Gratuitous personal insults May 1, 2004 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Gratuitious personal insults do not burnish the shine on a class act - From this recent metafilter discussion : "....do you not get annoyed by off-topic barrages and rows upon rows of text cut-and-pasted directly from the link itself without a fucking grain of comment on the content? I don't mind quoting a link if it adds to a comment; but quoting an entire article that you've alreadly linked to without including a single original thought is why I started calling him a bobblehead. He doesn't even understand the quip. I realize that his brain is likely mush after years and years of drug abuse"
posted by troutfishing to Etiquette/Policy at 8:35 PM (133 comments total)

What the fuck EVER.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:22 AM on May 2, 2004


Very little a lot of us could add to this, since I'm sure DD will look at anything one of the "lefties" says about his typical assholery is just a sign of how we "can't handle" his brilliant insights garnered from FreeRepublic.

Such is life; I'm pretty sure we just have to accept we have a new ParisParamus in our little family.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:37 AM on May 2, 2004


he's a nasty piece of work, and he couldn't hold a conversation if it was crazy-glued to him.
posted by amberglow at 7:18 AM on May 2, 2004


i dry humped his pony.
posted by quonsar at 7:22 AM on May 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


This is one of the pettiest call-outs ever.
posted by mischief at 7:41 AM on May 2, 2004


.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:45 AM on May 2, 2004


classy. but you know, it's all the shrill, intolerant left's fault. or the media's.
posted by matteo at 7:58 AM on May 2, 2004


I'd honestly like to know what's worse: losing your temper and making distasteful comments or instigating people with childish antics and "below the radar" personal jabs?

I can't say that either is conducive for civility, and yet, this community only seems to notice (call out) the former. Take hama7's recent tax post. I could be wrong here, but hama7 seemed tolerant of views that disagreed with his. The same cannot be said for many of the thread's participants, who used subtle language to take personal swipes at him.

If you want to know why some members of this community explode and lash out, you may want to look in the communal mirror. I'll agree that some are simply short-tempered, but despite public opinion here, I would guess that many outspoken members here are only tolerant if you happen to agree with them.

It reminds me of US foreign policy immediately after 9/11. Many members here claimed that because of our indirect involvement with the region, hostility finally grew into a large scale attack. They said that we didn't "deserve" it, but that it should come as no surprise that these people would be so upset with us. I feel that same way about politics on MeFi. If you spend much of your attention taking small swipes at members here, without regard for their feelings (since we are just text on a screen), how can you feign outrage when you pretty much "knew it was coming"?
posted by BlueTrain at 8:48 AM on May 2, 2004


Remember everyone -- when the clinically insane, foaming-at-the-mouth "righties" make etiquette posts, they are just your average retarded child, while the same from the other side is responsible self-policing.

P.S. If the last two etiquette posts are worthy of MeTa, then we might as well dump every other comment from the Blue here.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2004


Well, I'll just add that DD is being a fuckwit.

But this call-out pretty much stands on its own.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:25 AM on May 2, 2004


BlueTrain, what about people who practice both distasteful comments and also below the radar personal jabs?

Some do both, and people of all ideological persuasions play these games.

"Take hama7's recent tax post. I could be wrong here, but hama7 seemed tolerant of views that disagreed with his." - well, that's probably true. That said, hama7 sometimes makes jabs too. I imagine I've done the same more than once. This also depends on what one's interpretation of a jab is.

"this community only seems to notice (call out) the former." - It wasn't personal jab at all, but I got hauled into Metatalk last winter for surrealistic imagery. Some asserted that it was an antic or a provocation.

I think that some of the people who get needled are the ones who are the most obvious trolls, those who to try disrupt earnest conversations by flinging extremist rhetoric which has little apparent connection to the discussion at hand. Those who do this constantly acquire a reputation - understandably. But if they stopped and tried to actually participate in discussions, I think the needling directed their way would quickly die down.

For serious intolerance (and even calls for genocide), visit FreeRepublic. All things considered, I think Metafilter is quite tolerant of dissent.

mischief - Actually, I wasn't personally involved. I simply found the comment offensive.
posted by troutfishing at 9:36 AM on May 2, 2004


I'd honestly like to know what's worse: losing your temper and making distasteful comments or instigating people with childish antics and "below the radar" personal jabs?

Seeing how David Dark does both of those things, I'm not sure what side you're arguing here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:58 AM on May 2, 2004


Remember everyone -- when the clinically insane, foaming-at-the-mouth "righties" make etiquette posts, they are just your average retarded child, while the same from the other side is responsible self-policing.

This post is not about you. The thread you linked did not feature the word “retarded” either. I guess you are suggesting all children are "retarded" then. Furthermore, specialk420 is not posting in this thread. Perhaps you are simply lost.
posted by bargle at 11:26 AM on May 2, 2004


We're at war with David Dark. We've always been at war with David Dark.
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:30 PM on May 2, 2004


I think this is over the line, too, but, for my own instruction, if there are users with whom you feel you simply cannot have future productive interaction, do you simply ignore their comments and respond to others in the thread that interest you? And to some extent, should you feel any duty to warn others of their posting history, or just assume we're all adults and will figure things out?

I think maybe the latter is the answer, where I've been officiously adopting a duty to warn.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:02 PM on May 2, 2004


The linked trollery on this Metatalk post should not obscure the fact that the troll has a point: Widescale copy-and-paste jobs look bad on the site and take up real estate. This is a community whose purpose is to direct its members to outside websites that contain information which is then analyzed and discussed inside the blue.

Lots of blogging nowadays seem to be indented blocks of text from other websites - Josh Marshall, bless his heart, is particularly egregious at doing this - and it reflects a certain amount of laziness, not to mention ethical (if not legal) infringement on the work of the original author.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:25 PM on May 2, 2004


Odd that I would do so, but I'd like to step up and defend DD, just a little. He is more engaging than PP, more willing to take a challenge than f_and_m, not as caught inside his own hells as SpaceCadet, and certainly more logical than hama7 (who, if'n I remember correctly, actually defended the massacre at My Lai as appropriate military tactic). To that degree, he lends a certain necessary element to the MeFi soup.

The claim has been made over and again that MeFi is a leftist's playground. I tend to view it as more fair and balanced than most sources of information precisely because we have users like David Dark adding his two cents to political discourse. I don't care one whit if he goes off about another user who doesn't suit his fancy (imagine that, insulting somebody because they post too many links ... amazing). I believe, perhaps naively, that we as adults can make up our minds about a topic, just as we can make up our own minds about other users.

One thing that should be strongly noted is that DD, when he insults another, always relys on his own delusions and fantasies about that other person, and rarely about what they've said about anything. There are ideas that I find delusional and worthy of derision, and I will happily insult those who support them, precisely because they support those notions. DD makes up his own little fantasy caricatures of those who disagree, and his insults stem from there. So what's the harm, if the truth doesn't back the fiction? Hannity, Coulter, and Limbaugh have been doing it for years. It's a straw-man. Please don't give it some semblance of weight by calling for some sanction against his fantasy view.

All that having been said, I have established for myself that DD is a believer in authoritarian definitions, and hence control, of reality; in other words he's a fascist or at least a proto-fascist. I certainly don't regret calling him such, because his own words and behavior on this site have proven it to me. But that doesn't mean that I think that anything should be done about it, or about him. He adds the fascist viewpoint to any discussion in which he engages, and so we have one more element to ponder on a issue.

Slightly below this post we have someone being called out for stating something decidedly anti-American. He's not an American, so what is the beef? Here, we have someone being called out for being decidedly anti-community, which as a fascist he truly is, when at heart, his presence makes up a facet of what that community is. My opinion is that we should just let him roll, call him on his bullshit when needed, and keep the calls of policing out of MetaTalk until such time as he really does cross the line of anti-community; by slandering the site, or its owner, or doing something that negatively affects our participation here (like calling the freeper hoards to spam the server or some such). If he wants to take on y2karl, than so be it. Organize the defense of karl by letting such a thug know how wrong he really is, and precisely why.

Beyond that, mcsweetie had it right: do not respond to ParisParamus or David Dark. It will only cause you grief, and won't change their minds or ways at all.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2004


The linked trollery on this Metatalk post should not obscure the fact that the troll has a point: Widescale copy-and-paste jobs look bad on the site and take up real estate.

I stridently disagree. The asthetic argument fails precisely because it is asthetic. What you don't think pretty or helpful, another might. And the point of resource use is similarly assumptive in that no one can decide what takes up too much real estate (resource) save the owner of the property. To then go on and argue that y2karl's posts aren't in keeping with the spirit of the site because he posts lots of links and relevant subsets from them, is to claim that karl is among the best of commenters (the site is about links) but yet among the worst (for giving the relevant passages and taking up our resources). That makes no sense because it points to a false dichotomy: Links good, comments bad? Or comments bad if they refer to the links, which are good? This doesn't parse, at least not me.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2004


No one can decide what takes up too much real estate (resource) save the owner of the property.

Not true. This isn't merely a bandwith issue, but a useability issue. The only people who are going to read y2karl's long blocks of text in small font are those who would click on a link to the same text. So why reprint it on a site that's intended for links, analysis, and debate? It doesn't make sense. Metafilter (and the web itself) use hyperlinks to accomplish a more efficient, more user-friendly result.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:51 PM on May 2, 2004


Here, we have someone being called out for being decidedly anti-community, which as a fascist he truly is, when at heart, his presence makes up a facet of what that community is. My opinion is that we should just let him roll, call him on his bullshit when needed, and keep the calls of policing out of MetaTalk until such time as he really does cross the line of anti-community...
Beyond that, mcsweetie had it right: do not respond to ParisParamus or David Dark. It will only cause you grief, and won't change their minds or ways at all.


So, are we supposed to call him on his bullshit in the thread, here in MeTa, or not at all?

And i find it funny: You yourself call him anti-community. What does that mean to you? Why is that ok?
posted by amberglow at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2004


The only people who are going to read y2karl's long blocks of text in small font are those who would click on a link to the same text.

I'm not so convinced. Call it the executive summery, but I actually *like* getting a taste of what I'm supposed to read before I click link and find myself disappointed by the lack of value.


So why reprint it on a site that's intended for links, analysis, and debate? It doesn't make sense. Metafilter (and the web itself) use hyperlinks to accomplish a more efficient, more user-friendly result.

I'm not trying to be obtusively argumentative, but: read it on one site, or click around to several? Your idea of efficiency may not be the same as mine. And I must protest that user-friendly is a term that implies that the user gets more value from less effort or mystery. How can a comment which produces the goods, all up front like, not be considered user-friendly? I'm seriously wondering here.

The stated purpose of Mefi is to filter the web. How can filtering 10 pages of text down to the relevant paragraphs be considered antithematic to MetaFilter?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:16 PM on May 2, 2004


what's worse: losing your temper and making distasteful comments or instigating people with childish antics and "below the radar" personal jabs?

i find a combination of the two, administered generously, to be quite effective. CHOOCHOO!
posted by quonsar at 2:18 PM on May 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


I think we should repudiate his bullshit in the blue; and call him on his assholery here in the gray. Like everyone else.

What about this is so complicated, I wonder? DD and Stav both crossed the line (in different ways), they were called-out in MeTa. Working as designed. Being a fuckwit, regardless of ideology, is frowned upon by most. This ideological parsing of the offense, and the resulting contortionate attempts to prosecute or defend, leave me baffled.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:21 PM on May 2, 2004


So, are we supposed to call him on his bullshit in the thread,

I see absolutely no reason why not. If one professes a specious argument in a thread, then disagree in the thread.

here in MeTa,

Not so good. They may not see it, and it strikes me more that you're arguing against the person as opposed to their ridiculous ideas. Metatalk is a strange form of ad hominem attack, and I've done it before (I can't abide passive aggressive mewling). I just don't think its appropriate for pointing out that someone is full of shit. MeTa is much better at pointing out that someone has crossed the line from being full of shit to attacking the site itself. That is just my opinion, and it may not be shared by the majority here.

or not at all?

I did not, nor do I now, advocate that at all.

You yourself call him anti-community. What does that mean to you? Why is that ok?

In the general sense, being anti-community walks hand-in-hand with being an authoritarian (fascist or proto-fascist). The community does not have the will or intelligence to instruct (construct) the future actions of a group. But being a fascist in a community in which none, but one, has more authority than another, than all one does is profess a particular viewpoint. It's okay because that one has no means of enforcing their particular stance over any other. We can argue until the cows come home about whether Mr. David Dork is a fascist or not, but to argue that he damages MetaFilter gives him more power that he actually has ... though he might claim some superior ability. The truth is apparent: only one person here has control of the content, and it sure as hell isn't David Dark.

That DD has professed anti-community viewpoints is inconsequential. He can't back them up except through insult and intimidation (he tried that with me to which I chuckle, guffaw, and laugh quite out loud). The community at large benefits with his presence in it. That was the only point I was trying to make.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:42 PM on May 2, 2004


No, MeTa is appropriate for calling out inappropriate behavior—not just "attacks on the site itself"—because those sort of meta arguments are disruptive on the blue (they hijack the thread). But a self-policing community needs a forum in which to self-police. MeTa answers that need while keeping some of the feces throwing out of the blue. Isn't this what Matt intended? Regardless, I think it works relatively well.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:01 PM on May 2, 2004


The community at large benefits with his presence in it.
Why? because he's toothless? because we can all look at him and laugh? I don't get where we/the community benefit by his presence. We have other trolls, and we have other right-wing people. We have other insulting people too. What does DD bring to MeFi?
posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on May 2, 2004


amberglow, the righty portion of MeFi has asked kindly that the homolefties leave (okay, not so kindly at all). Are we any different if we ask the fascists to leave? I'm thinking not so much.

DD adds a critical, if angry and offensive, element to discussions. I mean no insult by this, but to think he's toothless is incorrect, and almost blind to the fact that he represents an opinion shared by many Americans ... and others around the world. It may not be a rational or reasonable stance he espouses, but it is a significant one. Let him comment. Pay attention if you wish, or don't if you don't.

Bringing him here to MeTa offers a certain credence to his stance. Should we be offended by his fascist offerings? In the Blue, its laughable. Here, it's gaining cred because we offer him cred to hurt us.

I have been enormously insulting to those I find worthy of my derision. Does that mean I have no significant belief to profess? I'd rather think not. Is DD trolling? I don't think so much. That would be PP's venue. David actually argues for his beliefs, and just because they don't share the mainstream of MeFi belief, doesn't mean that we should silence, or that we could, the questions he raises.

We can look at him and laugh, and to be honest, I think that's largely what MeFi's function is anymore. That is why I will defend y2karl, and matteo, and others like them. They aren't laughing; they are posting link after link in an attempt to educate and help us all understand where they are coming to their conclusions.

Simply put, we benefit from David's delusions to the degree that we can experience them. If Mefi were to shed all such commentors (DD, PP, hama7, 111) we would lose many more pieces of the grand puzzles that we look for in this and other online communities. And in David Dark, we at least have someone willing to argue the points (albeit poorly) where the others will not.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:57 PM on May 2, 2004


For whatever it's worth, I never bother to read long quoted excerpts cut-and-pasted from external links. That's why we have external links, rather than one big flat internet page and an unending scroll bar.

DD adds a critical, if angry and offensive, element to discussions.

Angry and offensive comments are almost never valuable, and should always be discouraged or ignored.
posted by gd779 at 4:04 PM on May 2, 2004


Angry and offensive comments are almost never valuable, and should always be discouraged or ignored.

Ignored? How would you know if you didn't read them? They have value precisely because you can choose to ignore them ... right or left. It isn't about the comment, nor should it be. It's about the discussion as a whole. There is the value, my friend.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:15 PM on May 2, 2004


Just so no one can claim the wrong idea, I've just emailed David Dark about this discussion, (assuming that his email is accurate).

Implosion in 5...4...3...
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:21 PM on May 2, 2004


hama7 (who, if'n I remember correctly, actually defended the massacre at My Lai as appropriate military tactic).

I did not. I condemned the incident, the actions of the U.S. military were just, the gulity were prosecuted, and my exact words were that it was "inexpressibly tragic", but it was the Viet Cong who deliberately used civilians to their ultimately far more bloodthirsty ends. Nice try.

Widescale copy-and-paste jobs look bad on the site and take up real estate.

I have made similar complaints because I prefer discussion and links to solid walls of protracted blockquoted type, which seems designed to stifle and drown out discussion.

I have never defended deliberate personal attacks on other MetaFilter members, and have stated as much several times in the past. We can strongly disagree, and we can agree to disagree about ideas, but we should avoid insults and personal attacks, because we don't really know each other.
Also, and this is not really germane to the topic, but y2karl and yours truly have had our duels in the past, and we disagree vehemently and have argued on almost every issue, but I thoroughly like him as a person. It's just a website after all, and we don't necessarily have to agree.

I appreciate David Dark's comments, and I think he is damn near batting a thousand when he does comment, sometimes I just couldn't agree more, and his is an opinion which is far too rare on MetaFilter because of the hectoring and attacks from the obvious majority political orientation, (discussed ad infinitum) which discourage similar voices, but I think he makes points beautifully without having to resort to the kind of discourse outlined above.

I guess I'd be more convinced if these callouts occurred less frequently across political lines, but we can but dream.
posted by hama7 at 4:26 PM on May 2, 2004


MetaLoons, that's what we got.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on May 2, 2004


who is y2karl?
posted by eastlakestandard at 4:37 PM on May 2, 2004


...but I think he makes points beautifully without having to resort to the kind of discourse outlined above.

That's evidently untrue, as indicated by the post linked to in this thread, as well as many many others. DD is unable to converse about anything without insulting those he disagrees with.
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on May 2, 2004


the righty portion of MeFi

Just to point out, there are some small "c" conservatives here who don't think in terms of "homolefties" and are actually quite reasonable both in thinking and style of debate. Not all republicans are facists.

I'm just sayin' is all.
posted by loquax at 5:02 PM on May 2, 2004




David Dark effortlessly sailing over this thread, while the MetaCritics look sullenly on.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2004


True, loquax, and I wish we had more conservative voices here on MeFi...if they could be reasoned, civil, have a sense of humor, and able to discuss things without resorting to nastiness, ad hominem attacks, or insults.

We do have them indeed -- MidasMulligan springs to mind -- but I wish we had more.
posted by Vidiot at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2004


on preview: *snarf*

naughty Migs!
posted by Vidiot at 6:16 PM on May 2, 2004


I'm as baffled by Wulfgar's point of view as Amber seems to be. There's a big distinction between differences of opinion offered in good faith, and being disruptive and hateful. Perhaps Wulfgar can't tell the difference between opinions with which he merely disagrees and opinions that are offered in bad faith, but I can. I can also tell the difference between behavior that is unacceptable regardless of ideology or motivation, and behavior that is unacceptable because of ideology or motivation.

I haven't paid enough attention to DD to judge, really. But I can easily imagine someone behaving badly on all three counts: bad faith, inherently bad behavior, noxious/unacceptable point of view. Such a person absolutely shouldn't be tolerated and should be shunned, ostracized, forced to leave. Someone whose opinions are offered in good faith, yet they are noxious opinions and are delivered unacceptably, should be encouraged to behave more acceptably while being respectfully opposed. If they don't improve their behavior, they too should be ostracized and, if necessary, forced to leave. The same goes for someone whose opinions are felicitous but delivered unacceptably. And someone who only has unacceptable opinions should in most cases simply be respectfully opposed. (Sometimes there are opinions that are so far beyond the pale by community standards that even when offered politely and in good faith one cannot and should not expect them to be tolerated.)

This call-out of the wrongness of DD's personal attack on Y2karl is legitimate and completely unrelated to DD's political views.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:16 PM on May 2, 2004


"But I can easily imagine someone behaving badly on all three counts: bad faith, inherently bad behavior, noxious/unacceptable point of view. Such a person absolutely shouldn't be tolerated and should be shunned, ostracized, forced to leave."

Holy Smokes. I'll tell you what. You get the torches and I'll round up the villagers. Or, I'll get the villagers and you get torches. We'll work out the details but someone is getting their ass roasted.

This business of you or anyone deciding what is posted in 'bad faith' or is an 'unacceptable point of view" makes me a little queasy. I'm not sure that I acknowledge there even is such a thing as an unacceptable opinion and I'm damn certain that if there is, I'm not capable of determining it. As far as community standards go, this is a pretty diverse bunch and I'm not sure how your going get any realistic consensus -- shit, I defended goatse last week -- what is heresy in Peoria may be quite acceptable in Portugal (tha land of wine, women and smoking jackets).

That said, I do loves me a good shunning.
posted by cedar at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2004


I agree with the 'no affirmative action for right-wingers'. Unfortunately, the other edge to that sword is not letting bad behaviour go just because it makes the majority chuckle.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2004




quonsar swoops in and grabs a snack.
posted by quonsar at 6:37 PM on May 2, 2004 [3 favorites]


Thet's nit qubnser - that's tde freepars gloriuus Anericen Eegle swuoping Deved Darc awey tu safety frum tde lefti whordes weeting tu nab him whn hi alithes.

P.Z. Abilojies fut tyuos - qobsnzr riuned mt kiubord.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:48 PM on May 2, 2004 [4 favorites]


hama7 (who, if'n I remember correctly, actually defended the massacre at My Lai as appropriate military tactic).

I did not. I condemned the incident, the actions of the U.S. military were just, the gulity were prosecuted, and my exact words were that it was "inexpressibly tragic", but it was the Viet Cong who deliberately used civilians to their ultimately far more bloodthirsty ends. Nice try.


oh, really.

let's see that again, OK?
hmm...

The parties responsible for the incident at My Lai were prosecuted. Whether or not it was justified is still in question, because the area was a Viet Cong stronghold, and the VC had no compunction about recruiting "civilians", children and women to do their dirty work. The U.S. pullout from Vietnam gave rise to one of the most bloodthirsty leftist regimes in history.

When the enemy immorally uses the civilian population as quite-possibly-and-very-often-bomb-wielding human shields, there is little option but to reduce their field of potential recruits

posted by hama7 at 5:55 AM CET on April 25


"reduce their field of potential recruits".
hmmm... I guess you also think that Hamas (not you, I mean the Palestinian branch) is "reducing the field of potential" IDF recruits, hence their actions are OK, then?
;)

and anyway, here's -- again -- what hama7's heroes did in MyLai:


ome villagers were accidentally hit by gunfire and went to the soldiers for help. The men of the 1st Platoon cut them down. “She came out of the hut with her baby and Widmer shot her with an M16 and she fell. When she fell, she dropped the baby and then Widmer opened up on the baby with his M16 and killed the baby too,” said Carter in additional testimony to the Army C.I.D.
Another soldier, Pfc. Varnado Simpson, shot a woman, a baby. Afterwards, he went into a kind of shock. “The baby’s face was half gone, my mind just went…and I just started killing. Old men, women, children, water buffaloes, everything…I just killed…That day in My Lai, I was personally responsible for killing about 25 people,” said Simpson.
The platoon advanced further into My Lai without receiving any enemy fire at all.
(...)
“In at least three instances inside the village, Vietnamese of all ages were rounded up in groups of 5-10 and were shot down…Women and children, many of whom were small babies, were killed sitting or hiding in their homes,” later wrote Lt. General William Peers, who performed the Army’s investigation into My Lai in 1970. Numerous rapes were committed against the young girls of the village, sometimes while their families were forced to watch. Everywhere, dead bodies of women and children littered the roads and fields of the burning hamlet. Captain Brian Livingston, a helicopter pilot and commander, wrote in a letter back home on that very day: “I’ve never seen so many people dead in one spot. Ninety-five percent were women and kids.”
Several minutes later, Calley returned and saw the civilians still alive. “I thought I told you to take care of them?” Meadlo responded by saying, “We are. We’re watching over them.”
“No, I want them killed!” Calley said. Then, as the terrified villagers cowered in fear deep inside the ditch, Calley lowered his M16 from approximately ten feet away and began to fire his weapon. Meadlo was ordered to do the same.
Later, he explained his actions to the Peers Commission in this way: “It’s not your right to refuse that order, and you go out there and do it because you’re ordered to.” For several minutes Calley fired into the panic-stricken crowd as babies and old people were torn to shreds. Meadlo finally broke into a crying fit and could not continue. But Calley pressed on. One by one he killed each survivor who tried to stand including mothers who attempted to shield their children. Months later, the Army’s investigative report summed up this event in very simple terms: “The villagers were herded into a ditch with the larger group of 60-70…At approximately 0900-0915 hours, Vietnamese personnel who had been herded into the ditch were shot down by members of the 1st Platoon.”

posted by matteo at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2004


www.MetaFishInABarrel.com

boom-boom.

goodnight ladies and gentlemen.
posted by matteo at 7:00 PM on May 2, 2004


Cedar, you'll note that on the basis of the viewpoint alone, I was very cautious and said that only in the case where it's very beyond the pale by community standards should it not be tolerated. What could such a viewpoint be? Well, if someone came along with one, we'd know by the uproar they'd cause. I dunno—someone who politely and "reasonably" asserts that small children should be raped as often as possible. Would MeFi tolerate that point of view? I'd bet not.

And it's pretty easy to tell if someone's acting in bad faith and/or just plain misbehaving. The latter is about etiquette and is, in most cases, content neutral. For example, someone beligerently stalking someone throughout MeFi. The former is when someone's repeatedly presenting views that are upsetting to the community only to piss them off, and not necessarily because they sincerely believe them and want to engage other people in a discussion about them. That's a troll, and they're not that hard to spot. Okay, maybe at first, but not after they've done it for a while.

I don't think this is that complicated. This is what communities do, always. There are always some sort of standards of behavior and acceptability. And, usually, the times when it's not fair is when the standards are covert, poorly understood and, thus, unevenly enforced. One of the most infuriating things a community can do is to claim to be supremely tolerant and inclusive, and then not be.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:03 PM on May 2, 2004


Metafilter: qobsnzr riuned mt kiubord.

And, usually, the times when it's not fair is when the standards are covert, poorly understood and, thus, unevenly enforced. One of the most infuriating things a community can do is to claim to be supremely tolerant and inclusive, and then not be.

Well, i don't know if this place claims any of that supremely tolerant or inclusive stuff, and the standards are uneven and covert, but the vast majority understand what makes for good/interesting posts, and good/interesting conversation about those posts/topics. Many have gotten timeouts, temporary bans, or even outright bans for less than the continual insults we see now (qobsnzr being one of them). No one wants to spend time with someone who can't talk without being insulting.
posted by amberglow at 7:34 PM on May 2, 2004


Perhaps you are simply lost.

krrlson, staying true to form, adds his usual amount of significant value to the discussion then scurries off ...
posted by specialk420 at 8:06 PM on May 2, 2004


Perhaps Wulfgar can't tell the difference between opinions with which he merely disagrees and opinions that are offered in bad faith, but I can. I can also tell the difference between behavior that is unacceptable regardless of ideology or motivation, and behavior that is unacceptable because of ideology or motivation.

How very nice for you. I'm impressed seeing as :

I haven't paid enough attention to DD to judge, really.

Than exactly why are you blustering on oh so wisely here?

There's a big distinction between differences of opinion offered in good faith, and being disruptive and hateful.

I, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this, would greatly appreciate you spelling out these rules as clearly as you're able. Then we would need no more MetaTalk, for we would have the definative EB rules with which to judge the veracity of another's comments. *snort*
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:52 PM on May 2, 2004


Never mind my email to David Dark. The message was returned undeliverable.

OT> So which is more loathsome, not posting any email address (which I think is just fine, for the record) or posting a bogus one (very cowardly, in my opinion)? /OT
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:15 PM on May 2, 2004


"I dunno—someone who politely and "reasonably" asserts that small children should be raped as often as possible. Would MeFi tolerate that point of view? I'd bet not."

I'm not sure setting up an extreme strawman is the best way to make your point.

"And it's pretty easy to tell if someone's acting in bad faith and/or just plain misbehaving. "

I guess I'm just not as keen an observer of human behaviour as you are -- I'll just rely on your judgement in the future. You seem quite clear on what is acceptable to the community as a whole and able to ascertain an individuals motives, and hell, there are tough choices to be made around here and you seem particularly well suited to weeding out the riff-raff.

"One of the most infuriating things a community can do is to claim to be supremely tolerant and inclusive, and then not be."

Well, yeah. But that's what we have shunning, ostracization and eventual banishment for.

"And, usually, the times when it's not fair is when the standards are covert, poorly understood and, thus, unevenly enforced."

Gee, you mean the guidelines aren't clear and are not uniformly enforced? Whowouldathunk? However, when something is clearly out of hand the hammer drops and the problem goes away -- it's kinda like magic. I do see your point though, clarity is good. It's hard to know who I should shun in all his chaos. Maybe you could take a few moments and make me a small list as you have obviously given this issue far more thought anyone else has in the last five years.
posted by cedar at 9:40 PM on May 2, 2004


I'd say that Matteo just illustrated the difference between a personal attack and a factual presentation. While I know very little of hama7, I'm inclined to believe that he has a developed moral sensibility and so, although I strongly disagree with many of his opinions, to make personal attacks against him would seem inappropriate to me. But that's not what Matteo just did.

Of Y2karl - for these purposes, I don't give a damn about whether he has led a life of sordid intoxication or steadfast sobriety ; on this court, it is our pecked out keystrokes which matter. If he were an inarticulate clod, he would not have attracted DD's wrath.

I think it is precisely because he makes intelligent comments and posts links to good material that he attracts verbal flak.

Wulfgar! - how about this distinction : when jousting with a very few people on this forum, I've had the sense of interacting with computer algorithms designed to generate invariably consistent ideological spew. But, in most conversations, I sense something more - some ideological openess perhaps.

This is not a simple left/right issue.

But I'm sure as hell not going to point a finger at any specific person.
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 PM on May 2, 2004


OT> So which is more loathsome, not posting any email address (which I think is just fine, for the record) or posting a bogus one (very cowardly, in my opinion)? /OT

Fucking hell, Wulfgar!, you love to make assumptions, don't you? Sometimes e-mail doesn't get through properly because of bad service; other times we forget that the e-mail we post to our profile might be one from a long time ago, which no longer exists; other times we could spell our address incorrectly without knowing. Before you open your mouth with ridiculous accusations, why not just have a bit of patience and let David Dark speak for himself? You've already executed the guy and he hasn't even shown up for trial.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:48 PM on May 2, 2004


Ethereal! You've been spending too much time in MeTa! Get out, for your own good, before it's too late!
posted by loquax at 9:52 PM on May 2, 2004


Okay, there's obviously something in my tone that's rubbing people the wrong way. I apologize.

I'm not setting myself up as The Arbiter of Behavior, nor would I want the bloody job. I just don't think this is that complicated. Some people have unconventional or minority opinions; but they do so sincerely and engage other people about those opinions in good faith, and politely. That's great. Other people are just freakin' jerks. That's not great. Part of the point of MeTa is to call-out people who are acting like jerks (in one fashion or another) and that's what we're doing. Sure, there's a few marginal cases; but for the most part it's not hard to tell the difference between someone with an unpopular opinion acting decently, and someone simply not acting decently. It isn't rocket science and it seems a little disengenuous to me to make it seem that it is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:55 PM on May 2, 2004


"...To that degree, he lends a certain necessary element to the MeFi soup." - I agree that David Dark does add something to the overall mix. That's why it's worth bothering to call out his nastier statements. Matt can eliminate total ingrates with nothing to offer but bile, but Metatalk is milder.

Another consideration in this is the learning curve - For example, I've looked back often on my early posts. Hmmm. Interesting . This one, for example. If I had continued in that vein, I might have been banned - for being breathless, angry, a nuisance - whatever.

People learn. It's only natural.
posted by troutfishing at 10:14 PM on May 2, 2004


Or society chops off their heads.
posted by troutfishing at 10:16 PM on May 2, 2004


You've already executed the guy...

nope! but we have him tied to the tracks and i think i hear... CHOOCHOO!
posted by quonsar at 10:17 PM on May 2, 2004


Yo, CHOO-CHOO, I asked a fucking question, 'kay? I state my opinion clearly as such, and beyond that you can deal or freak. You freaked, to which I respond ... get a grip, dude. I, at least, tried to email DD and let him know that he was under discussion here. Did you? Didn't think so. So if I ask a question, off topic and clearly labeled so, try not to panic. I haven't executed anybody, no one is being roasted until EB gets the torches lined up. If it would make you feel better, I will publically apologize to David Dark because I couldn't get through to his shit email account to do him a favor. Is that acceptable to you?

EB, I don't think anybody thinks this is that complicated. Those who think that certain behaviors are wrong will do so. Those that think its something of a pointless exercise will state their opinion as well. Either way, MetaFilter will live on, with the good and the bad and the qobsnzr. I'm a little confused as to who you think is making this rocket-science. Call DD out if it trips your trigger. Don't expect everybody to agree with you when you do.

And one piece of advice: if you are unfamiliar with someone's actions or transgressions, so much so that you're willing to state that you are not in a position to judge, than it's probably not the best of ideas to participate so vociferously in a discussion concerning that person. 'Just tryin' to help.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:22 PM on May 2, 2004


Wulfgar, I made a distinction between being a bad-faith poster and simply acting like a jerk. In regard to the former, I deferred making a judgment about DD because of unfamiliarity; but one need not be familiar with someone to make the latter judgment. DD personally and quite egregiously attacked Y2karl.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:36 PM on May 2, 2004


This was the sentence that got my attention:

The closest this monkey ever comes to commenting on his hatchet jobs is "Hearts and Minds 2.0" and "Hey, what happened to hearts and minds" and "Have I mentioned lately that I want to suck Juan Cole's cock?"

It's pitiful, depressing and a whole order of magnitude in ugliness beyond anything I have ever read here. It's willfully degrading. It's the way wife-beaters talk to their wives or schoolyard bullies to their victims. I just can't imagine wanting to write something like that about anyone here or anywhere.
posted by y2karl at 10:38 PM on May 2, 2004


DD personally and quite egregiously attacked Y2karl.

Yes, yes he did. However, the attack was of the form "your father was a hamster and your mother smelt of elderberries. Now begone, or I shall taunt you a second time...". That's only as egregious as we let it be. Otherwise, its laughable. So which do you choose: damaging and horrendous, or chuckle worthy bullshit? I choose the latter, and I feel that that's our only dispute, you and I.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:43 PM on May 2, 2004


krrlson, staying true to form, adds his usual amount of significant value to the discussion then scurries off ...

Of course not, my friend -- I sit by my keyboard salivating in anticipation of the moment when another one of your snide and generally idiotic comments about me graces the screen.

Shouldn't you be rehashing your tired cliches against those damn Bushies or Likudniks in some thread somewhere?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:58 PM on May 2, 2004


Okay, there's obviously something in my tone that's rubbing people the wrong way. I apologize.

EB, you're a bossy britches! ;)
posted by zarah at 11:10 PM on May 2, 2004


It seems that the object of the insult doesn't find it merely "chuckle worthy bullshit". Now, that's not necessarily determinative because some people have really thin skin. But DD's insults seemed egregious to me, and to most of the other people here who have commented. And I do feel bad for Karl because obviously his feelings were hurt.

I think I see the attraction in your odd defense of DD. It's contrarian, which is fun and sometimes useful; but, mostly, it has the apparent virtue of something like damning with faint praise. He's too much of a fuckwit to take seriously or to be upset by. It just gives him power. And so forth. That sounds good in theory, but I don't think it holds to scrutiny. Putting aside for the moment that some people will take him seriously (not the least the object of his attacks); in the case of the provocateur, it has the perverse effect of encouraging an escalation of bad behavior.

Yes, some badly-behaving folks crave attention and are quite happy with negative attention if they can't get the positive variety. And, yes, a strategy built around ignoring such people is most productive. But there's a difference between ignoring with disaproval, and taking someone lightly. To me, there's something suspiciously adolescent about the latter—it seems like a "one-upmanship" strategy. "Hahaha! You're such an idiot, you can't say anything that will hurt my feelings, I can only laugh at you!" It's trying to win the game with a meta-strategy. I don't really think this is about game-playing; but if it is, I don't think this is a winning strategy.

Much better to simply say, "Wow. You're acting like a person no one would ever like to be around. See ya. Come back when you learn some manners."

On preview: Zarah, it's apparent that I come across as pompous and bossy. From my perspective, I'm speaking my mind in a forum where doing so is appropriate (and on topic). But, if I take a moment and reflect, it occurs to me that I probably am pompous and bossy. At least on this sort of issue. Because, dammit, people behave so badly online. I really like people, but I don't like their uglier selves; and we see the uglier side of human nature far too often here on the intraweb.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:16 PM on May 2, 2004


Yes people do behave incredibly badly online, too many folks let their Id run amok. Yet mefi is so much better than other forums in that respect, even when some members act badly, it's still nothing in comparison to other sites. The whole self policing thing that's done here is great and it seems to really work well, so there's no need to be in constant scold mode.
posted by zarah at 11:48 PM on May 2, 2004


Bligh: You're a MeFi fundamentalist!
posted by mischief at 5:05 AM on May 3, 2004


MetaFilter: More sensitive than your average foreskin.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:51 AM on May 3, 2004


MetaFilter: More sensitive than your average foreskin.

You can get cream for that.
posted by Jimbob at 6:08 AM on May 3, 2004


Well, Ethereal Bligh, just for the record, my feelings weren't hurt but I was appalled, I will admit. I've had blowouts with people where it got personal--stavrosthewonderchicken comes to mind--but it never got that ugly between us. I have plenty of experience with people who talk like that in real life. But not here. That's what I'm saying.
posted by y2karl at 6:47 AM on May 3, 2004


You can get cream for that.

And just so y'all know, putting in your coffee doesn't work.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:07 AM on May 3, 2004


and anyway, here's -- again -- what hama7's heroes did in MyLai:

Anybody who still gives a hoot will have undoubtedly checked your link, and noticed that you conveniently left out the part where I blamed the bad guys:

"That My Lai occurred is inexpressibly tragic, but that a hundred thousand My Lais at the vicious, bloody hands of the Communist enemy were not prevented is even more infuriatingly horrific. The Viet commie cause was morally wrong, and the United States' support of the South Vietnamese was not. The Viet Cong no longer exists, nor does the Hussein regime."

You overlook millions of totalitarian communist Viet Cong casualties, in addition to their instigating the use of civilians as bait to try and smear the entire U.S. involvement in Vietnam because of the criminal actions of a single platoon whose commander was prosecuted and sent to prison, for actions which remain under investigation. Typical.

The United States did the right thing then, and it's doing the right thing now, and it has a history of doing the right thing, which is and was precisely my point.
posted by hama7 at 7:27 AM on May 3, 2004


Also troutfishing, it's clear by your phrasing "do not burnish the shine on a class act" in the first line of this post whose side you've taken, my previous comment notwithstanding.

That might not be the most advantageous tack when pointing out inappropriate behavior, for reasons which might seem conspicuous.
posted by hama7 at 8:10 AM on May 3, 2004


Oh boy. I'm dying to dive into that one headfirst...but I have work to do.

Still, for the purposes of this thread, this subtopic - the dueling between Matteo and hama7 - illustrates how a bitter dispute need not descend into personal viciousness. Obviously, this is something matteo and hama take extremely seriously (and, for that matter, I do too). But, smarter partisans know that shit-flinging usually just undermines their respective causes.....at least in print (text) media. TV and radio are wholly different pots of crap that tend to have a different, crappier logic.
posted by troutfishing at 8:12 AM on May 3, 2004


hama - maybe I should clarify this : my callout wasn't to challenge DD's "cut and paste" critique. I did it simply because I found that "his brain is likely mush...." comment obnoxious (and absurd as well).

If I rephrase my leading quip as "gratuitous personal attacks do not enhance or elevate a poster's reputation", it comes off as - if not an actual statement of fact - a neologism or even a tautology, such as :

"Unbecoming behavior is unbecoming".
posted by troutfishing at 8:21 AM on May 3, 2004


I agree with everything David Dark said and I do think y2karl posts too much and is too Iraq-obsessed. Since DD's comments aren't likely to please everyone either, I think both are entitled to speak their mind, ride their respective hobbyhorses and that's that.
As usual, the partisan troutfishing tries to silence or self-righteously admonish conservative voices. Where were you when sidhevil posted an entire comment consisting of racial slurs directed at me?
posted by 111 at 8:28 AM on May 3, 2004


One of the greatest pinacles of irony: a group of people slinging insults and rehtoric in the middle of a discussion about someone else's insults / rhetoric.

The sooner we all realize that we're all human and prone to this sort of nonsense -- irregardless of our personal views -- the sooner we might be more civil with one another.

If someone slams you, or your personal beliefs, then move on. You're not proving anything by responding and, chances are, you're just feeding the flames. Someone's insults only have as much sway as you afford them. In this case, ignorance truly is bliss.

Too many people here (myself included) seem to be fixated on having the last word in an argument. Fuckin' get over it and find something that brings out the positive aspects of this site. Flame wars are boring to read unless you're directly involved, and that wasn't why this site was created.

Moral of the story: suck it up princess. It clearly does take a bigger (wo)man to walk away, and MeFi seems to be a midget ranch at this point.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:46 AM on May 3, 2004


The sooner we all realize that we're all human and prone to this sort of nonsense -- irregardless of our personal views -- the sooner we might be more civil with one another.

Wise words.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 AM on May 3, 2004


On Follow-Up: Not that this site shouldn't foster debate and discussion, but when a debate starts including phrases like "...and to think otherwise denotes a severe intellectual deficit" and its less-articulate bastard children, then it's not a debate it's a fight. A debate is useful and usually a good read, a fight just ruins threads and clogs MeTa with garbage -- and typically more fights.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:54 AM on May 3, 2004


I could be wrong here, but hama7 seemed tolerant of views that disagreed with his. The same cannot be said for many of the thread's participants, who used subtle language to take personal swipes at him.

Thanks BlueTrain. That's admittedly frustrating, but it gives you the patience of a saint in the real world, and again, those swipes were child's play compared to some of the other harrying and personal harassment which passed completely without comment for the same reasons.

As usual, the partisan troutfishing tries to silence or self-righteously admonish conservative voices. Where were you when sidhevil posted an entire comment consisting of racial slurs directed at me?

Agreed, as I mentioned above. There have been numerous personal attacks far worse than DavidDark's which seem acceptable (by conspicuous lack of admonition) when the political perspectives are reversed. Also see the offhand dismissal of a notable right-wing website above. Ah well.

I see MiguelCardoso has appeared, so I'd like to end here with something he said himself which seems appropriate:

"Studied indifference is the nuclear weapon of choice. Time is best spent on those you like and who like you. Wasting it with antagonism is just wasteful."
posted by hama7 at 9:21 AM on May 3, 2004


Dark Messiah - One person swinging at the air does not make a fight. It's not really clear who 111 is fighting with. And, unless you are advocating a new policy of banning people wholesale (and good luck selling that one!), those sort of comments will continue to be a feature of Metafilter. Get used to it - it's not so bad.

"...As usual, the partisan troutfishing tries to silence or self-righteously admonish conservative voices. Where were you when sidhevil posted an entire comment consisting of racial slurs directed at me?" - 111, I don't actually read every metafilter thread, nor do I notice or even care to notice all the conflicts that go on in the Blue - and I doubt matt does either. It takes too much time. Besides, if I'm going to champion some right-leaning mefi member for my second Metatalk etiquette/policy callout, it will be someone with a low insult to logical argument ratio.

You can call me a partisan, fine. But at least try to get your facts straight. This is actually the first etiquette/policy callout I've ever made on Metafilter/Metatalk.

______________________________________________

hama7 - As you've failed to notice (Along with 111) this is my first Metatalk callout. Ever.

Meanwhile, concerning my alleged "offhand dismissal of a notable right-wing website" - well, FreeRepublic is certainly a notable right wing website alright. But you're wrong - I don't dismiss is at all. In fact, I'm doing my bit to publicize it. Indeed, here's collection of FreeRepublic member comments on Jay Severin's "solution", recently, to the "problem" of American Muslims ("I think they should all be killed")

"....I do not agree with advocating pogroms. There are enough people who do, however, that if/when we have another attack with significant loss of human life, I do advocate them all making tracks to Canada as fast as they can."

"Ahmad added that such hateful rhetoric has a direct impact on the American Muslim community. But not a word about the impact of flying planes into buildings filled with workers, as the American Muslim Community falls into silence, if not snickering quietly.

Nevertheless, I do not agree with advocating pogroms. There are enough people who do, however, that if/when we have another attack with significant loss of human life, I do advocate them all making tracks to Canada as fast as they can."

"it's very difficult to think of persuading them to change their ways. If a Muslim tries to convert to Christianity, he is automatically killed.

It's also difficult to think of containing or outnumbering them, because they have a billion adherants already, and they have numerous children, who either grow up as good little Muslims or are murdered by their own parents.

There's where the talk of killing and nuking comes from. I don't think it's an answer that Americans are willing to accept. But I can see how someone might come around to entertaining the idea. How do you deal with a billion people who are determined to convert or exterminate the rest of the world, destroy all churches, kill all Jews, and enslave or convert all Christians? Not all of them all of the time, maybe, but the historical record is not good."

"Severin claims Muslims want to take over America, even if it takes centuries And he's right."

"....These Islamic interlopers in our country better start acting like Americans or get the hell out of our country."

"I listen to Jay every evening. While tough on Bush, he says what needs to be said"

"Islamists are indeed a 5th column in this country (who should be executed immediately)"

"Give them 40 acres and a camel to go back the desert.

Americans they will never be, our culture they don't want, only our money and opportunity,"

"You don't see groups like CAIR denouncing the Palestinian whackos who want to kill ALL Jews, but when Jay comes out and suggests we should be killing our Muslim ememies [ muslim-Americans ], that's called hate speech."


There were some even "better" comments which later got axed by the moderator.
posted by troutfishing at 10:02 AM on May 3, 2004


The sooner we all realize that we're all human and prone to this sort of nonsense -- irregardless of our personal views -- the sooner we might be more civil with one another.

Wise and ironic in using that ever-so-redundant and slightly annoying, nonsense word "irregardless."

BTW, I want to give hama7 the cherished BOD, but for this sentence:

When the enemy immorally uses the civilian population as quite-possibly-and-very-often-bomb-wielding human shields, there is little option but to reduce their field of potential recruits.

It seems to clearly make Wulgar's point. That's a scary application of judging people based on where they live. It looks like hama7 does not want this to reflect his overall view, but he should recognize how much this one sentence skews everything else within the comment.
posted by john at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2004


Or, as I said, "For serious intolerance (and even calls for genocide), visit FreeRepublic." Those quotes above were just a sampling of the available material. There's more where that came from.
posted by troutfishing at 10:15 AM on May 3, 2004


if I'm going to champion some right-leaning mefi member for my second Metatalk etiquette/policy callout, it will be someone with a low insult to logical argument ratio.

troutfishing, that's the point. No one needs your insidious campaigning for the cause or public figure of your choice. Get off the soapbox already. Your ill-disguised, ubiquitous populist attempts to purge MeFi from all posts, comments, opinions and users that run counter to your left of center agenda are excessive, annoying and disingenuous.
If people want to say they dislike the presence of muslims migrants in their country, that's life. Deal with it. You have no power over language or political opinion. Nobody cares if you're shocked with it either. If you disagree, say so, but harbor no expectations re other people's opinions.
posted by 111 at 10:30 AM on May 3, 2004


Little fucking wonder there's never been a time when there wasn't a war of some sort going on. If we can't keep peace in this tiny virtual community, we sure as hell can't do it in real life.

How sad.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 AM on May 3, 2004


Dark Messiah - One person swinging at the air does not make a fight. It's not really clear who 111 is fighting with. And, unless you are advocating a new policy of banning people wholesale (and good luck selling that one!), those sort of comments will continue to be a feature of Metafilter. Get used to it - it's not so bad.

Um, I'm not supporting banning -- that's why I didn't even touch upon the subject. The only point I'm trying to make was beautifully illustrated in your post; one person swinging in the air doesn't make a fight. If we could all learn to bite our proverbial tongues and just ignore personal attacks, you leave the instigator "swinging in the air" as you so nicely put it.

As an all-but-completely-reformed troll, I can personally attest that nothing serves as a better torture for an instigator than a room full of people who don't even notice you.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:40 AM on May 3, 2004


"Where were you when sidhevil posted an entire comment consisting of racial slurs directed at me?" - Gee, 111. You sure seemed piqued, a few comments up, that I didn't rescue you.

"....Your ill-disguised, ubiquitous populist attempts to purge MeFi from all posts, comments, opinions and users that run counter to your left of center agenda" - Oh ho! - I'm off to purge some more MeFi. I'd best go down to the 7-11 to by some MeF-Lax. And when I have finshed purging all the MeFi, then........

*rubs hands together with evil glee*

Dark Messiah - Oh yeah. You're right. "Planned Ignoring". It works with children and pets too.
posted by troutfishing at 11:17 AM on May 3, 2004


It looks like hama7 does not want this to reflect his overall view, but he should recognize how much this one sentence skews everything else within the comment.

It shouldn't. It's not my overall view, but it was a fact that Viet Cong tactics were as nefarious as they were assorted, and this was one of them. There's no attempt here to shift blame away from the platoon commander, who appears to have given illegal orders, and engaged in (and punished for) criminal conduct, but within the context of war, a soldier has two rather obvious choices. (the original post has more detailed information)

That's a scary application of judging people based on where they live.

Yes it is. It was scary to live in American and European cities when the Soviets had intercontinental ballistic missiles pointed at them, but we were all judged by where we lived, and, in effect, held hostage by an enemy regime. The Viet Cong essentially did the same thing by exploiting human shields in areas of enemy concentration.
posted by hama7 at 12:40 PM on May 3, 2004


hama7 - And the US held the Soviet population hostage as well. In fairness, it's important to note that there was mutual targeting of civilian populations. And furthermore, what nation has actually used nuclear weapons against a civilian population ?

As far as Vietnam goes, well - both sides in that conflict engaged, in turn, in atrocities. I don't see any ultimate justification for these. On on hand, My Lais, the wholesale bombing of civilian populations, the use of Napalm, the declaration of "Free Fire Zones", the use of toxic defoliants, the establishment of "strategic hamlets" (concentration camps) for civilian popualtions, as a counterinsurgency method.......on the other hand, the crimes of the Vietcong you would cite - both during the war and after, in punitive purges and killings. Are any of these justifiable ? You are a Christian, correct ? What would Christ say ?
posted by troutfishing at 1:21 PM on May 3, 2004


Get off the soapbox already.


Wait for it...


Wait for it...




posted by 111

Hahahaha!
posted by languagehat at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2004


hahahaha
posted by rafter at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2004


And furthermore, what nation has actually used nuclear weapons against a civilian population ?

A nation which was attacked and had war declared on it by the nation of Japan. It was a justified defensive attack which resulted in far fewer casualties than a full military invasion of Japan, and it was a brilliant, gruesome, strategic military maneuver which quickly halted the war with Japan.

And the US held the Soviet population hostage as well.

They were the aggressors, and it was our moral right and duty to defend ourselves. There you go again.

Are any of these justifiable ?

Of course. The sole purpose in a war is to eliminate the enemy or force surrender. The "punitive purges and killings", which you seem to downplay, numbered in the millions on the enemy side, and millions more if you include Cambodia. The United States went to protect South Vietnam from North Vietnam, the VC, totalitarianism and communist aggression, which was completely justified, and the right thing to do.
posted by hama7 at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2004


With all due respect Hama7, while I recognize that many people share your view of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and while I formerly shared that view, I do so no longer. I don't believe they were necessary, and I think they were an atrocity, a colossal crime. The US is "fortunate" that our enemies each committed more heinous crimes that make ours look reasonable and justified in comparison.

But, anyway, my viewpoint is not an unreasonable viewpoint. And, for that matter, neither is yours.

Indidentally, it's probably best not to include Cambodia in your list because, sadly, the US is indirectly but undeniably complicit in the rise of the Khmer Rouge. And, in Vietnam, US troops severly violated standards of wartime decency, such as they are. "The enemy did worse" is not a sufficient justifcation for atrocity. It just isn't.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:34 PM on May 3, 2004


I'm a bit confused by hama7's justification of the massacre.

At some points, he refers to civillians as being used as human shields by the Viet Cong...a dreadful crime, and one that, presumably, would result in a moral army attacking in such a way as to avoid killing the innocents who were being used.

At other points, hama7 refers to the civillians as being potential future combatants, and so valid targets. Who, indeed, is not a potential future combatant? That's some serious pre-emptive strike philosophy happening there, particularly when you're slaughtering babies.

So which is it - were civillians being used, or were they complicit? If they were being used - why did they deserve to be killed? If they were complicit - why was the US bothering to "rescue" the civillian population from the Viet Cong, as that sounds like popular revolution, not communist invasion.
posted by Jimbob at 3:09 PM on May 3, 2004


I think Jimbob is on the same track as I am. The use of "potential" means that they could be rescued or at least detained rather than slaughtered.
posted by john at 4:00 PM on May 3, 2004


Look, this isn't the right place for such unMeta discourse. Would you people take it to the Blue?

;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2004


incidentally, it's probably best not to include Cambodia in your list because, sadly, the US is indirectly but undeniably complicit in the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

com·plic·i·ty
Pronunciation: k&m-'pli-s(&-)tE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : association or participation in or as if in a wrongful act
2 : an instance of complicity.

Complicit, no. The United States did not aid in the rise of the KR. (unless you consider the French-U.S. allied ties in the late 1940's complicity. This meaning that many of the KR leadership studied in France.)

'The Communist Party of Cambodia was founded in the early 1950s, although in its early years it remained subordinate to the Communist Party of Vietnam. In the 1970s the Party adopted the name "Party of Democratic Kampuchea," ("Kampuchea" being an alternative spelling of Cambodia), but became commonly known by the French name Khmer Rouge.'

If, by this, you mean the May, 1955 Military aid agreement Sihanouk signed with the U.S. it should be noted that the Cambodian assembly, among them many Democrats saw this as HM ignoring the National assembly. In fact, his neutral stance to Ngos' regime was seen as a means to help him root out any Communist Khmers via the C.I.A.

What the U.S. is guilty of is abandoning Sihanouk and then doing nothing to stop the KR democide

also see the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia or Democratic Kampuchea.
posted by clavdivs at 4:55 PM on May 3, 2004


The US escalated the conflict into Cambodia and radicalized the countryside. It was a very stupid mistake.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:58 PM on May 3, 2004


The US is "fortunate" that our enemies each committed more heinous crimes that make ours look reasonable and justified in comparison.
Because the side that 'wins" always ends up being the good guys and the side that "loses" always ends up being tried for war crimes. Just like in the schoolyard, but with real guns.
posted by dg at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2004


And, in Vietnam, US troops severly violated standards of wartime decency, such as they are.

Those that did were punished. The vast and obvious majority did not and would not violate standards of decency, regardless of the situation. That does not detract from the fact that the involvement itself was defensive, justified, and the right thing to do.

were civillians being used, or were they complicit

I'm not sure under enemy fire, and at the risk of enemy subterfuge, who could possibly answer that. The act of covering aggressive military tactics and strongholds with civilians (human shields, to which I link again) is twofold: to provide a defense that an American military will not dare attack, and to goad the American forces into attacking, or better put:
"Vietnam was essentially a guerrilla conflict in which the line between combatants and civilians was deliberately erased by the Viet Mihn and Viet Cong as a primary tactic for the purpose of exploiting Western abhorrence of civilian casualties to achieve military/political ends. Former Marxist revolutionaries tell me this was a standard tactic taught to foreign guerrillas in North Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea. "
Does it matter? The United States military targeted enemy forces, yet the VC tactics insured civilian casualties. This is aggressive communist immorality, solely the strategy of the enemy, not the U.S. military forces.

Complicit, no. The United States did not aid in the rise of the KR.

No it did not. But such accusations are typical, like the ridiculous Hussein/ U.S. nonsense.

It was a very stupid mistake.

The only mistake was not allowing the allied forces to crush the Khmer Rouge as well.
posted by hama7 at 5:33 PM on May 3, 2004


The US escalated the conflict into Cambodia and radicalized the countryside. It was a very stupid mistake.

(my browser locked up and I lost about 20 minutes worth of work so I will succint)

You are refering to the u.s. role between 65-75'. it is noteworthy that Chandler in his book "The Tradegy of Cambodian History' writes that...."It is important to remember that Hundreds of thousands of other Khmers took no sustained political action then or later, preferring to grow their food, raise their families and hope for better times" (pg.5) This is in referance to the period of 46-54' and even later. Most KR (CPK) cadre where confined to France, Phenom Pehn and Vietnam before and during the U.S. esculation
in Vietnam. It is imporatnt to understand the Samlut insurencgy to get a view of the KRs role in Cambodia.

The only mistake was not allowing the allied forces to crush the Khmer Rouge as well.

I do not see how this would have possable as Sihanouk and Lon Nol could not. even the Vietnamese Invasion did not stop the KR and remember that the U.S. opposed the invasion to rid the KR even though there had been a defacto war between Vietnam and Cambodia beginning in 1977.
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 PM on May 3, 2004


clavdivs - (sorry about the browser lock - I tend to drag text on to the desk top now to safeguard against that) So, then, do you think that the US bombing of Cambodia had no effect ? From what I've heard, many or most of Cambodian peasants were living in pre-industrial conditions - how did they react to being bombed from planes which would have been invisible to them (for being at such an altitude as B-52's) ? What of the argument which holds that the KR cadres were the extremist element while the US bombing helped establish a climate of suffering and cultural dislocation which helped those extremists in their rise to power?

"And, in Vietnam, US troops severly violated standards of wartime decency, such as they are.

Those that did were punished. " (hama7) - hama, in the reality you depict the sides you favor never, ever, act unustly - and those very few individuals who do so are always brought to justice.

This reality you depict is not in accord with any I have ever experienced or even read of. It seems to me, more than anything, mythic.

It is the land of the perfectly just and the perfectly righteous - how we all wished that we lived there ! But, alas, we do not.
posted by troutfishing at 9:04 PM on May 3, 2004


Just to return to topic, I want to point out that the subject of this thread is not a stranger to MetaTalk:

What are the limits of personal abuse that will be tolerated on Metafilter?

rushmc made this call then:

Not only is this not necessary, it is sociopathological and sickening.

Of course, his participation in any MetaTalk thread ends there in April 23, 2003. It's a safe assumption he is following this thread, I think. That he will not comment here is another.

The comment troutfishing linked above was his next to last--one came two hours later. My impression is when he goes off the deep end, as he does regularly, he lurks until he feels it safe to return to the blue without a callout. There's a cycle to his behavior. He ramps up the abuse until he goes too far and then he hides. I suspect we will not see him again until some time after this post scrolls off the page. Unless some other student mentions here that he or she wants to interview him again in regards to his sociopathology--then, out of vanity, he will most likely reply.
posted by y2karl at 9:36 PM on May 3, 2004


karl, I'd love to respond to your baseless assertions about me, and I will; however, if you'll indulge me for just one moment, I'd ask that you kindly chill the fuck out and give me a fucking minute to respond to the handful of detractors present at this sorry-excuse-for-a-lynching.

To the few of you calling for my head on a platter, I'll simply say that the idea that anyone on Metafilter can simultaneously hold a minority opinion and be engaged in straight forward insult-free debate is simply not the reality for some of us. I am lumped into a minority category that we can all tick off on one hand from memory (DD, PP, 111, hama7) as being the favored targets for clever ad hominem and general loathing of our individual and collective ideas. Below the radar and subtle language aside, none of you are nearly as clever at hiding your swipes as you'd like to believe. It is widely understood that we should endure our lumps like good little soldiers while many of you are encouraged with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge acceptance, if not a full scale joining in from all sides. One need only watch the site-wide "favorite conservative" try to voice a reasonable opinion in this now famous thread to see that our received lashings are not dependent upon our lashing out. As one constant jackass so eloquently put it, "your credibility has already been debased here on MeFi ... by yourself and your defense of the defenseless. Anything to defend and protect Dear Leader seems to be your norm." This comment illustrates that many of us, even the favorite, do wear giant targets on our user names as a matter of Metafilter protocol. Is it really so shocking that we return fire and sometimes cross the ever-adjustable line into 'appalling' rhetoric?

And that, itself, even without the double-standards, is difficult to define. What's appalling to you may be fine with another. What one member takes as an insult, another finds a playful gibe in good fun. For example, is "his typical assholery" meant to be insulting or funny? Is "he's a nasty piece of work, and he couldn't hold a conversation if it was crazy-glued to him" meant literally, or is it an attempt to be witty for the crowd? (amberglow, I know you're still sore that I technically have rights to your first-born, but I assure you I don't want the little bastard). For me, it doesn't matter much either way. Some will laugh, some will gasp, others will barely register that a comment has even been made. And what else should we expect? Take it to MeTa and vote? What a fucking waste of time.

Sure, I'm condemned here by the Usual Suspects who hold grudges against me for various infractions, but by and by, this entire parade is inconsequential and transparently hypocritical by a community with such lofty ideals of acceptable behavior coupled with an amazingly low level of self-critique by the individual.

Look, I'd tell you that I'll try to leave the mush-brain comments to a minimum, but the gesture won't be reciprocated and we'll end up back here again, anyway, and it will be my fault because I stick out as someone who doesn't fit. I'm fine with that. See you next time.

Now, karl, as to your assumptions. Excellent research* in digging up the other Meta discussion about me. However, you haven't exactly nailed my intentions squarely on the fucking head.

Not that it's any of your business, but I left town, as I often do, Saturday morning and didn't return until last night. Then I had a rather long workday today. To some, let's call them extremely enthusiastic and frequent commenters, or self-appointed pillars of the community*, I realize that the idea of enduring 72 whole fucking hours without clicking "post" is on par with being forced to dance naked with a hood over your head in an Iraqi prison, but for me, it's not a big deal. It certainly doesn't warrant paranoid delusional theories as to how a complete fucking stranger conducts himself when away from a computer. Not that I would question someone who is so fucking intuitive* that he has no qualms about claiming to know the heart and mind of another human being through nothing more than discourse as a fucking glorified pen pal, but karl, I'm not hiding. Certainly not from you.

Your "impression", as deeply thought out as it obviously is*. . . what with that whole one other instance you hunted down in order to justify constituting my absence as a "regular cycle of behavior", must regrettably be contradicted as a fabrication of your oddly intriguing, delusional, and ingenious mind*. I truly admire* your ability to project not just motives but entirely scripted behavioral patterns onto other users. Well fucking played.

Having said all that, y2karl, you are the most hypocritical fucking crybaby I have ever had the pleasure to never have met in person. First you cry like a spotlight starved toddler in another thread, then when things turn to worldly issues of interest in this one you try to bring the torches back to my feet by linking to a previous MeTa thread about my comments. And all the while you attempt to pretend that you are lily fucking white, as if your antics are "no stranger" to MetaTalk, either. How many times have you been called into MeTa, dear old friend? During our eerily congruent tenures, you've probably been the subject of half a dozen MeTa threads, and why not? You are obnoxious, annoying, and all-too-willing to ramp up the abuse when you feel like the community at large has your back. Being that you are among political allies, I'd say these types of call-outs are even more damning to your reputation than they are to mine. A guy like me being hauled into MeTa twice in two and a half years is below average, but an interesting question is "How far does a fucking lefty have to go to piss off this crowd?" As compared to someone like me, who disagrees with all but a handful of regular commenters, I'd say you are an anomaly beyond compare.

The point being you are anything but innocent in this debacle, you're a jabber-extraordinaire, and someone I take pleasure in disagreeing with. However, lately, your comments are the epitome of laziness, as you absolutely fucking refuse to spend any time articulating your opinions, preferring instead to let various web-based intellectuals do all of your thinking for you. It's infuriating, and apparently I'm not the only one who thinks as much. But I am one of the few trying to engage you in conversation, only to be met with an onslaught of off-topic headlines du jour and chicken little prophesies of imminent doom for anything and everything remotely conservative, then I am derided for aversion when I ignore them in favor of focusing on the original topic.

Likewise, your cowardly behavior regarding my 'Juan Cole' comment. After literally years of going round and round with you, and especially in light of your recent proclamation that you don't give any weight to the ideas of the 'pollyannas', the only way you could possibly be 'appalled' by anything I say is if it turned out to be the fucking truth, in which case, how the fuck was I supposed to know? I was merely pointing out that you link to the slightest of Juan Cole's belches. If Juan Cole posted "y2karl sucks" on his website, you'd make it a god damn FPP and apologize for inadvertently offending him. So I give you shit for it. Why cry?

*Meant in complete sincerity. Please don't take any of these descriptions as jokes or insults, for I assure you that no one with my political leanings could possibly possess a sense of humor. I believe this is in accordance with your already formed opinion of my nature. However, the un-asterisked blatant insults may be taken at face value, for they come from years of observation and therefore, at least to me, are well-founded. It is my understanding that this supercedes any unstated rules on civility.

. . .and I have to quickly thank my other dear old pal Wulfgar! for his stylistically double-edged attack as defense comments, which were good for a guffaw or two of my own, and to say that my email account is in fact in working condition, as it has been for the entire two and a half years I've been a member here. However, I never did receive any notification that this discussion was underway.
posted by David Dark at 2:42 AM on May 4, 2004


Who are you again, now? [/pot stirring]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:41 AM on May 4, 2004


Well said DD, but I'm sure you already know the only possible response.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:19 AM on May 4, 2004


You're welcome David. After all, I still think you're a fascist pinhead, but I'll gladly defend your right to be that way if it actually adds something to the mix. You do seem to have somewhat misunderstood, though. My defense of your position here at MeFi was just that, a defense. I clearly labeled all of my opinions about you as just that, my opinions. And its not like I said anything that I haven't said to your face (or at least the MeFi form of such). If others wish to agree, that's completely up to them. People will make up their own minds (which was at the heart of my defense of you, actually), and that's okay with me because I don't really much care.

Of course I could have accused you of fallating some idol of yours, Ashcroft maybe? Or I could have accused you of drunkenness or drug abuse, or insulted your parentage. But I haven't because that's not quite my style; somewhat more yours apparently. If you wish to defend your style with the "nobody here likes me and you're all meanies" defense, that's okay, I guess. I'm sure that people will make up their own minds about that as well.

To be honest, though, there is one thing about which we agree, you and I: Metatalk has pretty well lost whatever efficacy it might have had for controlling civility.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:11 AM on May 4, 2004


Wow. Well, that was a combination of too-personal, too-angry, and a few good points. Makes for a bit of mess to try to respond to.
"Look, I'd tell you that I'll try to leave the mush-brain comments to a minimum, but the gesture won't be reciprocated and we'll end up back here again, anyway, and it will be my fault because I stick out as someone who doesn't fit. I'm fine with that. See you next time.—DD
Okay, this is the "everyone does it and he deserved it anyway" defense. Do you guys see why I think this way of thinking is a big problem?

I'm going to clear my mind of all preconceptions and try to be as objective as possible.

The conservatives here on MeFi do have a big target painted on their heads and they are not treated fairly and they endure a barrage of explicit and implicit criticism that would make anyone testy.

On the other hand, as I said in another thread, being someone with a minority (political!) opinion in a community is a difficult situation which self-selects certain type of people. Those people tend to be (but are not all, and not necessarily) unusually abrasive and confrontational. They tend to have chips on their shoulders. Not all of them, and probably not the majority of them. But a big enough portion, coupled with the fact that this group is usually extremely vocal, that they become the de facto voice for the minority.

I think those particular people derserve the abuse that's heaped on them, assuming that they hang around here to heap abuse on other people. I don't think that the rest of the minority should be abused. But they are.

And then what happens is that they (correctly) perceive that most everyone is out to get them, doesn't give them a fair hearing, and tends to be quick to insult them personally. So even the ones who are much better behaved and even-termpered find themselves edging toward combative and provocative behavior. This group is still responsible for their behavior, but they deserve some understanding for the difficult situation they're in. But this is a chief reason why "they made me do it" and "everyone does it" are counter-productive and generally bad excuses for behavior.

Also, what I noticed between these two adjacent call-out threads was that the Stavros call-out almost without exception had lefties defending him, and righties criticizing him; while this thread was the reverse. I probably missed another noncomformist in this swamp, but it seems like I'm the only person who has said in both threads that both these comments were out-of-line and deserving of criticism. This double-standard was really why I pursued the Stavros call-out thread as vigorously as I did (and why I got frustated). It turns out that I misread Stav's comment (or misunderstood his unclear intentions), but what I thought Stav meant is what some other people thought he meant, and what that was was something pretty damn provocative. It stunned me that people were so quick to defend it (and not understand how someone might get really upset by it), while they are so quick and heavy-handed when it comes to criticising misbehavior by conservatives.

By the way, I didn't initially comment in this thread because, interestingly, I didn't know what there was I could say. It seemed to me that DD's comment was self-evidently out-of-line and I didn't know what I had to add to that. I did end up commenting specifically to explicitly be even-handed and, also, because Karl and I argued in the other thread and I began to suspect that he was pretty upset about some things, this particular insult referred here being one of them (and I wondered if he was discouraged by the fact that the Stavros thread had a lot of activity while the call-out against the insult against him was stagnant).

Anyway, bottom line is that there are a few conservative minded people here that really act like jerks. There's more leftist minded people here that act like jerks, just because the left outnumbers the right so dramatically. But the bias--and I guess I should say something about that--against the conservatives makes life for them here, the good and the bad, difficult. That point of DD's should be heard. The only thing I know to say to the conservatives is that those of you that behave very willfully very badly, stop it. Those of you that behavce badly only because you feel cornered and treated unfairly, also try to stop it and maybe try to stop the bad faith folks. And, I'm sorry. Finally, "great job!" and "great that you're here!" to the well-behaving conservatives who deserve credit for behaving well in a context that most of us would have a lot of difficulty accomplishing.

As for the rest of us, well, attack discourse and keeping score and personal vendettas are like a cancer that consumes all resources and poisons the whole systems. We really need to try hard to stop doing this stuff. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect that we can do a whole bunch better. But we should try.

As for the "bias" thing. Well, firstly, self-organized communities are inevitably going to be largely like-minded, right? A community is going to have a "bias". I'm sort of agnostic on the question of diversity. I don't like to fetishize it. If I could wish MeFi to be anything I wanted it to be, I'd wish it to be a very thoughtful, productive, and, yes, diverse community of interests. Whether that's possible, and, if so, whether we should somehow try to actively accomplish it, is another question. Anyway, I do think that their is a worldview bias, and there is a personal bias, and both operate against the conservatives here. Is it always as demonic as some of them make it out to be? Of course not. They're generalizing about the other side just as the other side is generalizing about them.

Bottom line: when we start thinking "I can say whatever I want because he's a real jerk", then our intuition, and conscience, should be tickling us. I've crossed that line several times recently SpaceCadet (I'm sorry), once on purpose, actually, to make a point that apparently I wasn't successful at making.

We can do better. Really. I think we can.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2004


It's a safe assumption he is following this thread, I think. Well, duh.
posted by y2karl at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2004


Yikes! This is still going?
posted by loquax at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2004


What of the argument which holds that the KR cadres were the extremist element while the US bombing helped establish a climate of suffering and cultural dislocation which helped those extremists in their rise to power?
a difficult question to answer. the bombing of neak loung may help you but it was not exactly on the boader.

'From the spring of 1970 to January 1973, Cambodia suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties as North Vietnamese communist forces engaged US-supported Cambodian troops. Despite US assistance, the Cambodian military lost one engagement after another. Corruption among the ranks led to many officers lying about their unit strengths - each unit received a certain amount of money for each soldier, so officers pocketed huge sums over non-existent soldiers while their undermanned units were sent into battles they could not win. Soon communist forces occupied the majority of the Cambodian countryside - apart from Phnom Penh and several key road and river routes extending from the capital, the Lon Nol government had lost control of the rest of Cambodia.'

in 68' there was a severe drought and agricultural production was stagnating. Cambodias deficit ate up 1/8 of the budget. Exports had fallen off.
To help off-set this, the age old addage of Casinos was adopted. CPK actions were differed from zone to zone and the cadre was spread to thin but they were pinning down many large units of the Cambodian army. It is noteworthy that the Cambodians took along thier families when they went to fight. (for the most)

Bill Colby called the bombing of Cambodia "the only game in town" around 73' and the bombs killed many effectivly turning the country into a virtual free-fire zone under Operation "Freedom Deal" (yeah.. i know:( It did slow the CPK advances around the capital. Congress halted the bombing in August (how augustian of them) but that was really about a contest between Congress and the aliling Nixon regime.
The C.I.A. In a paper entitled "the Short term prospect for Cambodia" saw that while the bombing would keep Lon Nol in power longer...."The installation of a Communist-leaning government in Phenom Pehn would be of less significance than the circumstances which brought it about".

Lon Nol saw the bombing as something akin to America itself, Deus Ex Machina.

Al Haig said to Nixon, about the bombings being stopped "we've lost South East Asia"
for which he replies "Al, I'm afraid your right"

The bombing did not create a rush of Cambodians on the boarder to join the KR. The situation was much more complex then that.

But trout, of course the bombings had an effect, your question seems...

EB. The shortest post i have seen you make in comments was:

The US escalated the conflict into Cambodia and radicalized the countryside. It was a very stupid mistake.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:58 PM PST on May 3


I can only imagine the "Information" in your longer comments.

(I freely admit to mistakes when discovered or called out by someone, try and learn from this please)
posted by clavdivs at 10:09 AM on May 4, 2004


clavdivs - thanks for the nutshell history! Maybe I was testing you to see if you simply responded with ideological posturing rather than an honest answer? I'm not sure, but in any event, I'm glad your browser didn't lock up on that comment*.

As usual, it's a bit more complex than what can be crammed into simple ideological frames - obviously the bombing had an effect, and it probably wasn't good. But it's too convenient to blame only that factor for where the KR took things, I suspect.

Oh - by the way - you missed my egregious historical blunder on the Giap/wargaming Dien Bien Phu post title. Someone else caught it eventually - a little late though.

( *I posted that problem as an AskMetaFilter question : it's an Explorer problem, and some deal by composing comments in a text program and then transferring them. I just grab my text, every once in a while, from the input box and drop it on my computer;s desktop. It works.)
posted by troutfishing at 10:24 AM on May 4, 2004

"I freely admit to mistakes when discovered or called out by someone, try and learn from this please.—clavdivs
Okay. I'll try to do so, too, even though your scarequoated "Information" was unnecessary and snide. I can only imagine that you didn't mean to be insulting.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:57 AM on May 4, 2004


done it before (the cut and paste) Giap huh, I was a squad leader freak back in the day. Ping-pong table filled with boards, one move taking an hour. It is an extremely complex issue and one that I had studied for years but thanks for making me stay up until 2:30 re-reading the text and going over the 4 ft of book shelf space material on cambodia that i have.
:)
look, i cut into you bad but as i said before, i care. you are an excellant writer and i am a bit PISSED because it takes so much effort to write just marginally for me at least. the browser sit-rep does not help. I am tired and have lost so much in the last year that i see any participation on MeFi as a struggle to maintain calm andcivility(as of late)

The kicker is that i have tried this before and fell back into anger. but i believe in try and try again. of course, the "insert joke here" clause will probably take over this thread but i found some good in it. I guess that is all one can hope for...but hope is not a posting policy, it takes work and patience...and I'm lecturing on moral grounds.

So, i'm going to put my tank in hull down postion and help stave off that counter-attack.
(I always found that the 6-6-6 info for the american chits to be offensive, in a patton kinda way)
posted by clavdivs at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2004


pardon my offense EB
posted by clavdivs at 11:02 AM on May 4, 2004


Okay. :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:14 AM on May 4, 2004


Just an idea.... If personal arguments like this were confined solely to e-mail, we'd likely have far fewer seeing as how there would be no audience for either participant. (And even if it didn't cut down the number, at least we wouldn't see them.) Guaranteed, most of the "justification" for nonsense like this is the sheer thrill of subjecting everyone else to your "clever" insults.

Keep it in e-mail, your petty grudges are of little interest. I think we've all got enough drama in our lives, MeTa / Mefi doesn't need to fill that niche.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2004


Well, Dark Messiah, I once pretty pointedly invited David Dark (among others) to phone me or write me or even visit me with his (and their) cowardly, childish little insults and name-calling.

I never heard word one from him (or any other detractor, including the occasional stalker here....although I was delighted to hear from some other MetaFilter friends via phone). David Dark is pretty content to throw insults from behind his computer, but apparently much less so inclined when invited to do so personally.

That says it all about him.

Karl, don't take his insults seriously. It's chickenshit.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:00 PM on May 4, 2004


You misunderstand... Just because you're willing to take an argument into e-mail doesn't mean "but since he won't, go and do it in Mefi anyway". It's quite evident that none of you are going to change each other's staunch positions, so why bother? It just uses up bandwidth on words that accomplish -- and represent -- nothing relevant to the site's purpose; to share links and debate, not bicker and libel.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:54 PM on May 4, 2004


to share links and debate, not bicker and libel.

Clarative difference, please?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:15 PM on May 4, 2004


Metafilter: bicker and libel

Sharing and debating is harder when one person mistakenly seems to think that gratuitous personal insults play a part in that.
posted by amberglow at 4:40 PM on May 4, 2004


This is just my 2¢ here, but to me a debate is a argument wherein the participants address the other person's opposing points of view, without relying on insults and personal attacks to punctuate sentences.

"I disagree, you dimwitted asshole" put across the same basic message as "I disagree", except the extra bit on the end just inflames. Once a debate degenerates to personal attacks, the point is lost. It becomes a verbal fight, and there is precious little good that will be gleaned from a fight. Just anger, hurt feelings, and a derailed thread.

You don't have to like someone, or even their opinion. Just respect it and argue against them on the merits of their presented case, not suppositions made about their personal life.

Keep the angry attacks in e-mail. If you loathe David Dark so much, let him know personally, because I -- as I'm sure many others will agree -- have little interest in a personal feud between two people I don't even known in a passing manner.

I realize that tempers can flare, and people can get angry. I'm all too aware of this. I just figure if you care about Mefi, it's your duty to keep the site true to it's purpose; forming a community. You can't have a decent community if you've got small cliques starting fights with one another.

If you have a problem with someone on a personal level, take it up with them. They're the only person who can really do anything about it; barring extreme cases where the admin has to step in.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:43 PM on May 4, 2004


Sharing and debating is harder when one person mistakenly seems to think that gratuitous personal insults play a part in that.

Stooping to their level will do nothing to change their mind of this, I might add.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:45 PM on May 4, 2004


Nothing seems to be able to change their minds on this at all--read up.
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on May 4, 2004


Like I said, the feud does not interest me. They're welcome to their mutual anger and loathing. I just wish users would relieve themselves of the notion that anyone but them cares to see the fighting.

Oh well... I've said my bit. I am quite sure it will go entirely unheeded. I've done all I can.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:51 PM on May 4, 2004

". If you loathe David Dark so much..."
Yeah, but it was DD who expressed his loathing of Y2Karl in the blue. Maybe there's personal history between them before that, but it's beside the point. He shouldn't have been so insulting in his comment in the blue.

Again, this is why you have to seperate the behavior from the context. I know that strikes many people as counter-intuitive, and I love context as much as the next guy. Context is my middle name. But when people feel justified to act a certain bad way because someone else acted badly before, then very quickly only those two people even know the full context (and usually not even them!), the rest of us usually don't know much of it, and all we see is bad behavior that implicitly normalizes more, unrelated, bad behavior. It's best just to say that the behavior is bad, period. Don't be a jerk. Even when justified, don't be a jerk. It's hard to do, I know. I have a hard time with it, too. But it's easy for everyone else to tell when someone is being a jerk--while it's hard for everyone else to tell if they're really justified in doing it, or not. See where I'm going with this?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:52 PM on May 4, 2004


Yeah, but it was DD who expressed his loathing of Y2Karl in the blue. Maybe there's personal history between them before that, but it's beside the point. He shouldn't have been so insulting in his comment in the blue.

Whoa easy, I was just picking a name that had been thrown around. Replace DD with anyone else that suits your fancy, my point remains the same.

A personal attack is a personal attack, context is irrelevant.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:00 PM on May 4, 2004


That's our point too, Dark. And why this thread was started.
posted by amberglow at 5:36 PM on May 4, 2004


Dark Messiah, you may not remember, but we two had our own bit of a tiff back in the day. Just wanted to give you a shoutout for what I've read from you in this thread so far. Just when I thought I'd never scratch a name off my troll list...
posted by clever sheep at 6:51 PM on May 4, 2004


I'll simply say that the idea that anyone on Metafilter can simultaneously hold a minority opinion and be engaged in straight forward insult-free debate is simply not the reality for some of us.

I'll disagree with this. I hold and sometimes defend a number of unpopular opinions 'round these parts that could easily get me branded a bigot or lunatic. Of course, I'm not a famous MeFite, which could explain why no one bothers fighting with me... but I could point to, say, konolia, who does not fit the conventional picture of the MeFi hivemind as godless lefty at all. For some reason, she doesn't get in a lot of fights.
posted by weston at 9:15 PM on May 4, 2004


But when people feel justified to act a certain bad way because someone else acted badly before, then very quickly only those two people even know the full context (and usually not even them!), the rest of us usually don't know much of it, and all we see is bad behavior that implicitly normalizes more, unrelated, bad behavior.

You mean like those people who justify things like... oh, say war crimes, or lying to the public, by pointing to how lousy the previous administration was?


weston, konolia doesn't get into a lot of fights because when the going gets tough, she gets going. Although, that said, were she to actually deal with some of the more difficult questions, I'm sure she would do so in the most polite and respectable way possible. She is a sweety, true and through.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on May 4, 2004


Yeah, just like that. I don't know why you're making that point to me, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:49 PM on May 4, 2004


Although, that said, were she to actually deal with some of the more difficult questions, I'm sure she would do so in the most polite and respectable way possible.

Exactly.

I think if you're gonna hang out here (or anywhere) and vary widely from the norm, then it almost requires a proportionally larger endowment of good humor and civility. Or effort at it. konolia demonstrates that.
posted by weston at 12:28 AM on May 5, 2004


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