The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Pieces of Clay

    It is not actually a democracy such as the Athenians practiced but I wish to make the following proposition to the city of dagblog:

    That all participants be required to register before making comments on the site.
    I wish that this wasn't needed. It is a pity that one agent should bring about the Tragedy of the Commons. But that agent has set up a tent in the middle of the square and is rifling through the trash cans at night

    Well, the bowl is set before you, citizens. Throw in a piece of clay if you agree.


    I was wondering if that is required now.  

    I don't see a real down side to having such a requirement, if one trusts the site administrator(s), as I do, to retain confidentiality of identity and one's personal contact information, leaving any decision to disclose such information to the registrant. 

    I assume registering would not mean having one's real name attached to what one writes at the site, but would permit use of one's online handle for those who do so.  

    The only thing that has to be real is an email address, only visible to the site administrator.

    I prefer the site did not have to require registration for the sake of those comments that come through only because it was easy for someone. Dr Cleveland posts typically evince that sort of thing and I would hate to see them stop happening.

    Would prefer we worried about how to increase the community size -
    if we had more conversations, this type of stuff would be less an issue.

    We discuss the issues in front of us. Sometimes not the most important issues. As a general principle I would love to see the community increase in size. No one knows how to do that. I'm sure Wolraich did every thing he could think of to get more posters here without success. I would love to see a conservative like George Will or Buckley come here. Even David Brooks. Some one with conservative views who is capable of civil discourse. But if there were two more peters here I'd be gone.

    How to increase conversation, how to increase crowd size ... hmm.  Let's allow at least one disruptive voice to, I dunno, shake things up?  Allow them to upset (hopefully?) the few voices that remain because they'll ...what?  More conversation is a good thing, Peracles.  His type is not.  He's trolled my threads enough.  Worse, he's controlled them because others* just can't stop themselves from piling on to his nonsense.  I'm through with it.

    *eta: you included

    I don't see the value in this. The problem isn't that peter is unregistered. It's that I, and perhaps others, have a different opinion of what constitutes correct moderation. The idea is that one can say anything no matter how nasty about public figures or groups but not make personal attacks against other posters. While that rule is somewhat loosely applied it's generally followed. Peter generally follows that rule. He could register, not change at all, and still follow that rule.

    The problem is that if someone takes full advantage of that rule it's generally disruptive. Peter is disruptive to civil discourse here just like Trump is disruptive to civil discourse in America. Most of us don't do that. Rarely does anyone here call Trump tRump. In 2008 I never called Obama supporters Obamabots. I called them Obama's supporters. We might on some rare occasion call a politician a nasty nickname but mostly we call Cruz Cruz and republicans republicans. Most of us realize that constantly calling even hated political opponents insulting nicknames is disruptive to civil discourse.

    Trump realizes it to and so does peter. They both want to disrupt civil discourse and piss off their enemies. That's why they do it. It could be said we should just ignore peter's effort to disrupt the discussions on this site. It's been said many times in the news that liberals, the American public, mainstream media and pundits should ignore Trump's attempt to disrupt civil discourse with his twitter feed. That may be true but it's not a realistic solution. It ignores human nature and will never be implemented by enough people to make a difference.


    If you have to register, then you can banned. It happened when Wattree crossed a line. Peter just crossed a line with very personal remarks. I don't care about his copy and paste text infusion.

    Based on the number of posts by PP he's here often enough to delete comments pretty quickly. He chooses not to do that because of the tos rule I cited above. If he's unwilling to delete posts he'd be equally unwilling to ban registered users for the same offense.

    PP is not the site administrator. Your logic does not necessarily follow. I see the issue of personal denigration separately from all others. This isn't about what PP does or not do.

    It's seems obvious to me that PP is the hands on moderator at this point. It appears that Wolraich has delegated the day to day moderation to him. 

    If Wolraich wants speak on this matter, I will leave it to him. I am just a ditch, occasionally filled with water.
    I will only observe that banning someone only has to happen once. It is not something that comes up everyday.

    Wolraich needs to speak on this matter, as this is his space.  The fact that we are all ditches doesn't change the fact that that without us there is no need for water.

    PP is *a* site administrator/moderator, while AA generates the most content.
    Behind the scenes are the Gods of Olympus - not quite a democracy but almost -
    but they currently don't intrude much in the affairs of us mere mortals.
    (even though I'm on the masthead, think of me more as a Heracles than
    full-blown deity - i.e. I get to clean out the Augean stables, oh boy am I privileged.

    I still suspect our biggest problem is a lack of actual creative input over to the left
    (from "From the Readers" down through "From the Dagbloggers")
    and too much reacting to the news over there on the right.

    As long as we're just commenting on some external news piece,
    we're largely at the mercies of the normal back-and-forth entrenched
    opinions that infect pretty much all news these days - the "noise" *is*
    the message, the argument *isn't* to convince - it's not even to argue
    anymore, but simply to bog down into the swamp and move on,
    to render the opponent speechless or put into a loop.

    We also have a pretty tiny community here as well - driving people
    away doesn't feel like a great strategy, even if we're very optimistic &
    think these are the weeds that keep us from growing.
    I don't have any big desire to be a Huffpost or even FiredogLake,
    but a bit more diverse and vibrant participation would be nice.

    Anyway, our "problem" is under examination.

    I've said before that it seems that "we" are relying too much on the news topics to drive the site.  Reader's blogs have disappeared, as have the Masthead contributions.  Posts at the Creative Corner are ignored, and though that's not unusual it's a real shame.  

    So we seem to agree, Peracles, at least about that.  AA generates the most content because she generates the most news articles.  I've also complained that the site since her return has become nothing more that a rejuvenation of news links - that's always been her thing and isn't something she should apologize for or concern herself with - but we seem to have followed suit (myself heartily included).  But is this or that what moat, I or others are finding problematic?  Look closer.

    I don't really care if there are ten of us posting here, as long as there isn't an eleventh one thrown in who is allowed to screw with us for no legitimate reason.

    As I've intimated before, we're pretty good at trolling ourselves even without Peter. I can get rid of him, sure, but what about the rest?
    I don't think it's about AA - it's hard to be creative with the current news cycles on us - I used to knock out 400-500 word essays no problem, but now it feels like there's too much distraction with the latest scandal and hysteria.

    As for Creative Corner, not sure how that's been ignored?

    I should have put my post about music into the Creative Corner. I'm not used to blogging and I forgot. My mistake. It actually got more replies than I expected. I thought it would sink like a lead balloon.

    I love the disagreement among people who follow politics and simply have different ideas about what should or shouldn't happen. That's what we have, to a degree, and what I'd like to see more of to a larger degree. We don't troll each other, we argue.  Someone who deliberately tries to spark dissension without any other purpose is an unnecessary distraction.   

    No, it's not about Arta, and I think I said that.  And yes, writing a unique piece that someone somewhere hasn't already hit on is difficult, at best. If I had a dime for every keystroke I'd deleted I'd be a wealthy woman.

    Creative Corner is always ignored because it just is - but that it exists is enough, sometimes.  But it may not always be.

    The problem with the Creative Corner is the problem of too few posters. There's maybe a dozen of us, maybe as many as 20. We all are interested in politics. I'm also interested in music but maybe only 20% of us are. At least at the level I want to discuss it. A few of us are interested in poetry but I'm not. I like to play World of Warcraft and could have fun talking about it. Probably no one else here plays or cares about WOW. Some are interested in cooking, I'm not. If there were 100 posters there would likely be 10 interested in every other topic. But with just 12 of us.....

    Arta once compared us to a local community book club. I've been in three book clubs over the years depending on where I lived. Every community I lived in had a book club that I eventually discovered and joined. They all had the same problem dagblog has. Too few members. It's a tough problem to solve.

    I don't think peter is the cause of that problem. I doubt that eliminating him will increase the number of posters. But I don't think he contributes. He's just like Trump. He plays the same games Trump plays. He disrupts civil dialog the same way Trump does. As long as he continues to insult us in every single post by pretending he's just insulting a "group" I, and others, will get pissed and react. I at least could deal with contrary views if he would simply stop insulting us in every post. It can be done. George Will writes articles that I never miss and never agree with without insulting anyone. David Brooks has a weekly conversation on PBS with Mark Shields that is civil. William F. Buckley had numerous debates with liberals without using insulting nick names. 

    Sigh, I gave up on solving this problem long ago. Dag actually has incredible retention. We launched the blog 10 years ago, and most of us have been around since then or close to it. That's pretty amazing when you think about it. But I've never figured how to bring in new contributors, so attrition is gradually wearing us down despite the loyalty of the regulars.

    And while I'm at it ...

    No, never mind.  I just don't think it matters ... which is the saddest thing of all.

    Hi Moat, I discussed this with other mods. As O-K pointed out up-thread, Peter (unverified) mostly follows the rules about personal attacks. He did violate the ToS in that Warren thread, but frankly, so did a few others, and I don't feel up to parsing out every comment that crossed the line in that thread. Certainly, it seems like overkill to block all unregistered comments just to ban Peter.

    Something I've never understood about the web, even back in my TPM Cafe days, is why people waste their time and energy on trolls. "Don't feed the trolls," goes the old cliche, as if feeding trolls is so enticing that one has to actively resist the urge. I find that genuinely puzzling. Why would you be tempted to argue with people like that in the first place? Mocking trolls is occasionally amusing, but arguing with them is just annoying and pointless.

    I've asked several times on my threads for people not to engage Peter for the very reasons you mention.  You know what?  Being human seems to get in the way - ask Peracles.  He's been one of the most human. 

    So, no, Michael, until you're involved via his presence on your posts repeatedly and his comments to you on those or others, we'll not expect you to understand.  I won't personally expect you to care when a piece I've written or a news item I've posted is disrupted by his propaganda.  I guess I should just blame it on the other eight people here for falling for his crap.  Got it.

    There are very view contributors here, Michael.  Don't throw us away.

    Barefoot, you think I've never been trolled? Peter ain't got nothing on the trolls that used to pillage TPM Cafe. And my op-eds at used to draw hundreds of vulgar personal insults. If these were real people that I knew and respected, I would find it upsetting, but who cares about what anonymous randos say? I know this may sound dismissive, but I don't mean it that way. I'm genuinely curious. Why do you care what Peter (unverified) writes?

    I remember TPM Cafe.  Quite well.

    I don't care about Peter.  I care that he's allowed to spew his shit here.  You didn't control the places you inhabited before, but you control this one.

    Sure, we could block unregistered comments. But is it a worthwhile tradeoff?

    First of all, I'm not talking about blocking "unregistered comments" - I think we're discussing a particular unregistered commenter.  So when it's a matter of specific people (your registered group) vs. a problematic person (unregistered), then yeah.  It's worthwhile.

    I think his point is that he would either have to block all unregistered comments by anyone to get peter's or he'd have to delete each individual comment by peter that was problematic. The first  is overly broad the second is very time consuming.

    He should be able to block that one person.

    eta- There are very specific ways to block a person from using your site, registered or not.

    (see response below)

    You write for CNN or similar sites to express your views to the public, or to garner publicity for your books, or to affect the larger political conversation. You don't to it to spark a discussion that you want to be involved in. You're an author. We come here mostly to discuss. The size of the site makes us somewhat intimates. We're looking for "friends" or at least friendly acquaintances to chat/debate politics with. It's a totally different thing and that difference makes trolling much more disruptive. 

    Most comment sections at most sites make it almost impossible to have a dialog. One can't follow the conversations. There's no clear threads.  it's just an unconnected series of statements. The set up of this site is unusual that we can see who is talking to who and follow the conversation. I'm sure you know that and set it up this way.

    In 2008 when the trolling got so bad at TPM because there was no moderation at all I was very close to leaving the site. Josh got someone to do a little moderation to stop some of the worst behavior so I stuck around until he decided to shut down the reader's section. Moderation is hard. It can be a lot of work and most people will disagree with the decisions. For some it will be too much for others too little and never just right. I sympathized with Josh and you and PP.

    Of course, the quality of the discussions at dag are important to me. I actually did leave TPM Cafe in 2008, not because of the trolls but because of all the personal feuds--the endless flame wars and arguments about who disrespected who. IMHO, the personal bullshit has always been a much greater threat to meaningful discussion than random trolls spouting off. Trolls can be ignored, but loyal contributors who hate each other can't be. That's why dag has held such a firm line against ad hominem attacks.

    That said, I don't think Peter brings anything to the table, and I would be happy for him to fuck off--as PP so eloquently put it. I just don't know a good way to do it without blocking non-registered comments.

    Require registration after a certain number of free comments.

    But here's the thing Michael. I think peter engages in ad hominem attacks in every post. That's what pisses me off. Others here may have a different view. It would be like me going to a conservative site and always using repuglicans, because I find them so repugnant. That would surely piss them off, as would be my intention, even if I occasionally said I didn't mean all republicans. Certainly not the other members on the site. Just the repugnant republicans.

    Shapiro likes to play that game. He pretends to be an intellectual who makes rational criticisms of the left. But he constantly insults liberals often using strawman arguments that portray us as fools. It's all for the entertainment of his fans who love to hear their heroes insult the left. Once in a blue moon to try to maintain his intellectual cred he'll explain that when he says liberals he just means the most extreme of the far left, merely the fringe. Not rational democrats like us. So why are we offended? 

    If I'm hanging out with a group and someone is constantly farting I'll ignore it for a while. But sooner or later I'm going to mention the stink.

    And you'll leave the group if they say it's you're problem.

    FWIW, and I say that as an intro because I feel that what I think on this really doesn't matter that much. As in: much ado about nothing.

    Personally, Peter's latest commenting didn't bother me in the least, nor do most of his comments, especially because he is like a caricature of himself and doesn't act like a real person. He's like a strange SNL character that mixes Trumpism with SDS lingo from the 60's. And when I reply to him, it's only when it's on a news topic where I feel I have totally gotten my understanding all figured out, so then it's  like an effortless entertaining diversion.

    I think of him like a robot troll, not a real one. Or like a nasty pet we've got to kick around when he appears. I've seen much worse in my time. I find it perversely entertaining at the level he has been participating. It would probably be much more aggravating at a higher participation level.

    On a strict moderation level, I don't think his attack was any more personal than mine to him, as I called most of his comments here stupid. (Note I did not call him stupid directly.)

    I actually find it much more insidious and aggravating when someone is trying to seriously spin the news according to an agenda or some world view. Rather than just regurgitate talking points like Peter does. I do think some people do that here from time to time.

    A few other comments to try to clarify my own participation:

    I am here to share developing news with a small group and get the input of a few good minds on analyzing developing news. Interest in the news has been one of my favorite hobbies for decades, predating the internet.  I have near zero interest in political activism and feel that political activists usually have a serious confirmation bias problem addressing the news. But I also feel that when political spinners chose to chime in on a news item, I can learn something from how they react, as in: a little focus group.

    It's not as enjoyable reading it alone without input from others, it's just that simple. I learned long ago that trying to do share my interest in news with meatspace friends or family was a recipe for aggravation and stress and that doing it with a small group on the net was instead a mostly pleasurable way to get the interaction I like. I never had any desire to do it under my real name as under a pseudonym, I can keep my interpretations private, and don't have to make excuses or hedge what I say, so I enjoy it more

    Likewise with using a much larger site: you end up with too much sturm and drang in the commenting.

    Yes it's like a book club. One could also compare it to a senior or graduate seminar. Both groups are designed small for a reason.

    I'm probably unusual in that I am not much interested in reading original amateur content in blog punditry on news and politics. Why would I want to do that when there is so much quality available by the pros and prestigious prize winners in journalism and writing that I can only get to a small percentage of that? To me that's like teaching, where you have to grade the student papers and make suggestions and give false praise when you see it would help. People get paid for that because it's not always fun.

    I have had the luxury of being able to spend a lot of time on my hobby here the last year but I will not always be able to do that, wherever it is. No one should read anything into me pulling back from time to time except that real life has intervened. Because as one masthead person said to me when I met him in person a year or two ago: all the stuff about member behavior: it just doesn't matter. Most of us aren't even using our real names, and he does.

    Okay.  I just don't care anymore.

    No one should read anything into me pulling back from time to time except that real life has intervened. Because as one masthead person said to me when I met him in person a year or two ago: all the stuff about member behavior: it just doesn't matter. Most of us aren't even using our real names,

    Why do you think that is his or her actual name? I am not convinced it is the same person each time. Anyone can write the stuff.

    I object to the idea that writing anonymously means that behavior becomes less important. What I say and do here is no different than if you all knew my real name. I always assume the same is true for others unless something happens that causes doubt.

    I am learning in this discussion that we all have different ideas about what is the limit of acceptable speech and we all deal with those limits in different ways. The range surprises me and is something I need to mull over for a while.

    Could you or the masthead person you met who said this clarify what was meant by "all the stuff about member behavior?"  The stuff that doesn't matter.

    Oh no, not more meta. I think we've talked about ourselves and the site enough.

    All right then.  I will let it go.

    I'm probably unusual in that I am not much interested in reading original amateur content in blog punditry on news and politics. Why would I want to do that when there is so much quality available by the pros and prestigious prize winners 

    It's a bit like "why go to local galleries or watch local bands or local poetry readings"? You can divide up your attention however you like, from none or some to all. Similarly, you can ignore the more original material on the left side of the blog and stick with news items - most people will comment on both anyway. The "Creative Corner" got spurts of interest here and there, but was never a mainstay. But from my view, it's all a bit bare feeling if there's only one sectiion or another (e.g. Digby or Emptywheel or a newsfeed version of that), and I used to find the news blips would feed into inspiration for longer content. In any case, YMMV or Do What Thou Wilt.


    Most of us aren't professional writers and the quality of our work is uneven. But sometimes we'll put up a blog post that's as good or better than the stuff I'm reading on the pros news sites. Sometimes from a different angle with a different point of view with references that I might not be well versed in. If there were 20 or 30 new blogs every day I wouldn't read them all but I have time to read a few a day, and we don't even get that many. We're hanging out so I'm interested in hearing what you all are thinking about, what you have to say, and what you're interested in. I'd like to see more readers blogs.

    Good, better, or just different. I sometimes listen to odd music just because it's... odd. I sat in a bar one night where all the music was 70s-90's pre-selected top-rated faves through the years - it was very disconcerting. Kinda like a paint-by-numbers guide to sex (or anything else). Guess my Google ratings-dar is functional.

    Sometimes the comment threads are the most interesting, mainly because even the few of us find something to say.  And when we talk to each other, it has a way of being grand.

    Nah, leave Peter alone. If they bring him down next they'll  go for me and I'll be left with smoke signals. 

    I do sometimes wish some of the really valuable voices weren't  somewhat less  inclined to hone  knives for one another. Still it at least  diverts them from dispassionately ,sort of, assessing the real estate  I comfortably  occupy.And occupy. And

    Nevertheless .Attempting to squirm  to the occasion I did toy with resurrecting  Tom Lehrer's  "boy scouts' promised creed not to write naughty words on walls  that they can't  spell ". But elected  the praeteritio treatment cause I don't have the  Latin for the spellin unless Moat or (Peter?) comes  to my assistance.


    I was pretty angry with you when you suggested we shouldn't hate Trump supporters. That sort of offensive commentary has no place in a civil society. Perhaps tar and feathers is a bit much (not) but at least being run out of town on the rail seems appropriate.devil

    First they came for the trolls...

    Then they came for the bridge.

    That's all water over the bridge - or would be if there were still a bridge.
    But do we know it was a troll bridge and not a toll bridge?
    I guess it doesn't matter since it's a gone bridge - not even suspense,
    no conclusions to draw. I guess we could look for a duplicate - 
    maybe even go for rubber bridge since it's likely to bounce back.
    Anyway, guess we won't cross that bridge when we come to it.

    Ever crossed a high bridge in dense fog?  Seems like you're moving into nothingness ... until you realize you've reached the end, after all.  Usually elicits a sigh of relief.

    Oh right, Bridge of Sighs, how could I forget...

    There's also a sense of appreciation for having made it, after all.

    Then there's the whole Thelma and Louise thing, but let's not go there.  Yet.

    And lest we forget, there's this:

    Well, the bowl is set before you, citizens. Throw in a piece of clay if you agree.


    Usually, when someone does something naughty and is banished from the kingdom, they achieve a kind of notoriety that they were probably angling for all the while. Being the mean little woman I am, I would not give them that satisfaction. 

    Hence, I shall hold onto my piece of clay for the time being.

    For what it is worth, when I am reading a comment and come across the word "snowflake" I know immediately who the commenter is and stop reading. I do not have time for shit disturbers. 

    Thank you for not taking the low road and casting your lot with the mini mob. As you wrote anyone can ignore what I write just as I ignore some of the hate directed my way here. It's quite amazing to see a whole thread dedicated to me but I won't let it go to my head, Ha. It was telling reading Moat's channeling of a Greek democrat to urge the mini mob to use coercion to force compliance so my voice could be banned from the Dagdom. Some people here must realize that this manipulative use of the group over the individual is why so many people are rejecting today's liberalism as degenerate and anti-democratic. Allowing people to speak freely is allowing people to think freely which is the root of liberty even if what they say is wrong or even evil. This liberty we enjoy is rare in the world and must be cherished and defended. It's been depressing watching the Left abandon and attack free speech in the pursuit of raw power to impose arrogant elitist conformity. I love the beauty and power of words and use the harmless word snowflake as a mirror. Some people are terrified to look in that mirror because they will see some truth reflected and are unable to face that truth.

    Peter, spare me the Patrick Henry theatrics. Your freedom of speech may not be infringed by the Federal government, but (as any libertarian knows) a private website is under no obligation to publish a damn thing that the editors choose not to publish. The friendly editors of dagblog choose to support diversity of expression but that extends only to constructive dialogue intended to persuade other contributors, not provocations designed to infuriate people. We've had thoughtful dissenters here from both the left and the right, and I've done my best to protect them from abuse, but you haven't shown yourself to be a thoughtful or constructive dissenter. You bring nothing to the table beyond insults and provocations. I suggest that this is an excellent moment for Peter (unverified) to bid us good-bye and move on to some other pasture.

    Whether an insult is true or false people will react angrily when insulted. I don't like Cruz or any of his policies but I don't think he lies anymore than the average politician and much less than Trump. Yet Cruz reacted with anger when Trump called him lyin' Ted. He got angry when insulted even though the insult was false. I think Heidi Cruz is a reasonably attractive women. Both Heidi and her husband reacted with anger when Trump called her ugly. Most of the many women Trump called "dog" and "cow" are physically attractive. They all got angry when insulted with these lies.

    Don't pretend your insults are insightful or spot on because people get angry when insulted.That's just another lie you use to insult us. It's human nature to react to insults with anger. Whether true or false. You're just like Trump. All you bring here is lies and insults. 

    Your insults are small, stupid, and trivial. At first I just laughed them off. But they are constant and annoying. Insults are all you being to the table and eventually that will piss people off. What kind of sickness or anger are you holding on to that you would waste your time coming here just to insult us to get us angry?

    Peter, you're a jackass and you prove it again. Of course there's more to liberty than quick release insulting brain farts in a public forum - there's an App for that. Speaking freely and stupidly doesn't even require "thinking" - if you "loved the beauty and power of words" you'd use some more interesting ones besides "Snowflake" over and over. The closest you get to "truth" is watching A Few Good Men reruns and whacking off to Demi Moore in a tank top. So seriously, go fuck yourself, but elsewhere. Some things are too gross to consider.

    Let me see what is in the bowl. There are two clay pieces and one gum wrapper. There is also a clay piece balanced on the rim. It is not looking good for my proposition.

    There also doesn't seem to be any consensus on how to respond to trolls. Some say starve them, others want to put out little trays of kibble.

    I want to thank my fellow citizens for considering the proposal. I particularly want to thank barefooted for proposing an alternative version that would permit some unregistered comments but not allow someone to simply move into the basement.

    Seeing as how loosey goosey things are here, I am lifting my self imposed ban on quoting Søren Kierkegaard. Girls just want to have fun.

    Michael and masthead folks, thank you for grappling with this matter and proposing a resolution. 

    What I am not hearing anyone push back on is:  Peter unverified, no one else here indicates that they believe you are making this place better, in any way.  Michael is entirely correct in pointing out that your first amendment rhetoric is not applicable here, and you have no legal entitlement to have your stuff posted here.  I hope you will take the hint and just move on.  If you do continue to post here I will not read what you submit or respond.  Given what has been expressed in this thread, I don't feel it's respectful to the decent regulars who are here and are understandably ticked off when their threads get hijacked, to respond to your stuff going forward.   

    Dreamer, I appreciate your avocation for the starvation response. I will follow suit.

    I hope he'll just leave, and in so doing make our individual decisions about how/whether to respond to him a moot point going forward.  If he chooses to stay, we can choose to make him, here, a ghost. 

    Whether an invisible one or a visible one, a ghost either way.      

    That's a tough one for me. I know I'm triggered by insults, probably more than anyone else here. I'm triggered by cruelty whether against me or anyone. I'm triggered by racist and sexist remarks which in my mind are types of insults. I push back against it all, hard. I don't like leaving that type of behavior unchallenged. I've never been the type to be silent but if everyone here ignores the troll, I'll try.

    I appreciate your willingness to try to accommodate Michael's preferred way to handle the situation.  I hope others will also try to refrain from engaging if he continues. 

    I'll say this, though: I make no promises on keeping mum on the issue of a potential ban or some other approach if this does not work.

    Just want to note that wabby and barefooted asked for this too.
    It is hard.

    Yes, it's a long term disagreement about web behavior. Several people here, maybe most, believe the best way to deal with trolls is to not feed them. I don't. The theory is if there is no interaction he will go away. But what if he doesn't? What if our silence allows him to escalate? Then his shit is in our house unchallenged. Silence gives consent. I'll follow the crowd on this one. That's something I never do. It's a sign of the respect I have for the people here that I will try. It's a bigger concession for me than you realize.

    It is never wrong to point out gaps in a report. When someone reports something that is incorrect, that should be noted. That is different from engaging with a narrative where you have already died.

    Thanks for giving the theory a go today. I am answering here to your comment quoted below in order to keep the city streets clear of meta. I understand your skepticism, I share it. It is tough when the moderators are not on board with the project.
    I am looking at it as a matter of opportunity cost. The method may not vaporize the provocateur but perhaps will let the conversation go in a different direction.
    I say let's keep giving it a try. Practice makes perfect.


    ocean-kat: The theory behind the Don't Feed the Troll strategy is that trolls crave attention and will eventually leave if shunned. So you are giving him what he wants according to that theory. Now remember, I have never subscribed to that theory. What I find so interesting is Arta has been the longest most vigorous advocate of that theory all the time she's been here yet she's among the first to feed the troll after we had a long discussion and even I agreed to go with the crowd and refrain from posting to it. That it will never be implemented by enough people is one of the reasons I believed the theory would not work. That's not a critique of anyone. Just an observation. Nor is it a suggestion as I don't think the Don't Feed the Troll strategy will work even if everyone does it. Trolls only respond to moderation, because they have no choice. Posts need to be delete. Trolls banned. That's my theory for the only effective measure to deal with trolls.

    Me saying "I told ya so" probably isn't the most encouraging words needed in this situation.

    Keep checking the bowl,

    as you can never be sure

    of the latest count.


    I’m not as active here as I used to be. Mostly because of work. But if I can add my two cents, I think Peter is a side issue. I like seeing people engaging trolls from time to time, it demonstrates an unfailing faith in the ultimate humanity and decency of anonymous strangers looking for some/any connection with others on the net, even of that connection is merely a verbal slap in the face. If there were a change here, I would like it to be merely in terms of breadth of interest. I have been fascinated by three or four threads on id politics, but the fifth I’ll skip. Ditto for Trump-is-terrible, or the left-center debate in the dem party. I’ll always read Dickday or PP’s riffs or AA’s cultural raps (always requiring deep dives in threads). But a lot here is rehashed talking points and circle jerks. Even if the content is news commenting, we can broaden the news we comment. That’s all I got. 

    I display more respect for what he is doing in my effort to have him stop than you do encouraging him to continue.

    Not sure my words should be seen as encouraging. Just some thoughts for other avenues of engagement and exchange more broadly within the community.

    I agree with the spirit of your second sentence. I was referring to:

    " it demonstrates an unfailing faith in the ultimate humanity and decency of anonymous strangers looking for some/any connection with others on the net, even of that connection is merely a verbal slap in the face."

    Those motives are not applicable to the particular poster I am objecting to. I have gone to considerable effort to track the rhetoric back to its sources. but, whatever.

    I am tired. I am going away for a little bit. I will see you all after several moons. I need to remove some arrows from my heart, to quote a certain Poet.

    Ok point taken. I’ve obviously missed alot around here. Don’t stay away too long, Moat. You’ve always lent some luster to this place. Without you this place will be like Seinfeld without Julia Louis Dreyfuss. 

    Yes, moat's participation is to be cherished, the insights invaluable, both on big picture reality and meta on the site. I'd go with making moat the dear leader autocrat here anytime and be quite happy with it. (It remains to be seen, however, with this thread, how good he is on herding cats into democratic formation.)

    Perhaps it's both - do better at managing the troll(s), plus expand the content/lower repetitiveness/increase signal-to-noise ratio.

    I'll see you there.

    Knowing you're being boring is s good skillset, I'd surmise.

    oh, look,  it's obiwan!  how nice to (virtually) see you again.  is life good for you and your new miz obey?  (i'll try to remember to come back in case you answer...)

    Hey Wendy! Times are good but hectic. Moved to Brussels this summer. Good food good music scene. So-so weather. 

    good-o, then.  brussels, home of nato HQ?  great on dagbloggedness, lol.

    European legislative and executive institutions are based here too. The great Belgian empire. ;)

    Somehow they can rule the rest of Europe, but can't manage to form their own government. Even the "French fries" there are arguably Flemish.

    Not sure they need a central government. The country is perfectly segregated administratively down to individual schools. No one actually self-identifies as Belgian. They are either from Flanders or from Brussels. Course there's the south but no one much thinks of them generally. They could dissolve the central government and nothing would change. 

    Sounds like someone who doesn't see social cohesion or any kind of ethnic or linguistic unity as valuable to a nation. You must be one of those crypto-anarchists we've been hearing so much about. (BTW, they *did* dissolve the central government and nothing much changed)

    I think people here are missing the point. What's the problem?

    I’m not as active here as I used to be.

    An abdication of social responsibility. Why is this happening?

     Mostly because of work.

    A single minded pursuit of money.

    But if I can add my two cents

    Despite a vast increase in wealth from increased work he's only willing to contribute two cents to the common good. I think we can all agree that Obey is the main problem at dagblog and probably the reason Trump was elected.

    Lol. Rebuked with kindness and care and sentence-by-sentence rebuttal. 10 out of 10 for dagbloggedness. 

     you hit on precisely what I dislike the most: rehashed talking points and circle jerks.

    This is just about me now, talking about my selfish personal interests, as a customer of this website, not about what's good for the site or any other members.

    I am at the point in my life where I've been through a lot, there's little time left, so it's time to be selfish about enjoying things, and no longer care so much about things like working towards pie in the sky dreams.

    I don't care if rehashed talking points are liberal or conservative, I dislike both equally. I will not be very interested in staying at a site that has too much of that. Precisely because those doing it are giving up their individuality to follow a leader furnishing those talking points and not thinking for themselves. I don't learn a damn thing from it and I am not fired up by talking points, I'm not a politically partisan person

    I DO on the other hand want to hear what those writing the talking points think about manipulating people. Because: they are the smart ones.

    After I got experience long ago talking to "trolls" behind the kafaybe curtain, I learned they could be interesting real people who may indeed be thinking for themselves. They are just addicted to getting a high out of getting a rise out of their political enemies.

    I don't mind reading what trolls really think (instead of the agitprop they spew with an agenda in mind)  if it's intelligent. Getting them to break the kafaybe of the addiction to partisan games is hard because they are usually quite addicted.

    Peter seemed to be able to break from it quite easily and become a human (though still angry and partisan.) He is relatively interesting to interact with when he does, for me he has been far less aggravating to interact with than the few who push unsophisticated rehashed liberal talking points. To be clear: I found him less aggravating then some other interactions here. That's just the simple truth.

    I don't mind his cracks about snowflakes, to me that is no different than yelling about Trumpies. I don't want to lie about this kind of stuff anymore, because I now feel that to think this is anything other than a social exchange is foolish.

    I realize he aggravates some others to no end, but he just doesn't affect me that way. I don't have answers for others, only myself. And all I was doing is trying to be truthful about how he doesn't aggravate me much at all. Even his agitprop mode can be interesting if not repeated often.

    Doesn't mean I'll defend him if banned. More like just the opposite: I am all in favor of a moderated site so I will follow whatever who is in charge wants, whether it's boss style or majority rule. But as for personal taste, I find some of his participation slightly interesting even if I thoroughly disagree with it and wish to tear his points apart.

    Already wrote too much on this. I really do agree it's just not that important: really, it's just a website where most of us are using pseudonyms, and everyone is pretty much obeying the rules to not make personal threats.

    People have talked about trolls before and said some of the same things you've said. I can imagine a moment of interest in having an honest discussion with a troll to get some insight into their motivations. But that moment of interest would be fleeting for me. So they don't really believe the things they post. They really do just want to get people angry. That's not enough information for me.

    I can be pushed to insult someone. I can be pushed to react angrily. But that's not what I want to do. It's not fun for me. It's just a more complex and sophisticated way for me to say Fuck You and walk away. That's what I really want to do in that situation. In real life that's what I do. I simply cut people out of my life when they bother me. I don't have to react to their crap because I never expose myself to it. I can't do that here. To walk away from a troll here I'd have to walk away from the site. 

    I'm so different from trolls like peter that I can't understand them. For a troll to tell me they just want to piss people off isn't an answer. The real question, the deeper question, is why would you want to do that? Why would anyone want to spend the precious hours of their life saying insulting crazy shit to get people angry? I doubt that any of these trolls have spent enough time in introspection to answer that question. I can only see it as some form of a mental illness. I can't see how it would be interesting to talk to someone who is mentally ill about the manifestations of their craziness. Perhaps that's fun for some people but I'm not a psychologist.

    Because he's smart, it's intellectual interplay. And I do believe he likes Trump's economics, that is honest opinion, and like you when you say you'd like to see more variety in opinion around here, that interests me, why someone might feel that way.

    But I tire of it quickly if he doesn't break he bullshit kayfabe.he usually comes to spew.

    Let me be clear: I really have no major interest in protecting or defending him. At all. Period.

    I was just saying he bothers me a lot less than some others around here who I think drag the level of conversation here way down and I do find a big waste of my time.I am regretting even interacting with this politely with this person more and more. I'm done pandering to that person. That has been a big waste of my time, major. I come here 1) to collate and share news that interests me 2) for intellectual stimulation on analysis of the news. If it gets me thinking about stupid stuff, drags me down to the left version of Trump, I am not the moderated moderator I was once, no more mrs. nice gal. That's over. I've seen groups dragged down to lowest common denominator. If it's anger on my part though, it's about being too tolerant of poor quality input, repetitive demagogic partisan crap.

    When you said you dislike partisans, that that drove you nuts at TPMCafe, I guess you meant something different than I do when I say I dislike partisans. I dislike the partisan rah rah or bashing of a political candidate or a party, the spin. I don't consider bashing "snowflakes" as the same thing. That's targeting and bashing a certain kind of ideology and way of thinking, that's not bashing a political.candidate or party. Now he's not been very clear about his definition of that, and I from that I suspect a little bit of craziness as in reading too many conspiracy minded writing. In which case, I'm not interesting in interacting. But theoretically, on principle, someone saying they dislike snowflake thinking, and bashing it, that wouldn't bother me,  it would be no different than bashing Trumpology.

    P.S. I would like to add that Michael has given the precious gift here of a space where he is not anxious to grow the audience to get more clicks to pay for it. When you have to do that, that's what really gets you into the lowest common denominator unless you have expensive moderation like the NYTimes website does. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, I think it's good to demand high quality participation, to expect that this is an exclusive club and we are going to be tough with each other about sloppy thinking and commentary and should it also happen-garbage news.. Just like we would be with students if one were teaching a class. Everyone's going to define that different, but that's okay, I think it will still work. Demanding quality eventually draws more quality participation, just not in numbers. This whole thread is the kind of thing that's a good exercise once in a while.

    Edit to add: I will never be ashamed of admitting that I am an elitist who wants a place to hang around with the grad students as opposed to the high school sophomores. And I expect those who have more knowledge than me on a topic will stiffly criticize me if I am saying something stupid and tell me in no uncertain terms that I am playing over my head. Because that's how you learn both things about things and how to communicate better with people, how to hone your communication skills. If someone is taking something you are saying wrong, it's your problem, not theirs

    Let a thousand flowers bloom.

    Except the ones that are happening to annoy me that day . Where did Big Brother leave the  "Memory Hole"

    when we need it ?

    these people run a fairly intelligent, respected & long lived website of South American news focus (where passions might run higher than here). They just instituted moderating comments to up the admitted lousy quality problem they had with those, check out the stated policy, it's interesting with good word choices

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