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June 28, 2012


Comments to a Troll

Trolling is not allowed at StandFirm. You’ll either comment substantively—or not at all. 

Here’s Brian from T19’s comment.

And here’s my response, which was deleted at T19 as off-topic [correct] and ad hominem [incorrect]:

Hey Brian—why are you trolling over here?  You add nothing relevant and of course all of your assertions were already addressed in spades on other previous threads.

Why the trolling Brian? Why not gloat and wink in private? Have you so little life?

That’s the equivalent of my trucking over to one of your allies’ blogs—Susan Russell’s or someone—and winking and cawing. Somebody who does that has so little life.

Of note. It’s a misuse and misunderstanding of the words “ad hominem” to assert that when one makes a personal assessment about another person that that is therefore an “ad hominem argument.”

Once more, with feeling. An “ad hominem argument” is the assertion that a person’s comments are inaccurate *because* they are [insert ad hominem argument here—“fat” “bald” or “a troll.”]

I made no such ad hominem argument at all.  I did not assert that Brian from T19’s assertions were wrong *because he is trolling*—although I do observe that he is trolling.

So why are the libs trolling on conservative blogs about the healthcare decision? I’ve no idea why—but they are.


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21 comments

Kendall’s blog is as dull as dishwater, so tightly run as it is.  It’s why I stopped commenting there.

[1] Posted by Jeffersonian on 6-28-2012 at 04:05 PM · [top]

True Sarah, its funny, you’d think they’d be a lot happier?

[2] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 6-28-2012 at 08:04 PM · [top]

I’m just in from an evening out doors in a buggy swampy woods.  Heaven! 

I have noticed that revisionists and libs often “win” lately— and then get even bitterer.

But just to take note of something else and to be clear for readers—I read and comment at T19 all the time, and I frankly love it. I love the blog, I love Kendall, and I love the Elves . . . [the latter are so juicy and all when properly marinated.]

T19 *is* differently run than SF—and they allow revisionists who don’t comment substantively a lot of slack.  That’s their prerogative, and I understand that. I also *definitely* understand their deleting my comment—that’s their right, and I can certainly take with good cheer what I dish out in moderating *this* blog.  I don’t take it personally—not at T19, where my comments have been deleted or even “edited” quite a lot in the past—and not at other blogs either.

Blog moderation is a tough job, and though I may choose to violate a rule and get my comments deleted, that doesn’t mean I feel insulted or wronged.  I may *disagree* with certain blog commenting policies, but when the policy gets violated, the consequences then occur, and I have no hard feelings about that.

There are other conservative blogs where I simply won’t comment since I disapprove so ardently of both the commenting policies and the moderation, not to mention have little respect for the ideas of most of the commenters.  But that’s not the case with T19. I’ll comment there as long as I’m allowed.

And if I’m ever banned there or moderated, I’ll take it like the woman I am—write up a post about where I disagree, and then move on with sanguine joie de vivre and a wave of the paw.  ; > )  As I’ve said before about The Banned here, being deprived of commenting privileges at certain blogs doesn’t make anybody a bad person—it just makes them “not right” for that particular blog.  And such are the riches of the blogosphere, there are plenty more fishes in the sea where commenters can comment happily and freely in keeping with their style.

Also of note, if I ever lose my registration information, or bumble around and forget how to log in and comment, I can assure T19 that I will not then write comments denouncing the elves and announcing that I was “banned by T19” in a quavering voice of martyrdom as certain others have done about SF.  ; > )

[3] Posted by Sarah on 6-28-2012 at 09:32 PM · [top]

Jeffersonian, quite true. very few commenters over there.  At the moment Kendall is on vacation. Will be back just in time for GC. If anyone wonders whether the Diocese of SC is sending delegates, wonder no more. From the diocesan website.

Pray for General Convention, July 5-12
Diocese Creates General Convention Facebook Page. Keep Bishop Lawrence and the South Carolina deputation in your prayers and follow their General Convention reports and updates by visiting the Diocesan General Convention Facebook page. This, the 72nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church will be held in Indianapolis July 5-12. South Carolina will be represented by Bishop Lawrence, Reid Boylston, Lydia Evans, Lonnie Hamilton, Elizabeth Pennewill, John Burwell, Jim Lewis, Haden McCormick and David Thurlow. Our lay alternates are Dorothy Gervais Carter, John Dugue, and David Wright. We also have a General Convention page on our website. Deputy blogs and other useful sites will be available there.

[4] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-28-2012 at 10:09 PM · [top]

On another thread I commented about how good it felt to be an American in circa 1986.  I then asked if anyone felt that way today…..even the hi-fiving liberals who think they “won”?

No, they don’t.  Watch the attacks on Romney grow even nastier.  Look at the “BFD” T-shirt being sold on an official Obama campaign site.

The sin of the collective based in human hubris has never turned out well in human history.  The priests and congregants of the collective religion are doomed by its sinfulness.  In such sinfulness there will be no real joy.

[5] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 6-29-2012 at 07:59 AM · [top]

Sarah,

I have noticed that revisionists and libs often “win” lately— and then get even bitterer.

The reason they are this way is that their opposition has still not totally capitulated to their point of view.  Only when they rule the world as the truely elite, all-knowing overlords will the revisionists and libs ever be happy.  One just has to look at how these types act.  Look at the actions of the Occupy Wall Street louts.  Look at the threats made by these types if Obamacare was not upheld.  And even if one sub-division of revisionists and libs triumphs another division will be bitter because they did not come out the “winners”.

[6] Posted by BillB on 6-29-2012 at 08:28 AM · [top]

dishwater raspberry

[7] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 6-29-2012 at 08:55 AM · [top]

It was definitely off topic and might have led the thread astray. I don’t know if these types of trolls (and there are many subtypes) have a good answer to the question as to why they do what they do, because I have yet to see one fess up and chalk it up to their total depravity. Nor would I expect them to listen to your advice to go elsewhere anyway since such advice is what trolls feed upon.

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-29-2012 at 09:07 AM · [top]

Oops I see you didn’t advise him to go elsewhere. I was projecting my own unpublished comment.

[9] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-29-2012 at 09:09 AM · [top]

Sarah -
The specific comment of Brian’s you pointed to doesn’t seem irrelevant or unsubstantive, in context of the previous few comments on that thread (I didn’t read the whole thread). Brian is talking about the same topic and bringing up examples he thinks refute the other people’s argument. What’s trollish about that?
  About ad-hominem:
<<Of note. It’s a misuse and misunderstanding of the words “ad hominem” to assert that when one makes a personal assessment about another person that that is therefore an “ad hominem argument.”>>
Actually it DOES seem “ad hominem” to include your “personal assessment” of a speaker in responding to the speaker’s argument; ESPECIALLY IN THIS MEDIUM, WHERE YOU DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW BRIAN AND HE DOESN’T ACTUALLY KNOW YOU. YOUR CAN ONLY ASSESS WORDS ON A SCREEN. To say he “has so little life” when you’ve never met the guy is not justified. You don’t know anything about his life or motives and he doesn’t know yours.

[10] Posted by four minds on 6-29-2012 at 09:17 AM · [top]

#6, it won’t even end then, but will become even more strident and caustic when Master Plans the totalitarians on the Left have for us fail to bring about the promised Utopia.  Witness the vast power of the Leninist revolution in Russia and the progressively deeper, murderous paranoia of that regime and the Stalinist one that followed.  The Plans were perfect, but supposedly thwarted by a series of “hoarders, wreckers and saboteurs” who were summarily liquidated.

[11] Posted by Jeffersonian on 6-29-2012 at 10:55 AM · [top]

There are so many questions I’d like to ask a troll. “There is empirical evidence that your strategy does not accomplish the stated aims, why are you so committed to it?”, “What if you could improve things if you were given absolute power to do what you want? Maybe that would not justify you’re doing them? Maybe people living in a less optimal world because of their free choices is not only pragmatically preferable, but morally obligatory because any system in which you determine morality will degenerate in to something grotesque, as it has always has in the past.”

But trolls aren’t interested in questions like that. They don’t even register on the radar of the average troll. The main problem with trolls is that they do not want to think. They do not want to address problems with their system.

[12] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 6-29-2012 at 11:37 AM · [top]

I’d guess that “the libs [are] trolling on conservative blogs about the healthcare decision” because doing so provides the secondary gain that they so desperately crave because they have “so little life” otherwise.

I’m sure it made someone’s day to see Sarah’s comment at T19 so viciously attacked by voracious elves. Those folks should send Sarah a polite thank-you note.

To have a blog comment edited (better, deleted in its entirety) is a high honor.

During and after GC, I’m sure there will be more than a few blog comments deleted.

[13] Posted by Ralph on 6-29-2012 at 11:52 AM · [top]

Hi Four Minds, I’m afraid I don’t agree.

I don’t know if you hang out at T19 much, but Brian’s shallow boilerplate “analogies” had been addressed in spades [and thoroughly demolished] on other threads over the past year, threads in which as I recall Brian participated!  Brian is a long-time commenter at T19—we’re talking around 5-6 years.  He’s thoroughly aware of the reasons why his boilerplate was irrelevant.

It’s a little like a revisionist such as yourself entering a thread of Christians talking about the immorality of gay sex acts and saying “shellfish argument” and then scuttling away.

It’s just a trolling comment because *both* the troll and the Christians are aware that the Silly Shellfish Argument either demonstrates gross ignorance of Christian thought, or demonstrates that the commenter *already knows the appropriate answer* but is just dropping it into the thread like a poop bomb.

RE: “Actually it DOES seem “ad hominem” to include your “personal assessment” of a speaker in responding to the speaker’s argument;”

But I did not respond to the speaker’s “argument.”

I specifically *did not* respond to the speaker’s “argument” [which didn’t exist, again].  There was nothing to respond to!

Brian *already knows the answers to his little analogies—that’s been copiously explained to him already*.  No, he just popped in to snark and drop a few “shellfish arguments” into a thread and to gloat and tell people to find another country.

I addressed the fact that in his comment he was trolling [I would like to point out as a minor subpoint that I did not call him a troll in that comment, and the title of this post was added by another SF blogger].

To double down on the sloppy use of ad hominem, let’s suppose I called you “a fat bald troglydite” right now on this thread, right in the midst of our exchange.  I lose my temper and I bellow “why, you fat bald troglydite you!!!!”

NOW . . . everybody on this thread should come down on my head for that.  It would be grossly insulting and a wrong thing for me to say such a thing, and entirely unprovoked, too, even if you were indeed a fat bald troglydite. Further, not only would it reveal how unkind I was to say this on a thread, but it would also reveal my shallow values—like being fat and bald is somehow a really really awful thing!  So it would be very revealing for me to say such a thing.

It would be an insult.

Greg Griffith would probably enter the thread. I’d be called down by all my fellow SF blogging buddies and calmed down privately via skype.

Greg would probably usher me away from the thread, and I would be in disgrace.

But in no way would that be my offering an “ad hominem argument.”  An “ad hominem argument” would be my offering something like this: “why, why—you’re nothing but a fat bald troglydite, what could you possibly know about trolling behavior or Brian’s comments!!!!”

That’s an ad hominem argument, though rather crude I must say.  Most ad hominem arguments are more subtle, as for instance, along the lines of liberal activist women claiming that a man’s argument against abortion is entirely wrong because he’s a man, and What Do Men Know About Women’s Wombs.

Further, Brian has been commenting, as I said, on T19 for years now.  In the first four years of his commenting, he commented substantively and in detail.  I disagreed with almost every word , every primary principle, that he stated. Plus, we clearly didn’t share the same faith by any standard, despite the fact that both of us are in the Episcopal Church.  But there was no way he was a troll.

He was a rare honest, revisionist activist who didn’t try any cheap sophistry, or rhetorical sleight of hand to make arguments. He was straight up, and that made, actually, the stark differences between us very clear and obvious.  The chasm was huge, but I had a lot of respect for Brian.

Only in the past two years has he sunk to the trolling level in his comments.  I have no idea why. But he tries all the little cheap tricks that the most dishonest deconstructionists tried, including prancing into threads and dropping obviously silly and debunked boilerplate—stuff that he would have acknowledged was debunked five years ago—but mostly he just trolls and snarks and gloats if ever there is some lib victory.  It accomplishes nothing—it’s gotten to a point where people respond less to him because of the trolling.

I think that’s really sad, and I have no idea why he behaves like that.

In response to those commenters above who have speculated about why people troll—I don’t think Brian is a garden-variety troll.  Most trolls arrive on blogs in “full flower”—their main goal, because they themselves are so angry, is to try to get other people angry as well.  Hence the poop bombs.  It’s like flashers trying to get shocked responses from unwilling viewers.

Brian didn’t start out that way in any respect.

We had a commenter over here like that.  He was a liberal.  He commented substantively over the years.  I basically disagreed with most everything that he said, although I admit I didn’t read much later on of what he said since I wasn’t interested, so we had very few exchanges.

And then suddenly he started popping in on threads, denouncing all the commenters as ignorant and uninformed, and then leaving.  Eventually he got banned.

The only reason I can come up with for why people become trolls after long years of substantive informed honest commenting is that perhaps they have personal disappointments in their lives and they “turn” angry, and that’s their way of venting.

I don’t know—I can’t come up with another good reason.

Finally, just to be clear once again.  I’ve had comments deleted, comments edited, all sorts of things happen to me on blogs.  Blog moderation is a tough job and every blog has different standards, some tighter than ours, some a sight looser.  Where there are those which have standards or commenters that I want no part of, I don’t comment.  But I don’t think I would describe my comment at T19 as “so viciously attacked by voracious elves.”  Let’s not go overboard here—a comment deletion is not that big a deal. If I threw up a post every time I had a comment deleted, I’d be posting one every week!  ; > )  I posted this because it’s about trolling; I don’t like it, and I call it out when I see it, especially when somebody has demonstrated over and over that he is capable of commenting substantively, honestly, and thoughtfully [although, again, almost always entirely wrong!]

As much as I would enjoy a little Elf Stew, or Marinated Elf [a mixture of lime, olive oil, soy, worcestershire, and diced garlic is perfect for Elf as long as they are not too stringy or tough], I recognize why the Elves do what they do.

[14] Posted by Sarah on 6-29-2012 at 12:53 PM · [top]

Is there a difference between how conservative sites handle trolls and how liberal sites handle them? Or can liberal sites tell the difference between a troll and their usual commenter?

[15] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-29-2012 at 01:42 PM · [top]

or was that just an ad hominem trollish comment?

[16] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-29-2012 at 01:44 PM · [top]

Much of what I know about trolls I learned here at SF in the early days of the site.

For that I thank you.  Seriously.  Thanks.

[17] Posted by Summersnow on 6-29-2012 at 04:16 PM · [top]

Any issues about trolls on this site are frankly dwarfed (pun unintentional) by what you see over at the Christian Post.  Read almost any one of their stories and then check out the comments.

I really don’t know why they allow the trolls to post over there, but evidently they’ve made a decision they are not going to police them.  However, the polls often outnumber the legitimate posters, and most of the time Christians posting there are going to find themselves being insulted, bullied and made fun of by non-believers, atheists and homosexuals.  A lot of it also seems orchestrated, almost as if the trolls have been assigned to do this by their respective organizations, whoever they are.  But there is a definite agenda to shout down the Christian message.

[18] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 6-29-2012 at 08:38 PM · [top]

I think the issue the poor trolls suffer from is one of ego.  They begin to believe they are actually experts in something, and that people make decisions based on their “wisdom” as expounded on the blogs.  That we would lend great credence to one comment or another because they made it.  The trolls have such obvious intellectual superiority that they can make sweeping statements and any who disagree merely demonstrate their own ignorance.  Well, in the mind of the troll, anyway.

We should probably stop calling them trolls, since a troll is something big, strong and dangerous (think Tolkein), and naming them such mixes the metaphor.  If we want to name them something, cockroach might be more appropriate- a rather nasty nuisance, that soils the area, but can be squashed relatively easily (and here I am thinking of the small northern brown roach, not those gargantuan flying things you have down south that are the size of a fruit bat and require bird shot or a tennis racket to bring down).
The original reference was to fishermen trolling their bait.  The question for the big fish in the lake is whether to ignore the bait, or grab it and pull the troller out of the boat.  The first is no doubt the appropriate, adult, polite thing to do, as when one politely ignores a guest at luncheon who confuses the salad and dessert forks.  But the second is a lot more fun.

[19] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-29-2012 at 08:49 PM · [top]

A lot of trolls are also spammers.  They partly wish just to shout down others and destroy any real conversation.  The value of trolls is they generally just repeat verbatim the absurd things they have been taught to say, the “shellfish argument” and “the Bible [or alternatively, Jesus] never anywhere says anything about being gay,” being two that immediately come to mind.  After a while you realize there is no intelligent thought going into what they are saying, they are just regurgitating the same things over and over again.

[20] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 6-29-2012 at 08:56 PM · [top]

Trip trap trip trap!
Who’s that walking over my bridge?

[21] Posted by MichaelA on 7-1-2012 at 06:10 PM · [top]

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