. I wasn’t under pressure to perform well. I just let out what I had to say on paper and I’m confident that I will do well. I’ve been learning this material all this semester and it’s not going to be hard to get an A.

Reputation and rhetoric

Society

I have finally found that these posts I’ve filed under “society” are not my ramblings, but my essays, in that I am essaying as Montaigne did. As such, enjoy my latest essay, which I have written because I can no longer hold my frustration within me.

As brilliant of a rhetorician one can become, their words are worthless if nobody will listen to them. Ideally, the better one’s rhetoric is, the more people will listen to them. However, this does not entirely hold true in the real world. For someone who has a sound balance of reason, ethics, and emotion, rhetoric is not really the key; it is reputation to which people listen. Our reputation is what gets us into the door and our rhetoric drives us home. The speaker’s rhetoric therefore serves limited purpose unless the speaker’s reputation is good.

I can point to real world examples, which unfortunately become easier to find as we move on from the 2016 United States presidential election. We have been described as being in a post-truth society, and I think this means that reputation matters more than rhetoric in this society. Donald Trump did not win this election with his rhetoric; his rhetoric is pitiful and laughable. Yet, he won the election, and that must be attributed to his reputation. His mudslinging and slogans got him the votes, bolstered by who he was.

I’m not like most people my age, and so I feel great difficulty in being able to connect with many people of my age. In fact, I believe most people see me as an aloof and unsociable weirdo because I think differently than they do. I can’t connect with most people because of their undesirable human tendencies, which I will discuss later. This results in me becoming an outcast—against my will, of course—and what am I to do? I am a stubborn person. I cannot sacrifice the small victories in life because doing so would go against the tenets of classical rhetoric: logos, ethos, pathos. In keeping my ground, I alienate myself from many people. Furthermore, when I next wish to communicate with them, I am met with a wall of resistance regardless of my rhetoric or attitude. From this, we can see that first impressions truly do matter.

However, this isn’t entirely up to me. As humans, we innately like to gossip and form cliques. We like to exclude. We like to treat other people like crap to make ourselves feel better. For the weak minded, those who do not realize how bad this is, they enjoy doing this and innocently ignore rhetoric, instead focusing too much on reputation. That is why they will listen to the person and not the reason. As reasonable as Hillary Clinton’s platform was compared to Trump’s, American voters were skeptical of hers because of her reputation. Ad hominem fallacy, perhaps? She could not be trusted because of Benghazi and her email servers. She was also felt to be a snake. Therefore, we decided to go with Trump, a man with little to say but at least he isn’t a snake like Hillary.

This truly tears me up. On one hand, I don’t want a snake ruling us and screwing us over when we least expect it. On another hand, I don’t want someone with little reasonability to rule us. So it really comes to what we trust more: rhetoric or reputation? This time, America chose reputation. But I would have chosen rhetoric. Why? I look for the good in people, and so I want their reasonable side leading us. We all make mistakes at times, whether guided by our fallacious selfish desires or our temporary lack of judgement. Such leeway to these mistakes should not just be given to the hoi polloi, but also be afforded for presidents, but we should not choose someone who is prone to folly all the time.

A more salient example of this struggle would be social media. Why won’t people like or retweet my posts but will retweet other people’s posts when we both say the exact same thing? It certainly doesn’t come down to the content, but rather the person writing the post. This infuriates me, because as Epictetus says, some things are up to us while other things are not. The things that are up to us? Our opinions, impulses, aversions. What is not up to us? Reputation, body, etc. He says we should not worry about what isn’t up to us. Well, we truly do care about who says something. As a result, I effectively become a crazy person talking to his own echo chamber. Many times I have disguised my identity and my words fare much better than when they are paired with my name. It is most unfortunate how human psychology improperly discriminates based on such unreasonable standards.

Something else wrong with what Epictetus says? Well, I am skeptical about his dogmatic conclusion. Chiefly, I cannot settle to ignore what isn’t up to us. My restless mind yearns to find a resolution to fix my reputation. The easy way is to start with a clean slate, but at what cost? I will simply have it spoiled again by my idiocy while appealing to the nonrational side of people.

As a last resort, I cease thinking about this (epoché). I plead for people to give me a second chance. It probably won’t happen. This is perhaps all made in vain, but I must try because otherwise I am emotionally disturbed, and this is the best I can do. Please, don’t put my reputation over my rhetoric. Similarly, don’t put other people over me because of their reputation. I know it’s hard, but at the end of the day, it’s not reasonable. You cannot call yourself a good person unless you cease being swayed by reputations. See through reputations and focus on impartial rhetoric.

What really matters?

Society

Some of you may remember a post I had made about rejection several months ago. Although I hastily wrote another post to ensure everyone that I was fine, true closure was never achieved. I hope this post shall rectify that.

I’ve come to realize that positions aren’t what matter; it’s your actions that do. Don’t be fazed by what others say you are and what you aren’t. Let what you do guide you, for what others say has no effect on what you can do, but what you do can have great effects on others.

It is your choice: what shall you do to create these great effects?

I think it’s silly that a year ago, I thought positions defined what we could do. In reality, I found out that it is quite the opposite. Whenever I accept a position, it is more of a trivial title that doesn’t mean anything. It is what I have achieved and what I intend to achieve that allows me to sleep at night in comfort. And when a position is denied from me, I laugh in the face of the deniers and proceed to do what I want to do. After all, if I really am determined to do something good for everyone, why would I let other people stop me?

Last year, when I was applying for officer positions in clubs, I had let the positions define what I could do. In hindsight, I had done more than the positions I had junior year. (And we weren’t even allowed to have positions as juniors.) I had always let my rejection from every single club define me, but others reminded me that I had done much more even when I wasn’t an officer.

When others asked a question, I would always respond if I knew the answer. If concepts in our classes didn’t make sense, I’d try my best to explain. During second semester, I was fortunate enough to help numerous fellow students with General Chemistry 2. Nobody had said I could do this. In fact, I was not even an official sanctioned tutor until later in the semester. Yet, did I care about being “officially sanctioned?” Was I doing it for the community service hours? No. I was doing it because I saw my calling. Did my actions make a difference? Yes. My passion, combined with my persistence, was what made me successful in doing what I wanted, and gave me true satisfaction in my role as a member of society.

And would those positions have made a difference? No.

Sometimes, we should step back and say “this is wrong.” Positions in society have come to (fallaciously) define what humans could do. This ranges from the caste system to political offices. The office itself does not make a difference; it is the holder of the office that truly makes the difference. Our perception that it is the position that matters and not what one is able to do has misled our society. Upon reflection, we need to place more emphasis on what people are able to do, as that is the true indicator of success. I hope that we as a society can implement this change. It starts with the smallest things around us. Let’s wake up and make this change.

Five years of boycotting Chick-fil-A

Society

My third ever post on this blog (back when the .xyz top-level domain did not even exist and I was on j.mywikis.org) was entitled “Why you should boycott Chick-fil-A.”

Chick-fil-A, and more specifically, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, is choosing to discriminate homosexuals. While homosexuality may not be right in your opinion, I firmly believe this is more discrimination than belief. Dan Cathy has even said that he is “guilty as charged” for his opposition to homosexuality.

He (and his family) can obviously donate to anti-homosexuality groups, but putting his large company’s profits to a very controversial topic is a bold and threatening move that will obviously deter customers away from their shops, especially in liberal areas. I believe his actions are very wrong and I must criticize him of his wrongdoings.

Please do join me in the boycotting of Chick-fil-A. This is an outrage and definitely discrimination. I hope this all goes to rest soon. Chick-fil-A needs to realize that this isn’t something that a whole company should do; it should be more like a family culture.

–Jeffrey Wang, 2012, age 12

Let’s do a few things before I proceed.

First off, 12 year old Jeffrey, “discriminate homosexuals” doesn’t make sense. It’s discriminate against homosexuals. And the more proper term would be “members of the LGBT community.” Second, the second paragraph is more of a “no duh” point. Yeah, he can donate to anti-LGBT groups, but that doesn’t mean he should. And third, unfortunately it has not gone to rest. And no, not even family cultures should be heteronormative, Jeffrey. Shame on you! (Remember this was back in 2012 and that I was raised in a conservative city in Texas.)

Five years later, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve changed schools twice, each time met with new people. Plus, I’ve met new people elsewhere, whether digitally or in-person. I’ve been many places that are different than Texas. I’ve experienced a lot. In the time between that post from 2012 and this current post, gay marriage was legalized through the Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. But there is one thing that has not changed, something that I steadfastly continue to do today: I still continue to boycott Chick-fil-A.

I’m going to elaborate on why I started my boycott, why I’m continuing it, and how I manage.



Why did I start my boycott?

Around 2011 or 2012, same-sex marriage became a contentious topic. At that time, it wasn’t legal nationwide. That means my opinion was quite unpopular back then, especially considering I lived in a quite conservative city and surrounding metropolitan area. News organizations revealed that Chick-fil-A was donating to gay conversion therapy groups (Exodus International), anti-gay hate groups (Family Research Council; considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a source of information for the FBI), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (an organization that should not belong in public schools per the principle of separation of church and state, and one that opposes gay marriage and gay bedroom activity through its pledge), and more organizations promoting heteronormative relationships and marriages. In fact, the mayor of Boston prevented Chick-fil-A from building a new location due to their homophobic attitude.

Although it appears from my limited sources of information that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to all of the above except for FCA, that won’t cut it for me. FCA’s continued promotion of heteronormative relations and unwarranted intrusion into our schools is concerning and violates the principle of separation of church and state. One of the school districts where FCA is allowed to be an official club in schools is my former district, McKinney ISD. As a Buddhist, I am concerned that FCA can have a club simply because it’s so easy to find students and a sponsoring faculty member that are Christian, yet was probably the only Buddhist in the entire school, faculty included, until I left. My former ISD forces everybody in the audience to listen to Christian prayers (and no other religion’s prayers) during graduation. In fact, they have committed so many violations that they were censured by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and finally stopped some of the intrusions of religion into classrooms. Not all have been fixed yet, including FCA still being allowed to operate as an official school club. I remember New York City kicked out all religious institutions using public property, including Buddhist organizations. I fully support their decision to do so, especially the Buddhist organizations. I am fair and impartial to the principle of the separation of church and state. I don’t discriminate against Christianity; it just so happens to be the majority, and that’s why all this anti-gay hatred has been amplified by Chick-fil-A.

Why am I continuing it?

Since Chick-fil-A has continued to donate to amplify anti-LGBT organizations while proselytizing at each of their store locations, I cannot resume monetarily supporting them. Under their current management structure, they will always send money secretly to these anti-LGBT organizations. I think it’s very simple why I’m continuing my boycott: until the company is completely changed, I can’t give them my money.

How do I manage?

Well, first off, my family didn’t really go out that often when I was 12. When we did, I made sure to suggest plenty of other delicious options in our vicinity, such as Market Street, Pei Wei, Fuzzy’s, Mooyah, and other comparable establishments. I made it clear I wasn’t going to Chick-fil-A and that I would rather starve at home than go. Whenever you crave Chick-fil-A, think of a member of the LGBT suffering because they were harassed due to their sexuality or their marriage isn’t recognized, all perpetuated by entities like CfA. Still want to go? For every cent you spend at Chick-fil-A, donate two to the Trevor Project or the ACLU or the FFRF.

Nowadays, I don’t remember the taste of Chick-fil-A. I’ve overcome the addiction.

And while a few dollars might not seem like much for CfA to lose, at least your conscience can rest easy at night. Plus, give your support to businesses full of real people who share the same loving attitude that supports LGBT rights. Trust me, happiness doesn’t require a Bible or a chicken sandwich. If we all pitch in our money to other businesses, eventually CfA will lose money and less money will go to homophobic hate groups.

Would I go back to Chick-fil-A if they stopped donating to homophobic hate groups, changed their management structure, and made it transparent that they were pro-LGBT? Short answer: no. Long answer: if I have nothing to eat, my weight isn’t killing me, and someone innocently bought me a CfA gift card, then I’ll reluctantly go. And hopefully then donate $100 to the ACLU and the Trevor Project for my sins.

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