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Trolls with spades and pitchforks
January 11, 2002 6:27 PM   Subscribe

It's time to call a spade a spade and a troll a troll.
posted by NortonDC to Etiquette/Policy at 6:27 PM (68 comments total)

I don't know that I'd call it a troll.

Extreme hyperbole, yes. Troll? (imagine that seesawing hand motion indicating wishy-washiness here).

He* was making a point, albeit a point extremely tangential to the thread.

I'd vote attempted thread-hijacking, but not trolling.

*assumption
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:38 PM on January 11, 2002


Did you assume he was serious, Norton?
posted by Doug at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2002


It's not a troll until people fall for it, and it appears so far that people realize it was purposely way over the top.

Now bushtard, that's something else entirely....
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2002


And an inadroit sentence an inadroit sentence...
posted by y2karl at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2002


He's been WAY out of line all week. This one just breaks the camel's back.
posted by jpoulos at 6:46 PM on January 11, 2002


You call THAT a troll??? I'm a troll, I've been a troll ever since I signed to Delphi in '83, and NortonDC, to label that lame bit of BS a troll is an insult to those of us who wear the name with pride. Now, take Bushtard, that's trolling genius. Sheesh!!!
posted by mischief at 6:47 PM on January 11, 2002


Truthfully, I've come to the conclusion that fold_and_mutilate is actually a rhetoric-bot someone planted in the site to see who enraged they could get us.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 PM on January 11, 2002


that "who" should be "how." sorry.
posted by jonmc at 6:49 PM on January 11, 2002


I believe he says inflammatory things for the primary purpose of being inflammatory.

Since he routinely fails to support his inflammatory statements, he is abadonning any chance to have a positive impact on the community (if he believed it, backing it up and convincing people would be, from his perspective, a service to the community). Instead he purely inflames, an abuse of the community.
posted by NortonDC at 6:49 PM on January 11, 2002


Either he's a troll or someone who just can't understand that metafilter isn't complaintfilter. I've noticed the same comments jpolous linked too and just ignored them hoping he would go away. Yeah, I got a lot of things I'd like to bitch about but going off on inflammatory tangents only hurts the discussion.


posted by skallas at 6:53 PM on January 11, 2002


mischief - I'm referring to the pattern the poster is acting out, not merely the individual post.
posted by NortonDC at 6:57 PM on January 11, 2002


Another example
posted by Optamystic at 7:16 PM on January 11, 2002


It's not a troll until people fall for it, and it appears so far that people realize it was purposely way over the top.
I still am not quite sure why you killed one of my comments the other day, but you really are the perfect guy to run this place.
posted by thirteen at 7:32 PM on January 11, 2002


Well, I guess my comment was a little useless, but it hurts man! It hurts right here!
/points at liver.
posted by thirteen at 7:34 PM on January 11, 2002




It's not my intent primarily to inflame, but if that's how you feel, I think the inflammation (such rubor! such calor!) says more about you as the reader than anything else.

Cheers!

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:38 PM on January 11, 2002


fold_and_mutilate - but if that's how you feel, I think the inflammation (such rubor! such calor!) says more about you as the reader than anything else.

Really? How?
posted by NortonDC at 7:39 PM on January 11, 2002


Hey buddy! Why mess around? Instead of "troll", try "terrorist"!

I think we can see forces at work here and elsewhere that think censorship is an oh-so-fine idea to handle those so labelled.

Let me know when you come to terms with my little comment on violence in America. Sadly, I suspect that many find the truth inflammatory. And inflammation is a terrible thing, don't you agree?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:58 PM on January 11, 2002


Is the point made, mathowie?
posted by NortonDC at 8:00 PM on January 11, 2002


Am I the only one who found most of the "troll" comments funny rather than inflammatory?
posted by swerve at 8:05 PM on January 11, 2002


f_&_m-

with all due respect, you may want to consider the following as reasons why people regard you suspiciously,

1.a lot of us here(myself included) have strong political opinions, but most of us take a break to post about our favorite song or movie or even a dumb pancake joke. But with you it seems to be politics and politics only. Perhaps you need to take a break and enjoy life.

2. I have had differnces of opinion with skallas, jpoulos, caroll anne, postroad and others here on MeFi, but I like their style, enjoy reading their posts and would be bummed if they were not on metafilter. With you, if someone disagrees with one factoid they automatically go on your enemies list. As I recall after our last disagreement, I wished you a happy new year. I got stony silence in return.

3. We know absolutely zero about you beyond the fact that you don't eat meat and that you once served in the military. No maybe you want to be judged on your statements alone and that's fine but you should realize it's a lot harder to hate someone we can visualize as human and not just a rhetoric machine.

By the way, have a good evening.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on January 11, 2002


Oh dear, this is really turning into a 'Mom! Mom! Stuart's swearing again!' Get over it.
posted by wackybrit at 8:12 PM on January 11, 2002


I didn't think he was a troll...just somebody who thinks he's a lot more amusing than he actually is. But once again, a person is accused of something in MetaTalk, and he wags the finger at everyone else, and cries censorship. That never ends well.
posted by Doug at 8:29 PM on January 11, 2002


I vote no troll. You're all being oversensitive.

(Just what I'd expect from a bunch of meat-eating, gun toting Americans... :)
posted by dlewis at 8:46 PM on January 11, 2002


Ignore him, I do.
posted by UncleFes at 8:48 PM on January 11, 2002


Picturing Fes as Yoda.
posted by Optamystic at 8:53 PM on January 11, 2002


I can't believe this isn't a joke. No one's that thick.
posted by geoff. at 8:54 PM on January 11, 2002


Oh, great Troller are you? Trolls not make one great...
posted by UncleFes at 8:55 PM on January 11, 2002


What?

fold_and-mutilate is a serious poster. He's uncheerful and confrontational - but how could he not be? He's often in a minority of one in the threads he posts to. He's probably short-tempered. So what?

I for one appreciate his directness and honesty, his courage and the fact that he clearly knows what he's talking about. His opinions may be "extreme" but they're all coherent and they're on the side of life.

If anyone's trolling anybody I'd say it was us(some of us)trolling him.

But, IMO, no one is. Except for now, maybe.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:08 AM on January 12, 2002


f&m, you are absolutely right. Inflammation is a terrible thing, especially when it applies to an asshole.

Perhaps we should rename you "hemorrhoid".
posted by David Dark at 5:03 AM on January 12, 2002


I'm surprised this thread is still here. damn you, fold_and_mutilate, for feeling strongly about something. there should be a rule here about trying to change people's minds because lords knows we mefi-folks would rather cling to what we know and debunk anyone that challenges us.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:44 AM on January 12, 2002


He's a witch.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:06 AM on January 12, 2002


his courage
Yeah, it takes a lot of courage to post without an email/web address or any kind of profile information at all.
posted by darukaru at 10:07 AM on January 12, 2002


mcsweetie - Even after wading through the dismissive sarcasm masquarading as a point in your post, I'm left wondering how fold_and_mutilate's posts qualify as something that tries to change people's minds. That he has no intention or chance of changing people's minds with his continually unsupported and inflammatory posts is my objection.
posted by NortonDC at 10:09 AM on January 12, 2002


how can you know what his intentions are? and besides, if someone is just speaking their mind and not trying to change anyone else's, does that make them no longer worthy of posting here?
posted by mcsweetie at 12:13 PM on January 12, 2002


Yeah, it takes a lot of courage to post without an email/web address or any kind of profile information at all.

how is this relevant?
posted by mcsweetie at 12:16 PM on January 12, 2002


if someone is just speaking their mind and not trying to change anyone else's, does that make them no longer worthy of posting here?

There's a conciderable difference between speaking your mind (regardless of how disagreeable your opinion is) and using sarcasm to belittle any who hold views that don't agree with you. That is what fold_and_mutilate's recent posts have been doing. Might I point out that (s)he used the phrase "most of you idiots". Maybe you concider that speaking one's mind, but I concider that a general insult thrown at any who don't agree with f&m. What makes this trolling is the consisitency with which its being done, often with the same agenda's in the background, and the same sarcastic and unsupported calls for irrational and immoral behavior on the part of any who don't see eye to eye with his/her view.

posted by Wulfgar! at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2002


mcsweetie - how can you know what his intentions are?

It's a judgement call, an informed one. It's informed by observing his history of speaking up only when he has something controversial to say, and always delivering those sentiments in taunting, inflammatory posts. That part of his history is a clear indicator that one of his priorities in posting is shit-stirring.

The fact that he consistently fails to include support in his initial statements and fails to fill that void with reasoning in subsequent posts indicates that shit-stirring is his primary priority.

if someone is just speaking their mind and not trying to change anyone else's, does that make them no longer worthy of posting here?

That's what we call speaking to hear yourself talk. Alone, it's not that big a deal. When someone is speaking for the purpose of inflicting own taunting, abusive and inflammatory remarks on the whole community, then it becomes a big deal.
posted by NortonDC at 12:49 PM on January 12, 2002


Anyone can talk shit behind a smokescreen of anonymity, mcsweetie. That's how it's relevant.
posted by darukaru at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2002


The fact that he consistently fails to include support in his initial statements and fails to fill that void with reasoning in subsequent posts indicates that shit-stirring is his primary priority.

maybe he just doesn't care? maybe he has better things to do? not everyone takes this place as seriously as you. but if anyone is guilty of shit-stirring here, look to who started this therad. a few of his comments rub you the wrong way, so you start a thread on metatalk? why not just send a snide little e-mail and spare the rest of us?

but in a more general sense, should the point of people's comments be to change everyone's mind? if that were the case, every fpp would be a battle.

Anyone can talk shit behind a smokescreen of anonymity, mcsweetie. That's how it's relevant.

...and anyone can talk shit in front of a smokescreen, too. I still don't see your point. f&m's profle has nothing to do with his comments and is therefore irrelevant, unless you were planning on checking it for things to complain out.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:15 PM on January 12, 2002


mcsweetie, are you being obstinate to prove a point or are you just oblivious?
Entering profile information shows that you give a damn about the community, that you care enough to be more than just another anonymous voice passing through. Furthermore it shows that you care about the opinions of others, and provide a method of of back-channel information so we don't have to create MeTa threads or fight it out in MeFi.
Anyway, I'll be sure to bring up your points the next time an anonymous troll comes along who's spouting contemptuous extreme-right-wing propaganda. Because what's valid for one troll is valid for all, right? Or could it be that you only defend people you agree with?
posted by darukaru at 4:09 PM on January 12, 2002


We got us a few amateur psychologists here, Bob.
posted by kv at 4:32 PM on January 12, 2002


mcsweetie, are you being obstinate to prove a point or are you just oblivious?

oh how the tables have turned! I don't see things from your perspective, therefore I must be obstinate and oblivious. hmmm!

Entering profile information shows that you give a damn about the community, that you care enough to be more than just another anonymous voice passing through. Furthermore it shows that you care about the opinions of others, and provide a method of of back-channel information so we don't have to create MeTa threads or fight it out in MeFi.

I had no idea you had such an idyllic view on profiles. on that note, is mine ok?

Or could it be that you only defend people you agree with?

the world may never know for sure.

posted by mcsweetie at 4:45 PM on January 12, 2002


mcsweetie - why not just send a snide little e-mail and spare the rest of us?

Well that's pretty obvious and awfully obtuse on your part. fold_and_mutilate didn't provide an email address to work with. Hence, darukaru's point ...

posted by Wulfgar! at 5:03 PM on January 12, 2002


why not just send a snide little e-mail and spare the rest of us?

now come on, mcsweetie, you're smarter than that. Why didn't NortonDC send him a snide little e-mail?

I'll give you three guesses, but the first two don't count.

Hint: The answer is in this thread, repeatedly.

posted by David Dark at 5:05 PM on January 12, 2002


damn it, Wulfgar! How's he ever going to learn if you keep handing him the answers?
posted by David Dark at 5:06 PM on January 12, 2002


yes, I am smarter than that. it was an in-joke for mister NortonDC.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:09 PM on January 12, 2002


Yes, mcsweetie, your profile is fine. It has an email address.
posted by darukaru at 5:16 PM on January 12, 2002


Only Matt has the authority here to stipulate that email addresses are supplied. If you want to bitch about it, get him to change the rules first. I'm not getting embroiled in the rest of the discussion: just marking a point of order.
posted by walrus at 4:57 AM on January 13, 2002


Folks, I think this is pretty silly, but I'll put aside my better judgment today (the sky is bleak and I hear children crying) and descend into this a bit. Frankly, I don't usually have time for this sort of nonsense, but some of the bullshit I see above echoes issues of larger import in the world today.

If you don't like what I post, that's fine. I encourage your liberal use of the followup post button and/or Metatalk. I really don't care if you like the posts are not, but I say that gently and without malice. I believe that those who disagree with me are no doubt beautiful creatures who have just had different experiences, regardless of how utterly dumb I personally think they may be (bear with me...I do sometimes slip out of the hard learning of sesshin and sea...wink)

I am always a bit disappointed (but not surprised) when someone attempts to suppress the viewpoints of others (ala "see what he's doing, Mr. web log adminstrator?!"). It is a commonplace and base tactic among certain people in this world.

On this email thing. Frankly, I didn't think much information was required here, nor did I see the need to post an email address, since I'm not really interested in email from folks here. I've rarely (if ever) checked anyone's profile, because it is completely unimportant (echo: what relevance does it have to someone's ideas?). I've never felt in any way the need to email anyone here...nor have I felt the need to judge their ideas by where they may live, or by their employer, or by their sex, or by the ethnicity of their name, or by the color of their skin. I feel contempt for those who do, and I feel sorry for those who are frightened enough to need to attack the messenger instead of the message. But again, this also is a commonplace and base tactic among certain people in this world.

Now, our semi-anonymous friends "David Dark" (whose cogent contribution to this thread was to label your humble poster "asshole") and "darukaru" seem pretty exercised on this issue, so I must anticipate that they are tediously going through everyone's profiles to see which lack email addresses, so that we email-less cowards can be banned or have our viewpoints completely discredited.

I assume we can anticipate a complete list soon. Or are some singled out because of their viewpoints? Now why should that be?

Friends, I guess I must really plead cowardice, because I'd really rather not have you emailing me. Makes my inbox a frightful mess, and frankly I doubt we'd have much in common. And really, don't you think that since some of you are judging people on whether they are "cowards" (or "trolls" or "terrorists") -- instead of judging ideas -- that communicating through an email account (or God forbid, a hotmail account!) is pretty damned cowardly in itself?

So let's do this. You can phone or visit me anytime and we can chat or otherwise confront each other in person about any issues you'd like:

E. K. Flower
(916) 630-7484
5240 Rocklin Road, Suite #203
Rocklin, CA 95677

Anytime.

Did anyone need my social security number, or my drivers license number, or my (voluminous) arrest record?

Now, (laugh) do let me know whose testicles are actually bigger (should it matter?) -- but more importantly -- why someone speaking truth and expressing new ideas should be so frightening to some of you, will ya?

Look inside. I think you'll find the answers there. Change is possible.

Thanks, that's all I have to say at this point. I'll keep on posting here at MeFi, saying what I want to say, until if and when I'm stripped of an account. But I'll keep posting elsewhere in the world (so to speak) anyway, so it doesn't matter at all one way or the other.

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 5:28 PM on January 13, 2002


Wow, that took a lot of words to say (again) "I'll do anything I want to do and there's nothing anyone can do to stop me."
posted by darukaru at 6:57 PM on January 13, 2002


Thanks, fold_and_mutilate. I've often felt that the way you put your ideas into words makes it quite difficult for me to evaluate them, so I tended to dismiss your comments as unintelligible. That last post makes me much more willing to make the effort. Although I have this niggling doubt whether that is actually what you want. Do you want people to think about your ideas, and (maybe even) change because of those thoughts? I'm just wondering. You seem resigned to lobbing little packages of highly compressed concepts into a discussion, but very rarely engage in conversation.
posted by disso at 4:27 AM on January 14, 2002


"I'll do anything I want to do and there's nothing anyone can do to stop me."

Well, he did make the implication that he'd go away if is account was stripped from him.

I assume we can anticipate a complete list soon. Or are some singled out because of their viewpoints? Now why should that be?

If I find someone's post particularly good or bad, I will typically check the profile for some background -- many others on MeFi do the same. When an individual member feels that someone has stepped or is stepping out of line, it is common practice to e-mail them rather than "take it to MeTa" and risk involving the entire community, which does have a tendency to jump on people.

People are almost never singled out for their viewpoints unless they are patently ridiculous or horrifying, and yours are neither -- do not think that they are. People, including you, are singled out for the manner in which their opinions are expressed. Not providing evidence and concise arguments doesn't make you "edgy," it makes you irritating. Read the Phaedrus.
posted by j.edwards at 9:43 AM on January 14, 2002


I think it's not wanting to be part of the crowd, mince words or compromise his values that make fold_and-mutilate's contributions valuable.

In twenty years' time my guess is he'll be pc and we'll be ones being ganged up on for not fitting in.

In the meantime, why not just read what the guy has to say? He is a cranky, ill-mannered bastard, but he's coherent, he sticks up for living things and abhors suffering of any kind. So he doesn't have the PR skills of the Dalai Lama - why should he?

On the other hand, there is something fake about his "I don't care" attitude, since he obviously does. Otherwise why bother to even address us? My suspicion is that he thinks of us all as killers and pain-inflicters and hopes that if he puts one of us off our steak or raises one single doubt in someone's mind about capitalism, then his efforts here will have been justified.

A lot of us are pain-inflicters, of course, from a point of view which seeks to prevent human beings from profiting from the pain, suffering and death of other creatures. Not to stir up that can of worms again.(*Peace, rushmc!*) Though I suspect even worms are probably not stirrable, from where he's standing.

I dug up one of his first comments, from last August, and if you add this to his statement here that "change does happen", it explains, IMO, why it's so unfair to judge him by his indifference to our comfort; much less consider him a "troll" or a "coward". (The "asshole" accusation, though, I'd say was pending):

In response to NortonDC et al, my opinion is this: there is *no* difference in killing a kitten versus throwing a lobster into boiling water or (ouch!) an anchovy onto a pizza...or a cow into a meat grinder.

Why kill animals? It is not necessary for our own well being, and it causes suffering.

(posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:16 PM PST on August 23)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:18 PM on January 14, 2002


So he doesn't have the PR skills of the Dalai Lama - why should he?

Please note I use 'he' in the sense of 'they.'
This sounds a lot like the "noble savage" argument, Miguel. He brings interesting points to bear, for sure, the issue I take with him is that his points are consistently the same, consistently expressed in a manner which if not designed to enrage is certainly adept at it, and he doesn't seem to care -- when he is, so to speak, "called out" for it, he again doesn't seem to care that he doesn't provide sources or logical backups to his arguments.

This is Metafilter, and civilized debate is not conducted by forming an opinion based solely on your own gut feelings and then accusing people of violating you principles. Based on past posts, I maintain serious doubt that the person in question has any priciples other than internal conviction.
Metafilter has never struck me as a place where dialogue based on points of absolute truth is welcomed, and it shouldn't be -- it is the source of closed minds and it is the closest one can go to trolling without being encompassed by the definition.

His points are refutable, and unless he intends to come up with counter-arguments that refrain from ad homonin-style attacks, he can take it to beliefnet.
posted by j.edwards at 2:09 PM on January 14, 2002


Miguel, well posted. However, I confess that I spent a goodly amount of time going over every post that f&m has made in this forum. And my conclusion hasn't changed. I never noticed the bitterness inherent in those posts until just this last week, and then they take on a very "all of you idiots" tenor to them. Somebody is changing alright, but I'm not convinced that its the majority of "us". That might show several things, but the most the most likely is that f&m is frustrated with the lack of response his posts are getting, an obvious sign of trolling. As someone logically opposed to many of his stances, I would happily debate his views. But this isn't about the view, its about (exactly) causing a stir, and nothing else. He has raised doubts in my mind about issues. So what? The one idea that hasn't waivered is that the person (not the ideas) needs attention, and little else.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:10 PM on January 14, 2002


Now, our semi-anonymous friends "David Dark" (whose cogent contribution to this thread was to label your humble poster "asshole") and "darukaru" seem pretty exercised on this issue, so I must anticipate that they are tediously going through everyone's profiles to see which lack email addresses....

How do you know I'm semi-anonymous if you never check profiles?

My contribution to this thread is minimal because I am quite content with responding to you in the threads themselves, and I make no bones about my opinion of you. I didn't feel the need to rehash any of it here, but since you make it an issue, perhaps you'll find this more cogent: I think you're a fucking idiot, I think you're a fucking moron, I drop loads on you. If you have a problem with this, I think it says more about you as the reader than anything else.

I do not label. I do not have the power to label. I only express my opinions. To me, you are very much like a hemorrhoid: small, inconsequential, and annoying, but nothing to write home about. If you have a problem with this, I think it says more about you as the reader than anything else.

I don't know why you accuse me of tediously going through everyone's profiles, since I have never uttered a single word about your lack of info and frankly don't give a shit if you're a coward or not (more info in your profile wouldn't make your posts any more intelligent). I have no desire to email you, I don't care what your fucking name is or where you live and I despise talking on the telephone. I do find your about-face humorous, though. "My ideas are valid without any of my personal information. Here's my name, address, and telephone number. But an email address is sacred, and I will not betray its secrecy!" The only thing worse than a hypocrite is a guy who's too stupid to realize he's a hypocrite.

And I don't buy your "people are attacking the messenger and not the message" crap, either. When you post shit like this, you are not a messenger. You are not delivering someone else's ideas for them, you are expressing your own. The message and the messenger are one and the same. You are your ideas. Your ideas are you.

p.s. You're the only one using the word "terrorist". It's a feeble ploy, and you give yourself too much credit.


posted by David Dark at 3:43 PM on January 14, 2002


You guys give him too much credit. He's a simple, if fairly sophisticated, troll. He doesn't have ideas, he throws shit ballons and hopes someone is gullible enough to step in the splats. Ignore him, and eventually he'll find another bridge from under which to harass passersby.

Tempest in a teapot, people. Move along, there's really nothing to see here.
posted by UncleFes at 9:06 PM on January 14, 2002


UncleFes, I agree. I'm just concerned that Miguel may get sucked under the crossing. I like the guy, and I would hate to see him him get suckered in by a wrinkeled, slime drenched, under-bridge dwelling snark monster.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:54 PM on January 14, 2002


Go f and m, go. You do have ideas and I read all your posts three times. And, D.D. your behavior on this thread makes you look like a fool. I'd rather be an asshole, personally.
posted by n9 at 4:44 PM on February 20, 2002


Perhaps in the light of this wonderful post some people could take back a little of the vitriol flying around here.

Or was it too political? Too extreme? Too good a point to stomach?
posted by Gaz at 8:39 PM on February 22, 2002


well, n-niner, i'm not sure what you're talking about. In fact, the only fitting response I can offer you is 1) your new hero foldy would tell you that your feelings about my words say more about you than they do about me, 2) since you're his cheerleader, I must assume you agree with that notion. Therefore I really don't know why you even bothered to bring it up in the first place, since you really should be self-reflecting and asking yourself what is wrong with you that leads you to dislike my comments. But I am curious, so when you figure it out, please tell me... what was it that got to you? Was it the hemorrhoid joke, the overuse of the word fucking, the overall tone, or the cum shot? (that last one, btw, was in response to foldy's observation that most of us idiots would positively orgasm if we found a website devoted to pulling the wings off flies. So I found one, and I'll be damned if he wasn't right on! Would you believe I still can't look at a fly to this day without getting aroused?)

Gaz. Is it my vitriol you reference? Because I'm not taking back any of it. Listen, just between you and me, I thought it was a pretty good link. But, it quickly became obvious with comment#1 inside the thread that the sole purpose of providing us with this information was so he could then compare Naziism to the USA (which isn't even a good point, any way you slice it, I'm sorry, executing people for graffiti is NOT parallel to two years in prison for vandalism to goverment property). Too political? Nope. Too extreme? Not at all. Too good a point to stomach? Not even close! It's just more of the same, a troll posing as an interesting link. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf, after all. So +1 for a decent link, -1 for the follow-up comment, and -1 again for not coming back and answering a valid question about the post, or any of the valid questions that followed later in the thread. Which isn't surprising, to say the least, foldy never dignifies anyone's responses with further comment. Why would he? He accomplishes what he wants to accomplish right away, and further discussion would only take away from the trolling.

posted by David Dark at 1:51 AM on February 25, 2002


DD -- oh you are so right! It does say more about me than you, my post very clearly indicates that *I* hold you in personal contempt because of your writing on this thread and *I* very clearly do not agree with you. Very astute of you to notice.

To elaborate, *I* think that you fail to see that some people do not so clearly differentiate between the death of an animal and the death of a human as you do and that was the point that f_and_m was making. After all, the question of how many billion deaths of creature A is equivalent to the death of 1 creature B is an interesting one and is certainly admissible as a debatable topic to anyone curious about bioethics, which f_and_m being vege (s)he certainly is.

*I* also feel that *I* correctly observe you acting as if you have some righteous duty to speak for the Truth against f_and_m. *I* can (with no ontological reference to my self and with absolute certainty) assert that the truth is NOT yours alone and anyone seeking truth must endure the opinions of those with contrary beliefs, which should be plainly obvious. Dissent == GOOD. As for why I'm bothered by you enough to complain: You want people to shut up about what they believe.

And to counter your last point, I think that it is a good idea to check to make sure that there are not too many valid comparisons between Nazi Germany and the USA. We are the world power. Like it or not we subject the citizens of many other nations to our policies with no representation from these people. This is a dangerously imperialistic semi fascist position for our government to find itself in. On top of that there are valid complaints from watchdog groups that we are in fact doing wrong and this wrongdoing is under-reported inside our borders. Democracy as we know it is not a given, it must be maintained.
posted by n9 at 3:45 PM on February 26, 2002


David Dark: Obviously you're right that f_and_m usually makes single comments and doesn't defend them. And it's also true that trolls do the same thing. But there's also something called being pithy. If the point is adequately made in a single comment then you don't need to descend into a flame war to defend it. And the nature of f_and_m's comments is that they are generally outside the terms of the debate, suggesting that they be changed.

Suppose that some people are having an argument about what American foreign policy should be, and they all assume that it should be essentially self-interested. If you come along and make a sarcastic comment pointing out the self-centredness involved (this is the kind of thing that f_and_m would do), are you obliged to reply when people say, "No, I think that foreign policy should be self-interested because..."? I don't think so, because what you are trying to do is to suggest to the participants that they refocus their discussion, so you aren't committed to taking a full part in the discussion yourself. Even if the people who reply to you aren't convinced, probably some of the participants will have taken your point and will think slightly differently. That is the effect that f_and_m is trying to achieve (imho) and I think that many people here do see things differently after reading one of his/her comments. Is this kind of behaviour destructive and trollish? No, because if a thread is debated on the wrong terms, then you're doing people a service by pointing this out, and saving the thread not destroying it.

As for the post that f_and_m made, you say that it's a troll posing as an interesting link. What f_and_m could have done was to combine the first comment with the FPP, but I think that the way it was done meant that those who browse the front page just looking for links would have got the excellent link without the politics. And those who looked inside got a much more interesting discussion than they would have had on a "weren't the Nazis horrible" thread. It wasn't a flame war, and it was a comparison that many people found interesting, even if you thought it was unfair.

And about the vitriol thing, I don't want to get into a whole "who started it?" argument, but it does seem that most of your contempt for f_and_m stems from your political disagreement. I bet that if you shared his/her politics you wouldn't be so nasty, even if the style was the same. For all your righteous indignation about trolling, you don't seem to get that it's possible to disagree about politics in a civilized way. Sorry for calling you insincere without any real evidence, but you don't seem to have any qualms about treating f_and_m the same way. Why can't we all just get along? ;-)
posted by Gaz at 5:42 PM on February 26, 2002


I like your style, Gaz -- I am going to try to keep your approach in mind from now on. You said what I wish I could be levelheaded fair and civilized enough to say. Bravo.
posted by n9 at 12:12 PM on February 27, 2002


n9, what you assume about me is unfair and untrue. I am not acting as if I have some righteous duty to speak out against foldy.

Consider: foldy has commented 155 times. I have responded to him probably 6 times (I'm not going to bother counting). Please note that this leaves approximately 149 of his comments that have gone without retorts by yours truly. I would hardly consider myself on a crusade of Truth against foldy, and I think you're being a little overzealous in your accusations. All I do is respond to his comments when he pisses me off, knowing full well of course that he won't engage in any type of dialogue, but last I checked it was still okay to reply to the ideas of others. When I respond, I respond with honest contempt (much like yours for me). I do not like foldy. I didn't know that I was required to like foldy or, for the sake of politeness, to pretend that I like foldy.

Of course I agree that "Dissent == GOOD" and I defy you to quote me stating otherwise. On the same note, where the hell do you get off claiming that I want people to shut up about what they believe? That's a ridiculous accusation. I've never said anything that even resembles that comment. In fact, to the contrary, I want people to shout their beliefs at the top of their lungs, and when they do, I want them to be Crystal Fucking Clear about what they're saying. Then I want them to stand there as their words are twisted by others to make a trap for fools and reply when their ideas are challenged. I also want them to clarify their opinions when others take legitimate interest in what they've said but are unclear about certain specifics. The least one can do is answer questions about one's opinions, for no one else can provide those answers.

We can debate how many billion deaths of creature A is equivalent to the death of 1 creature B until the cows come home, but it's a little hard to take a guy seriously when he talks of peace, love and harmony out of one side of his mouth while out of the other side he spews filth such as 1) my doggy is superior to most humans 2) we should eat babies instead of pork 3) flying airplanes into crowded skyscrapers is better than eating a hamburger. If that's not trolling, I don't know what is.

As far as comparing Nazi Germany to the USA, if you and foldy want to do that, go right ahead. But don't expect me to go on a hunt to check and make sure that there are not too many valid comparisons between them. You're trying to make a point, you go hunt for comparisons and then display them to the rest of us. But if all you've got is a German execution for free speech vs. two years jailtime for vandalism in the USA, you can save it, because you're wasting my time. Nazi Germany was the most atrocious world power in recent history, intent on genocide and stifling any and all dissent. If there were any truth to foldy's claim, he'd already be dead for saying it. Are we on the same page now?

Gaz. If the point was adequately made in the first comment, then no one would ask for clarification. You don't necessarily have to descend into a flame war to make your comments clearer. It happens all the time here. "Oh, I'm sorry, that's not what I meant, let me elaborate..." Is this too much to ask? I think you're giving foldy way too much credit. As j.edwards said above, "Not providing evidence and concise arguments doesn't make you "edgy," it makes you irritating." Amen.

This role that you seem to think foldy's playing, as someone outside the terms of the debate suggesting that they be changed, is arrogant and self-righteous. You're saying he doesn't need to get involved in the discussion because he's so enlightened that he only needs to tell the rest of us that we should be discussing A instead of B? Well, sorry, but the comment that started this discussion didn't do that. A lot of the comments linked to above didn't do that, either. They were trolls, destructive and useless to the threads. "You're implying the 165 lb. guy deserved to die for what he did. This is America, after all." Nobody in that thread anywhere even hinted that the guy "deserved to die." And then, of course, we have to get in our usual dig on How Much America Sucks.

So I repeat: Fucking Moron.
posted by David Dark at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2002


David Dark: If you insist on rehashing the ancient history of these threads, then fine. To say that a killing was in self-defence (which is certainly the implication of "the other guy started it") is indeed to say that it was justified. There are a lot of people in America (and some in Britain too), who seem to think that there is an unlimited right of self-defence, and this tendency is typified by the NRA. If a guy is attacked, and then comes back to beat his attacker to death, then why didn't he just use a gun, what's the difference? The only justification would be belief in an unlimited right of self-defence. That was all pretty clear from f_and_m's post, and it seemed significantly less offensive than Steven Den Beste's post to which it was a response (now that was a troll).

What about the other examples? There was the thread where f_and _m asked why people enjoyed watching mice being killed so much, and compared it to killing babies for amusement. Was (s)he not entitled to register outrage at an incredibly callous thread? Have you not read A Modest Proposal? And if it needs any pointing out, this is a perfect example of trying to change the terms of the debate. But surely this doesn't need to be pointed out to you, since you tried to make the same point yourself.

Or the thread where f_and_m asks what the difference is between eating animals and people with severe mental disabilities. Now that's even more obviously a rhetorical point, and one that has been made by no less a philosopher than Peter Singer. I don't get how making valid philosophical points (which I happen to disagree with myself, by the way) counts as trolling.
posted by Gaz at 3:42 PM on March 1, 2002


We should probably take this to email, but what the hell, at least we're off the Nazi topic.

I noticed that you left out the thread where foldy says 9-11 was more justified than eating a hamburger. Understandable, that's the toughest of the bunch. But we'll focus on the ones you chose, just to play nice, since I assume you chose the best ones for your case.

The Hockey Dad thread. The thread link doesn't work any longer, but I remember reading in various news sources that Contis was the instigator of the confrontation. SDB simply stated a fact as reported by the media covering the trial, one that had not yet been brought up in the thread but bears significance on the decision and hence the discussion. A fact never implies anything, it's simply what it is. I can't understand how that can be considered a troll, but that's really neither here nor there. The point is that a jury was presented with all of the evidence and issued a guilty verdict for involuntary manslaughter, which means that they were convinced that Contis's death was an accident. You can't ask what's the difference between "accidentally killing a guy during a fistfight" and "pulling out a gun and shooting a guy" without expecting to get called a moron at least once. Once you understand that, there's really no reason to bring up the NRA, unless of course that's just your personal agenda.

The Mouseageddon thread. I'm going to quote mathowie in an email I was sent for calling TiggleTaggleTiger an idiot:
Calling others idiots doesn't add much to the conversation of the site and quickly derails discussions as people start talking past each other instead of exchanging ideas in a civil fashion. If you promise to make an effort at not behaving in this way, I'll turn your posting rights back on.
foldy called everyone in the thread an idiot, something Matt obviously considers a bannable offense and therefore a troll, or at the very least, something that "quickly derails discussions," much like a troll. And yet foldy gets a pass. Interesting. As far as comparing a common solution for a common rodent problem to killing human babies, I suppose that it wouldn't be trolling if this wasn't a website for humans, but since it is, I think it's safe to assume that talking about killing human offspring is going to derail a thread in a hurry. About my comment, my comment was sarcastic but I guess I'm learning that sarcasm isn't a very good approach here. I was actually making fun of comparing wild rodents to domesticated pets, but that's easy for me to do because I live in a world where animals aren't on the same level as human beings. Philosophers since the dawning of the age of reason have been making this point, pick one and read it if you want to. I also realize that living creatures die, kill, and eat each other every second of every day and I don't get all torn up about the dead insects on my windowsill, while I can't imagine anything sadder than the death of a child. But that's just me. Two of my close friends each lost a child last year, so perhaps I'm jaded.

The Dr Dogmeat thread. This is basically the same as the other one, isn't it? He starts off by insulting everyone, then moves on to killing human babies. But instead of just killing human babies, now we're eating them, too. Besides the cannibalistic aspect this leap provides, it's pretty much the same deal. And just because someone else, even someone with as many academic distinctions as Mr. Singer possesses, has touched on the same idea doesn't mean that the way you present that idea isn't important. Mr. Singer's essay does not start off with the words, "Given that my border collie is far superior to a certain subset of humans and given that cows/sheep/chickens are superior to yet another subset of humans..."

I'll tell you what I think. One man's troll is another man's valid idea. In these examples, you choose to tune out the insults and focus on the points (vague and lazily written as they are), while I read the inflammatory insults and no longer care whether he's got a point at all.
posted by David Dark at 4:05 AM on March 2, 2002


One man's troll is another man's valid idea.

That seems a good place to stop arguing. I can see both sides too, and so should we all. Thanks for your time.
posted by Gaz at 4:39 PM on March 4, 2002


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