I wrote about my (now) 3-week ordeal when a tech over at Amazon.uk (Vishnu, you should be fired) for cancelling BOTH my UK and US account when I asked him to leave the US one alone. Three times.
My 5th attempt I tried using some ALL CAPS while writing in the chat with the support tech person. When the final result was another promise to email me with the login details, 4 times before without results, I asked who the boss was, and got a name. THIS time, I actually DID receive and email. But it directed me back to support. I click on the link, and I am back at square one. I go through the same process with the new tech, hoping this time something different would happen. Nope. SO I START YELLING FOR THE BOSS, FLIPPING OUT and pointing out this was my sixth attempt. The tech finally put me in contact with his boss, who discovered the problem and had my old account reinstated in less than 3 minutes.
The lesson from all this? I am going to find a way to save all my Kindle books locally, so I am not dependant on Amazon su- su- su- sucky support. Also, I am downloading all my highlights from books past. You never know how much you depend on something until you lose it. I was fortunate to get it back.
I have had a frightening experience with Amazon over the new year vacation, and extending into the year, that has opened my eyes about the power relationship between seller (Amazon) and “buyer” (me) in digital commerce. I have ignored Cory Doctorow and EFF and their warnings about how buying hundreds of books (I have 320) at Amazon, they have power over you. For all of its daunted reputation, Amazon depends on having the power in the relationship. I cannot walk away. That leaves me begging for Customer Support. Long story below, I will try to get through it as quick as possible so you can see the effect. But this could happen at iTunes with your music. Google is a bit different because you can back up your content locally, so is more beholden.
Time for a Digital Bill of Rights.
Initial Question: I want to close my amazon.co.uk account because I have not lived there in years. I want to keep my amazon.com and my amazon.co.jp accounts open.
01:57 AM GMT Vishn)u(Amazon): Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk. My name is Vishnu. Am I chatting with Kevin Ryan? 01:57 AM GMT Kevin Ryan:, I am Kevin Ryan 01:58 AM GMT Vishnu: Hello Kevin ,hope you are doing good,I do understand your concern regarding the account close I will be very glad to help you with this. 01:59 AM GMT Kevin Ryan: Thank you, I wanted to make sure that will not affect the other two amazon accounts I have. 02:01 AM GMT Vishnu: I have successfully closed your account 02:02 AM GMT Kevin Ryan: Thank you. I can still use my other two accounts, correct? 02:02 AM GMT Vishnu: yes
Chat with Amazon.co.uk support Dec 28, 2018 (Excerpted)
OK, so then
10:51 PM PST Justin(Amazon): Hello, my name is Justin. I’m here to help you today. 10:52 PM PST Kevin Ryan: I recently closed my account at Amazon.co.uk and Vishnu, the tech, assured me that would not affect my Amazon.com account. 10:53 PM PST Kevin Ryan: But now I cannot access. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org Here is the chat transcript (Copy of Visnu’s transcript)
10:55 PM PST Justin: So you cannot access your Amazon.com account? 10:55 PM PST Kevin Ryan: That is correct. 11:01 PM PST Kevin Ryan: You there? 11:01 PM PST Josephine(Amazon): Hello, my name is Josephine. I’m sorry your previous chat disconnected. 11:04 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Visnu, when he disconnected my.co.uk account, also must have closed my main account at .com 11:06 PM PST Josephine: Yes, Kevin. Upon checking I see that your prime account in Amazon.com is closed. 11:07 PM PST Kevin Ryan: My main Amazon.com account is almost 20 years old, Prime, with about 320 books. If you could resurrect it, please. 11:09 PM PST Josephine: I understand your concern, Kevin. In this case, I’ll submit the form to our Account close team. 11:10 PM PST Josephine: They will contact you within 24 hours And respond to the E-mail. 11:10 PM PST Kevin Ryan: OK…Does that mean it will take some time over the holidays? OK, I will be on the lookout for the email. 11:11 PM PST Josephine: Thanks for your understanding, Kevin. 11:12 PM PST Josephine: Before that for security reasons, Could you please confirm …..(security check) 11:22 PM PST Josephine: I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this has caused for you, Kevin. 11:22 PM PST Kevin Ryan: As long as we can get it fixed. 11:22 PM PST Josephine: I’ve successfully submitted the account reopen form on behalf of you. 11:22 PM PST Kevin Ryan: OK. 11:22 PM PST Josephine: You’ll receive an E-mail from our team within 24 hours.
Amazon.com Customer Support with Justin (then Josephine, after line was dropped). December 31, 2018
We’re sorry that the Amazon US account was cancelled mistakenly by the previous associate. We’ve submitted the Account Reinstatement Form regarding this matter and an Account Specialist /Escalation Specialist will get in touch with you via email within 2-3 business days from now.
After phone support session with Amazon.com with Joe. Jan 2, 2019
Initial Question: My content and devices have disappeared.
02:04 PM PST Joel(Amazon): Hello, my name is Joel. I’m here to help you today. 02:10 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Long story. (recounts history) Chat logs available. 02:12 PM PST Joel: I am really sorry for the inconvenience caused. 02:14 PM PST Joel: In this case I will forward this issue to our account specialist team. They will check and help you with this issue. You will receive an email within 24 hours regarding the account issue. hope this works for you? 02:15 PM PST Kevin Ryan: This is the third time I have heard this message. 02:15 PM PST Joel: There is no need for any concern. 02:16 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Right. Third time is a charm? I guess I will have to wait. Again. Thank you.
Amazon.com Support chat January 10, 2019
The saga continues. I contacted Andrea by phone on January 11. I thought maybe being upset and angry might work–I’ve tried polite. I was gruff and impolite, just short of swearing–although I did say this whole scenario “scared the shit out of me”. I went through the whole process again.
Andrea: I relayed your information to the team trained to handle this scenario. You should hear back from them in the next 1-2 business days. If you have any concern you can give us a callback at anytime.
And nada, nyet, nothing. Again. Time to consider legal action. Amazon just stole 320 of my books, and thousands of my highlights, which I often use for research and work.
I try hard to keep up with Marilynne Robinson and her writing. The book that made me think the hardest in the last decade got me turned on to her. No, I am not a masochist, even though I do keep returning to Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self. She deftly drives right up the path where science and religion intermingle. Her Giliead trilogy is a remembrance of an austere midwest influenced by Protestantism and the dust bowl. With writing as sparse as Absence was rich, I was able to glimpse the breadth of her intellect. When I was a Child I Read Books is much more accessible, but a cautionary tale when we look at the direction of content being consumed today.
So when I saw her article on Humanism and thinking after the Enlightenment in the NY Review of Books, I was happy it was Sunday breakfast. An hour later, I came up for breath. What Are We Doing Here? looks at the control of information in the early days of publishing. With prose like “However, I am too aware of the ragged beast history has been to fret over the fact that its manners are not perfect yet. ” how can we resist getting that extra cup of coffee and listening to rain as we finish the long read. Taking the extra time is mirrored in her celebration of Liberal Arts. The meaning of liberal here is from libere, or free. Free to study, which has nothing to do with politics. Robinson:
It has given me an interesting life, allowing me all the time a novel requires and every resource for following the questions that arise as I work. I have enjoyed the company of young writers, and I have learned from them. I know that one is expected to bemoan the present time, to say something about decline and the loss of values. O tempora, o mores! But I find a great deal to respect.
The problem is that this “Liberal” is not working to make the rest of us, outside of the university, free. Robinson goes on to bemoan the current “eclipse” of humanism after its sunrise through authors like Walt Whitman and Keats. She looks at Competition (with a big C) and quietly advocates for a revolution of thinking about our purpose here. Humanities is a necessary opening of our thinking, the first real Big Data of our existence, but it is in danger from those who have influence and now the tools to create a Benthamist Panopticon, something we must run, at top speed, from.
The 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses by Luther on the church door in Wittenberg is next week, Wednesday, November 1. All this reminded me if we dialed back a couple of centuries, and listened to Dan Carlin’s podcast about the Rebellion of Munster in post-Luther society, we could actually see how a new media was causing terrible contortions, violence, and revolution in Europe. Not a pretty site. But between Marilynne Robinson and Dan Carlin, we can get perspectives on What Is Happening Now.
No, not motocross, which is what we used when I was a teen on a bike.
This is a salutation, a title. The only time I use this in English any more is when I sign up to present at a conference. Some organizations insist I pick a title. But now on to the crux of the matter.
Why not use Mx for everything? I didn’t realize that sex-based titles have only been around since the mid-1800’s. Go figure. Before that they were mostly about class and status. Read more about this over at Language: A Feminist Guide.
This the title of a recent article I wrote for my university research journal (Gakuen). In it, I advocate for subsuming the Graduation Thesis, common here in Japan among undergraduates, among a collection of other possible ways for demonstrating ability to work in a field. Notice how I don’t use the word “mastery”, as that is not really possible in a foreign language at the undergraduate level (I work in the English Department).
This collection of what I call Graduation Projects (sometimes called Capstone Projects) could entail a variety of different ways to demonstrate that one can use tools (not understand a field), as tools and skills are what will be needed in this world with the entire sum of human knowledge is constantly at our fingertips (OK, I exaggerate, but not by much). Knowing stuff is no longer as important as being able to learn new stuff by yourself.
Read more about it in the article which I have attached here. Another thing I argue for is that all students should learn programming, or at least enough to be able to understand the thinking behind programming. Authoring is no longer just about writing words, and the people who program are creating a world that the rest of humanity has to live in (or will have to live in, soon). So if you want to control your creative production, you have to learn how to program.
Since the article came out, a number of new events have reinforced the points I made. The most popular major among women at Stanford is Computer Science, along with the most popular course at Harvard, Computer Science. A recent article is going viral about how virtual classes can be better than real ones. Another thing I advocate is for Open Source Publishing, or Open Education Resources, and now the entire staff from a linguistics journal has quit Elsevier in protest over the policies that make huge profits selling things produced at universities back to the faculties.
Lots more issues, but no time here. Let me attach my article, maybe we can get a discussion going.