February 07, 2005
What to do about the anonymous moonbat trolls?
This is an informal consulation for other Sound Politics contributors and our readers.
What do folks feel we should do about the anonymous moonbat trolls in the comments section?
I actively encourage an open discussion and a variety of facts and viewpoints. I actively encourage readers to correct my mistakes. I seek to learn things from people who disagree with me. But there's also a point where you have to wonder whether anonymous trolls who add no new information to a discussion are worth the amount of bandwidth they consume.
Of course, I'm well within rights and editorial judgment to ban the anonymous moonbat trolls. This is a private website, there is no obligation of any kind to offer a free bathroom wall for any idiot to post nonsense and gratuitous insults under the cover of anonymity.
I rarely but occasionally have banned commenters for obscenity, deceit or over-the-top obnoxiousness. I'm wondering how people feel about this. Should we be more or less tolerant of the anonymous moonbat trolls? I'm curious whether most readers feel the trolls add more to the discussion than they detract or vice versa. Any suggestions for what we might do to ensure a high quality of discussion in the comments?
Let me know what you think about the following suggestions:
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at February 07, 2005
05:38 PM | Email This
- go to a registration system for commenters, like TypeKey
- be more/less/equally tolerant of the anonymous moonbats
- make public every commenter's IP address (so at least people have some consistent identification)
- other ideas?
If it was my $$ that was paying for the bandwidth, I'd more than likely be a lot less tolerant of the trolls. Discussion is good when you are dealing with someone who understands and gives mutual respect, but all to often I see the same trolls spewing the same nonsense. It would be nice if we could police ourselves and just not "feed" them, but too many get suckered into it, hence your questions on what to do with them. I vote (for what its worth) for your third idea.
Sidenote: You're awesome, keep up the good work.
I like the idea of free speech however obnoxious it may be but the net does offer anonymity that most folks don't have have in reality. So I like your third solution of somewhat removing that cloak and exposing the senders to the light!
Informed debate is healthy. Having to defend ones views, especially deeply held views, helps one see the strengths and weaknesses in the argument.
Personally, I don't respond to anyone spouting nonsense, but I'll take on anyone with good questions, even though they hold a different viewpoint. Responding to proper political discourse, especially in writing, helps me form my thoughts more cohesively, and to understand how others can see things differently.
The only ones that bother me are the ones that repeat the same lunatic mantra over and over.
Epecially the ones that post almost incessantly, as if the more times they say it the more we will believe it.
I think the best method is if they are simply ignored, which is not easy to do.
Any other controls (like a moonbat filter) would be welcomed. Life is too short to waste time with people who only what to irritate and agitate.
5. That's a tough one Stefan. If you keep them from posting they will say that we are violating their freedom of speech and just don't want to hear other opinions. Personally, everytime I read one of their posts, I just imagine them drowning in the ignorance that is dripping from their tongues. I believe the best thing we can do is to not bite and simply ignore their stupid posts. I have come to expect nothing more from the Left because their brains can only get to a certain point and they can't complete the thought to form an intelligent opinion. If we quit feeding them, maybe they will go away on their own.
Remove the cloak....let the light shine in.
You have a high quality and very informative site. Since the election you have become, along with freerepublic-dot-com, one of my few daily staples. I don't think you should be obligated to accomodate members of the rabid left. Apart from the potential for humor they have nothing to add. I'd vote for being tolerant of considerate lefties--let their voice be heard here as long they can string together a logical argument without being rude. Not many posts by lefties will pass such a screen.
I heard a caller on Erin Hart's KIRO broadcast Saturday night claim some liberal blog site (with a 'kos' in the address) where a woman is responding to your disclosure of election problems point by point and supposedly refuting you. I am having trouble believing that your excellent reporting can be invalidated, but I'd enjoy see what a rabid lefty regards as such an attempt. Do you know the site?
8. Stefan, I would support any or all of these.
I always feel a bit of an outsider peering in when I post here since I'm not a resident of WA. However, for whats it worth, my suggestion is to avoid the 3rd option, the IP address option. That could become too open to abuse if open IP's are floating around there for anyone trolling by to pick up.
If you have the traffic to support it I would think a registration system would be ok. This would eliminate the drive by comments that serve no purpose at all. There will always be dissent and there should be. If someone takes the time to register here and post here repeatedly they probably have something worthwhile to say, regardless of whether its in line with the author's views.
My opinion only of course.
dkm - oregon
10. I like the Typekey sign-in option because it requires some responsibility. Those without any will usually avoid it.
11. Assuming your software permits it, delete the most offensive or repetetive of the moonbats, and leave the rest up... for comic relief! :D
Just FYI - as private citizens, we cannot violate anyone's right to free speech. That's because the protection as provided for by the constitution does not protect us from one another, it protects us from the Government. Your freedom of speech is the freedom to say what you want without Government intervention. You have no protection nor any right to be protected from your fellow citizens who may tell you to shut the hell up, or as is the case with Stephan, may pull the plug on your bandwidth chewing trollings.
In my opinion, there ought to be a rating system, or "noteriety" system. Each person (based on IP) is allowed to cast 1 positive, and 1 negative vote on any other person (you get both a positive and a negative to allow you to change your mind, and cancel out your first vote). Once you have cast your votes on someone, that's it, you have no more say, to prevent "stacking". If someone accumulates enough negative votes, they get auto-banned. Any positive votes they get have to be overcome as well.
For example, lets say that you set the thresholds at -10 for a 1 day ban, -20 for a 3 day ban, -30 for a 1 week ban, and -50 for a lifetime ban. If you have 12 positive votes, it would actually take -22 for your first ban.
This might be a bit over complicated, but I've seen similar systems used elsewhere, and they tend to be very effective at allowing users to police their own.
13. I say, use registration of email addresses. People with valid points to make will not be deterred.
14. The registration sounds good to me.
Yup. Registration should definitely be considered here.... Unless, of course, they are dead or live out of country. ;-)
just my .02
I post under a "pen name" and use the free blogger.com blog as a way to give people a chance to contact me without filling up my e-mail inbox.
I have no idea what posting my IP address would accomplish or allow. So long as it doesn't lend itself to mischievous or malicious use, I don't really care.
Registering seems like the best way to go -- assuming it gives you an efficient way to block obnoxious commenters after they get their one, two or three strikes. (Besides, unless I'm doing something wrong, your site never does "remember info" when I check that box, so I'm getting really tired of putting my pen name, e-mail address and blog URL in those boxes every time I want to post a comment. If registering will get rid of that hassle, puh-leeze do it!)
I agree with D....let the ones stay that provide the comic relief.
The ones that go over the same argument a zillion times and won't listen to reason are wasting our time or the ones who have no contribution but say "we lost, so get over it",we can do without!
I'll save you the trouble. This is my final post. I know I'm an awful troll in your world -- a nuisance that must be eradicated. I'm impressed you let open debate rage this long (much longer than the radio talk show hosts would have).
Remember, the positions easiest to defend are those where free debate are accepted without limitation. I guess that doesn't cut the mustard here.
Also, I chuckle when I see complaints that the arguments we trolls have made are consistent. Didn't realize consistent arguments are a bad thing. Guess our politicians have shown that to be true (both have flip flopped as the environment changed).
Even though I've been accused of being a whining, liberal lefty who doesn't use facts or logic -- I feel that I have done a great job highlighting the hypocrisy that is rampant throughout one-sided arguments. I have tried to point out that this is true for both sides...yet I have argued the anti-Rossi side much more here because the other side is well argued, continously.
If you look closely at my postings, you'll see that I often blame the democrats for the exact same behavior that is offensive in the republican positions.
For this, I will never post again.
Have fun all debating the greatness and infallibility of Rossi and the Republicans among yourselves....spreading your wisdom to your self-agreeing groups of like-minded dittoheads (amazing that you use that term with pride).
The more you encourage limited the debate...the better you'll sound to yourselves.
In final closing, in my last post....keep in mind that you have no corner on truth; you have no god-given rightness that is denied those with whom you disagree. Keep spreading the one-side venom and we'll all suffer.
Adios. And may the future be better than the past.
19. Editorial prerogative allows you to edit out anything that is not germane to the discussion at hand.
I'm all for registration of some sort. I agree that it is a bad idea to publicize IP addresses just because of the abuse that could occur.
I really enjoy the informed debate of some of the liberals that post to this site. However, when it goes over the top, I'm fine with deleting those posts as well. For example, when Goldstein comments here, his language is usually quite respectable, but some of what he posts on his own site, I would delete. Educated people can and should be able to get their message across without the need for profanity, whining and name calling.
Of course in the spirit, you will want to require some type of ID for registration, a valid email address, and occassionally purge the dead commenters, moonbat felons, and eliminate those who comment twice, etc.
21. I tend to agree with Jeff H above. However that takes TIME which is always short. Other boards I know of are monitored by a trusted core of known admins who are available to pull posts when they cross the stated rules. Is it possible to create such a group of admins to help you with the load? Also is there a way to cause the system to reject a post if the person uses a bogus email addy?
You do great work!
How timely! I was just thinking of posting an opinion on trolls regarding the futility of seeking to engage them in any constructive discussion. They appear both obdurate and ineducable.
Like most so far, I'm reluctant to banish them, however satisfying that would be in some respects. So the 3rd option of identifying them would be my preferred choice.
One further thought: maybe for the merely obnoxious and repetitive a "penalty box" treatment could be invoked for a month or so. Not very practical, perhaps, but it would provide a mild rebuke and temporary relief. Actually, just the threat of such a temporary ban likely would be sufficient to create a measure or thoughtfulness on the part of many whose main object seems to be to annoy without any substantive comment.
Of course the really vile and obscene have been and should continue to be eliminated.
We need a few liberal tax happy election fraudulant trolls to keep our spirits high and keep our discussions active. So I say bring on all of you Liberal trolls, and we will respond with truths! Yehhhhhhhhhhhhhh as would be your new Democratic response man - Dean's response!
I'm not sure I know what is meant by the term "troll." Jim, above, says he is one. He does disagree with the perspective of this blog and most of the people that comment, sometimes to the point of antagonization, but for the most part he seemed to be expressing his point-of-view, and wasn't just here to be disruptive. Well, except on the occasions that he became exasperated, but normally he wasn't so bad.
So, is Jim an example of a "troll"? How about Headless Lucy? Is she considered a troll?
Neither of these people bothered me. I even read their posts from time to time.
I haven't seen much in the way of truly obnoxious stuff either. So, I wouldn't ban anyone, unless their behavior becomes downright flagrant and destructive, such as multi-posting.
I don't think that posting IPs does much good. Some of us can appear from several different IPs.
Someone above suggested a rating system. I think that is a good idea. Something along the lines of the rating system used by Amazon to rate book reviewers. I don't think it should be based on the opinions people express, though, but perhaps on whether they are worthy contributors (which can include opponents, for that matter).
25. Are trolls really that much of a problem for you? I haven't noticed that many,except for the usual HL[ I won't even mention her name...lest she come out of the woodwork] etc.Publishing the IP addresses would only work on fixed IP addresses and it seems to me that would benefit the trolls and be bad for everyone else. You have the same software that I use on my site and it is very easy to remove offenders, right? Why punish everyone else by making them go through a tedious registry...I think that would only discourage healthy debate...but, hey, like you said, it's your site.
A registration system could work. I don't mind providing an email address as long as it's not visible to everyone else. Silly me created both of my email addresses to include my full name...doh! And call me paranoid, but I just don't like having that stuff visible to everyone.
Don't make all the moonbats go away though...just the ones who are truly offensive. I think we usually do a pretty good job of ignoring the same ol' junk.
But hey, how about making all their comments in red text...prettier to scroll through.
Far be it for me to be presumptuous in offering advice for bandwidth, time, energy, and focus that I don't have any responsibility for, but....
Moonbats are funny to me, and a great reality check for their inane, insipid, and often tedious comments, mantras, and spewings. Often imitated, they are valuable to us in ensuring we know that original, pithy, and consistent thought is hard. But worth it. At times, I imagine various writers to be very lonely people, lacking in substantive human contact, and I feel sorry for them. Others, I sense a level of stress that is sure to lead to an untimely demise. Perhaps the anonymity allows them the ability to feel powerful and listened to.
I say let them in! We should not deny them their opportunity to use this as a means to fill some pathetic esteem or attention hole in their lives, nor should we stave off the CVA events due some. It's part of the new order of life, and everyone should participate!
I'm glad you have asked about this. I have been quite frustrated with your comments section as it is very difficult to track discussions and to go back and follow-up later. I have been posting on Free Republic nearly since its inception. I LOVE the Free Republic interface.
Everyone must register and when you comment on a thread, you are replying to another comment and the discussion back-and-forth is therefore linked. Further, with an account, when someone replies to you in a thread that has somewhat petered-out, you are notified. You can then go back and look at what they wrote and comment back. They get notified and the discussion can continue on and on. With your site, without registration, one has to enter the ID info & email every time (Remember info doesn't work for me either) and it is very cumbersome to go back and find if someone is still discussing a thread. Your comment sections die out very quickly because of this fact, I believe.
Check out the Free Republic interface - even though I'm guessing you don't like them since you won't allow us to link to them - and see if something similar can be done here. Maybe they will license the software? Perhaps have a specific fundraising drive to pay for it?
Regarding trolls, registration helps. Free Republic has admins and a reporting feature for self-policing of the discussion. It seems to work well once you convince everyone that they are a guest in your house and you are not the government censoring them.
simply move them to a moonbat troll thread. That way you acheive 2 things:
1. You clean up the thread so we can read it while allowing useful criticism/ differring points of views.
2. You keep the trolls public to show how mean spirited and limited intellectually trolls really are.
I am a responsible Millionaire having paid in over $3mm to the public good. All wasted, no doubt. I do not go to porn sites. I go to Church. I have an advanced degree. But having helped hundreds of people with Finance and Computer issues for free, I now get some 60 email offers for "meeting H0rny women, cheap mortgages, Ciallis soft tabs, or Nigerian scams - per day. I am intelligent and want to add to the public discourse without having email collectors make my life less pleasant.
If my trivial comments here are going to add another 20 DELETE clicks per day, then you will not share my thoughts. GUS
31. Yo, great site, great info, as for the moonbats ban them, screen them or spray with moonbat repellent.
Concerning moonbats comments, I almost never read the comments, good, bad, or non relevant. I expect that most people make post comments to communicate with the folks who write for SouthPolitics.com, not to communicate with folks elsewhere.
I do read and appreciate the postings of the SoundPolitics.com team. Thank you
Require users to register.
Posting their IP address is tempting, but maybe is a little too much. You could log the IP, but make it visible to only administrators, which could allow you to ban certain IPs while protecting everyone's privacy.
My two bits -
Registration is painless and a relatively low gate to cross to post a comment. It can be used to keep discussions on track. And it can be used to filter the drive-by trollery -- those who post just to be nasty, or to start an argument or flame war, or who are just interested in a fight. I think it's great to hear many opinions, but I think good discussion gets side-tracked by nameless comments.
It is, of course, your blog. You want to stop anyone from posting, it's your right. No one has the right to free speech on your dime.
I note that the most egregious violators of honest discussion hide behind psuedonyms and do not have the honesty to start their own blogs to argue their own points.
I tend to be a knee-jerk reactionary (no surprise there), so if you decide to do any or all of the measures outlined, my comments, if I decided to make them, would likely be limited to either ‘I agree with the post because’ or ‘I disagree with the post because’… as opposed to my uncanny knack for trying to knock sense (from my perspective) into the moonbat gallery. I have found some ‘interesting’ perspectives from their side, but to remain true to a position I espoused:
WARD CHURCHILL SPEECH AT EWU CANCELLED
February 5, 2005 04:25 PM
“Those who wish to hear…should pay for it themselves.”
Further, under the same subject:
February 6, 2005 07:49 PM
“I have called for the banning of Gadfly, jim, HL and others...I remember (usually afterwards), every once in a while they serve to remind us that not all truth is locked within our own system of beliefs.
One more point, I watched Charles Murray, co-author of “The Bell Curve” (Free Press, 1994) Sunday on CSPAN. He had an interesting point that I must paraphrase, since his quote is not in front of me…he said the elite continue to live in their own world surrounded by their own views because it is so comforting to their own opinion of how the world is. That is elite thought in action…
That is paraphrased; so don’t beat me mercilessly if I did not get it exactly right…
Sound Politics is your site; you have the authority to do what is right in your view. Will changing the format detract or enhance? Don't know until it's tried...
Scott in Carnation at February 7, 2005 07:09 PM had a great idea IMO…
36. Keep Sound Politics simple -- just exclude their comments. We know those idiots are out there and none of us have the time to read what they post. There's already too much good stuff to read.
Keep up the great work, Shark!
37. Constructive, intelligent criticism should be published. Obvious garbage by trolls or vulgar statements should be trashed. As the owner of this blog you have the legitimate right to make those distinctions.
38. Great question Stefan. One of the things I love about this site is the lack of red tape to speak your mind. Those who are here frequently know the views of the other posters and it's nice to bounce ideas, information off each other. However, it is also important to keep it open to fresh ideas and views. The trolls haven't really been a big problem and sometimes add a little comic relief - and sometimes help me form counterarguments to their postings. My 2 cents.
Like many others here I browse past the leftie loonies more often than I read them. It doesn't usually take more than twice to burn-in this response to a particular moonbat.
I say let sleeping dogs lay, but its your site, so you do what you think appropriate.
Another idea for you would be for registration and "Paid" registration with membership. Something like Bill O'Reilly's club.
You could even have 3 different categories. Free to read only.
Register and make 1 post per blog.
Paid and unlimited posts.
The bucks might help a little with your bandwidth. I went to PayPal as soon as I saw your request because I love this site. It fills a big gaping hole left by the MSM. It's intelligent and very informative. I strongly believe in doing and standing up for what's right. I do hope that you keep up the good fight even after the current court action is settled. If everyone just settles back in to their lives. Our next election will be a disaster again. That's why what you are doing is so important. Changes have to be permanent. The politicians, the auditors and the legislators HAVE to know that they are being held accountable to the public and that their bad conduct whether it was deliberate or not will not be tolerated.
When you need more funds - please let us know
Freedom is never free............
I say, 'Let em rant and just let em show off their 'Howard Dean scream' true colors'.
Everytime they do, they are more convincing against whatever it is they are actually ranting for. Yikes! That wasn't the best sentence, but you know what I mean... I hope!
Those of us of sound mind and SoundPolitics can weed out the nutburger comments to ignore except for the amusement they provide. Tag them and delete them for their typical filthy and vulgar language though - it's unnecessary in healthy debate, even if it is their best event.
Stefan - I think you should be cruel and inhumane (or, what's the word when you beat up on a non-human?... hmmm).
Really, you should use whatever method is the easiest for you to administer, regardless of its "fairness." Fairness is over-rated.
Is there any way to herd the moonbat commentary into some kind of cache/bulk folder, if you will, that is not too tedious for you? Rush often suggests that we should not eliminate leftists completely, rather we should keep one or two on each college campus so as to remind us what they are/were like, but I don't know.
Same reason CDC keeps samples of diseases that have been "eradicated", so as to be able to study them again in the future if need be. The risk is that the disease might once again spread if accidentally released.
No, it is no accident that I describe leftists-moonbats in epidemiological terms. -Spin
Contrarian views can be good for informed debate, so it's better to encourage informed opinions rather than discourage them. The problem is the ones that earn the poster various looney labels.
Perhaps you could do something so simple as having their font automatically posting in pink so that the reader could simply pass them by if he/she so chooses without having to scan into the body of the post.
If you're like me, there's a reflexive reaction to challenge the junk point by point. They arent' going to listen anyway, and there would be a lot more bandwidth saved by letting the pink announce, "Look people, you needn't really bother."
...Sort of like a roadside curiosity that you drive past rather than a real destination.
Registration doesn't bother me at all. However, I'm not a fan of banning the trolls. BTW, I don't believe we've heard the last of jim. He'll be back, if only in another iteration.
The trolls serve a useful purpose. It allows those who actually reason their responses to practice against junior varsity talent. Don't mean to sound harsh or insulting...not at all. They can't stand against reason, BUT it does allow reasoned responses to perhaps influence those who visit, and gives them a ready response when encountering trolls in their daily lives.
46. I've been in several fora where trolls were a nuisance. Nuisance being the operative word. A horse's tail can swat a nuisance -- no allusion to a horse's ass intended -- with a simple swipe. Let 'em rant, although I wish their antics could cut my cable bill.
The last group or entity that conservatives should ever want to emulate is the radical left and their idea that suppression of opposing viewpoints is justified. Only bankrupt groups devoid of principles and good ideas fear opposing viewpoints. I relish the opportunity to debate the political ideas of the day with those individuals on the left.
If someone, on the other hand, becomes abusive or uses derogatory language or racist, bigoted words they should be excluded.
Timely! I was just getting ready to hang out the DO NOT FEED THE TROLL sign. I favor posters advising other posters and ignoring them, but some folks don't know who they are right off, and others don't have the restraint.
Agree with Scott C that conversation will die out fast with registration---and yet..
I guess I'm too new to any chat board to offer meaningful alternative. But I'm definately glad we're discussing it.
49. Publication of the IP address will accomplish almost nothing. Anyone using dialup, and most people using DSL or cable for Internet access will get a 'new' IP address every time they disconnect/reconnect their modem. So as an identifier it can be easily subverted.
I dont have a problem with diversity, as long as it does not become personally abusive.
There is an argument to be made for freedom of speech, but when tis a private forum, it isnt free is it? So I dont se eyou as obligated by any sense.
I think you have been open thus far because you dont want to strangle thought the way so many liberals do: by censoring and shouting down the opposition. Let them say their piece and let their ideas be evaluated on their merits.
But so many try to provoke, and to incite....I understand your frustration and irritation.
I think you have been exceptionally tolerant, and hope you will continue to be so, but I will support your right to remove abusers of your hospitality.
For we are guests here.
I used to moderate on another board.
One major problem I noticed, when allowing trolls to post, is that they intimidate those who are not like-minded. Soon, no one will want to post for fear of being targeted by the drive-by trolls!
They always invite their friends and can ruin a fine board in a matter of days if not kept in check.
Trolls come in many forms.
They can burn your bandwith by posting circular counter-point arguments...over and over..never offering anything original for the topic...Trolls can be childish and insulting. They can deceive your viewers with half truths and lies by simply posting bogus information as fact.
I would NOT show everyones IP addy! This would allow the trolls to receive way too much information about some of our posters...(why would we do this?)
I would NOT encourage troll posting - and I don't believe they add quality comments to topics here.
I would consider private registration. This gives you control over your posters. You can kick a registered user if they become a problem.
I'm not sure of your ability to ban specific IP's..but this becomes a problem with AOL and the other major ISP's...(you don't want to ban a block of AOL user's by accident)
You may want to post a trolls IP addy as punishment...but they usually don't care....
I think registration would be your best means of controlling the trolls...(just like our voting system...we have too many using po boxes here...heh..)
Well, we just got over the sound of the doorknob hitting Jim squarely between the ol' cheeks. Wow...what a thud. It sounded almost as bad as the ol' Healing Tour bus dropping three cylinders coming up the hill from the Nisqually River the other day.
Heck, it's YOUR blog. Whatever would be easiest. My suggestion: Allow us to block certain posters from our view. If I get tired of Pointless Lucy or whoever, I can choose on my own to NOT SEE their comments. 'Course I dunno if you have the ability to give us that option...but it would still allow whoever you want to post, and if we don't want to see their drivel, we don't have to ignore it because we have adjusted our settings.
And don't confuse our First Amendment rights with what goes on here. This is a private enterprise, not public. As such, Stefan (or, in Stefan's absence, his compadres) can and do have the right to edit, expunge, censor or do whatever the heck else they want. It's just like writing a letter to the editor. Do you think the Times or P-I print all their letters? Nope. Why? Because they don't have to. Same with this blog. If you want to block someone from responding.
Well, Stefan, it's certainly your site. You've done the work and you can call the shots.
Frankly, unless it's really eating up your bandwidth, I suggest leaving it alone. It's very reassuring to have confirmation of how ludicrous, illogical and monophonic those who support Gregoire really are. Their comments continually testify to how right it is that we are all fighting for a new election and a clean election process in Washington.
I don't agree with jim ever, except when he says that if you ban the trolls, this site will become an echo chamber. An echo chamber is exactly what the Democrat party has become and they suffer for it. Let's not agree to go down the same road simply for the sake of avoidance. If we do, we will find ourselves in a room of our own voices and it will get pretty dull after a while.
Besides, I want to hear more from them when the election is overturned and Gregoire is escorted from her temporary residence.
54. All disenting voices should be excluded from the site. The free exchange of ideas is overrated. Down with free speech.
55. All disenting voices should be excluded from the site. The free exchange of ideas is overrated. Down with free speech.
While anonymous posting allows for free expression without cause for concern about ramifications (i.e. that the posting can be traced back to you), it always seems to me a little cowardly to hide that way.
I find it interesting that some that would call here for such filtering cannot bring themselves to even use a valid email address, or their full name. At least a valid email address should be a requirement, but you'd have to institute some kind of registration to enforce that.
BTW, to those that hate having to retype your info in every time here is a tip: Don't use the pop up comments page, use the archive version. Instead of clicking on the "Comments" link, simply click on the time link to the left of it to get there. For some reason your info is not retained when entered on the pop-up page, but it is on the archive page.
57. I am not interested in discussion with trolls. I find it annoying when they post and I find it annoying when the seminar callers get air time on my favorite radio stations. Please ban them, delete them, whatever it takes. I know where to blog if I want more variety in posts. This is not the place. Anyone with intelligence would also know that there are other blogs with the other side of the story. Your blog is like being invited into your home.... you can ask anyone to leave.... if you choose to.
58. just change their names from "anonymous" to "moonbat" or "moonbat+" after they post. That will add some consistency.
59. Thank you for that, Daniel K[irkdorffer]. While I seldom agree with your comments, I commend you for posting under your own name. Just to make clear, in case I hadn't already done so -- my questions in the main post were solely about the folks who post from behind the veil of anonymity. So far at least, none of the people who post comments here under their own names have done anything that I have even considered banning. I think self-restraint kicks in when people comment under their own names.
I have read some extremely well written pieces that were posted as responses to trolls. Articulate and thought provoking. They warmed my heart and reaffirmed the knowledge that there are many truly fine Americans right here in the middle of the deep dark blue.
HL is such a strange username, that I googled it. Interesting reading. Trolling is that mans life. Very sad.
61. What do folks feel we should do about the anonymous moonbat trolls in the comments section?
A dittohead on one blog is a troll on another.
Stefan, it's up to you what kind of a blog you want to have. I think contrarian views of "trolls" such as myself increase traffic and postings.
Otherwise, how productive is it to have 10 commenters tell you how right you are after you make a post. Then, there really is no more to say.
Are blogs nothing more than the meeting of the faithful for their group so that no one is offended or challenged?
Nah, ya can't have that. The best dynamic that works is:
1) Post By Stefan
2) 10 to 20 supportive posts (go Stefan)
3) 2 to 3 contrarian posts (yes but look)
4) 30 to 60 attacks on the trolls ("get the trolls")
Thus, from a traffic standpoint, contrarian/troll postings is certainly a plus.
Hey, just think, even Fox allows dissenting views.
The more likely candidates to exclude however are the following
1) People using all CAPS
2) People plugging their blog on your blog
3) Excessive cut and pasting
4) Double postings
62. I agree with Erik, except for the Fox slur.
As annoying as they are, they do serve a purpose. As it is always good to know ones enemies, their postings remind us of who and what we are up against. Thankfully, they don't appear to be "rocket scientists".
Bottom line, since it is your site, whatever makes your life easier is ok with me.
I firmly believe that what a person says, and how he/she says it, is a great indicator of the person's character.
From my perspective, I have seen a great cross-section of views. Some are unsavory and crude. Most are refreshing and astute- whether I agree or not. That is the beauty of this site, Stefan. It's a little slice of America. It has its pillars and its scoundrels, and it isn't hard to discern one from the other.
Whether or not to banish the trolls is a tough call. Is it right to stifle an opinion, no matter how unsavory it may be? If the opinion is purely of an inflammatory and combative nature, I believe it is. But it is your call, Stefan. I would rather not have my IP posted, but if that's the price I have to pay for participating in such a great forum, so be it. This is worth it. Considering the caliber of your work so far, I think that I can safely trust you to make a careful and considered decision. I defer to your judgment.
65. Oh BTW, can I smoke while reading the blog?
66. Oh BTW, can I smoke while reading the blog?
Only if you smoke a brand I own stock in. ;)
Your launch for this thread had the key words:
"This is a private website, there is no obligation of any kind to offer a free bathroom wall for any idiot..."
You are providing an invaluable service for people who are seriously interested in timely subjects that are discussed on SP. The problem is not the odd short post by a troll; and certainly not that semi-rational (D)s might occasionally post comments worth disagreeing with.
The core problem is that time is the most valuable commodity we have, and when the signal-2-noise ratio gets too far out of whack with serial offender mindless moonbat trolls it costs all of us some of that most valuable commodity.
Having said the above:
(1) I trust your judgment: Do what you think is most appropriate as circumstances change.
(2) If you still want my $0.02:
[a] Be at least a little LESS tolerant.
[b] A registration system for commenters is more than fine by me. I would be happy to do that even if there were NO moonbats wasting our time.
(3) Also consider if you will a little look-ahead: If the courts DO throw out the election and we get our ReVote (either in November, or earlier if the Legislature does the right thing (don't hold your breath)), then it will be time to clear the decks of most sidebar interruptions and focus max effort on winning the ReVote for Dino. I don't particularly want to have to wade thru masses of useless moonbat droppings while that is going on; i.e.: I think SP and other conservative blogs could be a major factor in a Gov-Take-2 race (or, rather: Take-4). If anybody has the time and inclination to get the latest moonbat party line, there are the usual leftie URLs that can serve up all anybody could want (or stand).
Thanks for asking,
Please, enough with the IP-address suggestions already. There never has been, ever, a direct correspondence between individual people and IP addresses, nor is there going to be in any forseeable future. If one is searching for a solution to a problem, it's really a requirement that the solution actually address the problem, is it not?
As far as my recommendation, registration is the way to go. Most of the decent registration systems require the email address for a round-trip confirmation of its validity, but allow the user to control whether that address is revealed online. This seems like a win-win situation to me.
I come to your website
- 90% to read your updates on the Rossi election
- 5% to see informed additional info in comments
- 5% to read your other info on WA politics
- 0.00% to read opinions from those who disagree
This is your website, you have complete control.
70. Since my purpose for coming here isn't to get spewed all over with moonbat insults, I tend not to read a lot of them. But not sure what to do about them. I'm sure I'd question it if I were ultimately paying the freight on this site. As business owners, we know about that kind of thing ourselves!
Ok. I found a number of definitions of trolling. Here's one I think is pretty accurate:
An outrageous message posted to a newsgroup or mailing list to bait people to answer. Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a newsgroup or mailing list. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore it.
Here's the link to Troll Definitions
Thus, I don't think contrarian views are to be considered troll posts, only inflamatory statements such as
"Rossi is a sore loser" on Stefan's blog or
"Gregoire is a theif" on HorseA blog
Were the posts made on the opposite blogs, they would be normal conversation.
Thus, the question is a choice of whether the post is inflammatory and insulting or an unpleasant contrary view.
My take is don't allow comments. People with something worthwhile to say can just send an e-mail. If you think it is worthwhile to share the e-mailed comment, then post it as an update.
Oh, btw, I am aware of the irony of my comment recommending the end of comments.
There are several good comments, as usual, made by several of the posters. The first is that this is a private blog and the normal first amendment protections do not apply. I think, if there is a real problem with mischevious posters, some sort of registration is a good idea.
That being said, Stefan, if this blog is a responce to the lack of diverse viewpoints within the MSM, then you should be careful about limiting debate on this blog. There are several of us who do not like it when either party turns into an "echo chamber" where sometimes this blog, like several others tends to become. If you desire this site to be known as a very credible source for information, then it should be open to all of us who care about Washington and Washington politics. Besides, the presence of contrarian viewpoints helps everyone sharpen their logical debates.
To label everyone who is a lefty, a Democrat, or a CG supporter automatically a "troll," has the effect of limiting debate. I for one, do not take the word of any politician as gospel, and question everyone who's default response is to say that one party is always right. Honest debate and honest questioning of our elected (and unelected) officials always leads to the truth and to better public policies regardless of political affiliations.
74. In my field of profession, "if it isn't in the file it didn't happen" and "if it's anonymous, you can't bring it to court...it's just gossip."
Don't ban anyone unless they are obscene or intentionaly malicous or threatening toward others. Big deal, we're all going to be hurt by some lefty rant. You shouldn't even consider it. If someone doesn't like a post you simply scroll past it and ignore it! Some of us like to post on the other liberal Seattle blog, you know the one about horse poop etc. and we don't like to be thought of as TROLLS! Segregation is bad. Interact, debate, exchange ideas and ignore that which deserves to be ignored.
Here is my version of the 6 LLL debate rules;
 Agree with irrelevant points
 Distort (Distract from) main argument
 Answer questions not asked
 Answer questions with questions
 Become the debate victim
 Repeat as necessary
I think this technique is taught somewhere, in some collage or email institute. Why would so many so many moonbats use identical argument patterns?
Then there are the fakers. Someone needs to write the 5 steps to spotting a moonbat attack.
Anonymity breeds immaturity. I know I have fallen prey to its temptation many times even with my consistent Jericho monicur and bluto@... faux email. Even when I don't use Jericho which is very rare I always use a bluto@ variation but still act out of human and Christian character at times.
The nature of the web certainly leads to abnormal and immmature speech. Although isp addresses might help I expect that those who choose the dark side will continue to lose their minds and become less reasonable. From my world view this has been long foretold, eg. "Why do the nations rage..." Psalm 2, and "...and power was given to them over a fourth of the earth to kill with...beasts of the earth." (in other words just before the end the carnivores no longer are dissuaded by the divine spark from eating men because they are no longer reconginable as men) so I believe that there is nothing that can be done in the aggregate against the trend both of unreasonable trolls and unreasonable people. There of course is always prayer though.
As an example of a well policed blog look to Scrappleface. The one man show satire site does an excellant job of keeping the site clean, admonishing the most extreme trolls (although rarely), as well as chastising the regulars when it is needed.
It is a difficult thing for sure, being taken advantage of in that sense yet thank you Stefan et al for your service to the Sound and the State. I trust and pray you will continue your sacrifice in wisdom and grace as God leads.
While I use a pseudonym, the email is valid, though filtered. And it wouldn't take a person but 5 seconds to figure out who I was. Whatever you do, don't let the emails be visible to "crawlers" or "spiders" (for the non-techies, automated programs looking for email addresses, for example). That’s one reason I use the "nospam" address.
Also, the idea of self policing without registration is definitely bad...I can see the Moveoff.org or Michael Less crowd sending trolls in by droves to "help" with the policing.
One idea would be to simply edit the troll's posts. Help them recite “Goosefraba” a half dozen times or try a haiku.
Seriously though, whatever you do, I’d still read 16 times a day, and post when I felt I had something to contribute (unless you think I'm a troll and ban me;))
79. If someone doesn't like a post you simply scroll past it and ignore it! Some of us like to post on the other liberal Seattle blog, you know the one about horse poop etc. and we don't like to be thought of as TROLLS!
Well said. I don't think Stefan is serious really about banning contrary viewpoints as it would limit traffic greatly.
Requiring one to register would slow things down as well. There are only a few new sites in which I am registered as it takes too much time.
The people most offended by contrary views are those who have not really thought out their positions.
Some of the most useless posts are ones where there is a blanket agreement or disagreement. Why even post then?
Then there are the posters who hit the repeat key with either the ">" symbol or the exclamation mark.
Here is a list of 50 blog rules I found. Enjoy.
I'm the last guy who should complain about anybody else. Goldy's Lefty's hate me. Goldy tolerates me.
I'm informed about Washington Elections and internal controls within various County Election Depts. I am disappointed and ticked off at how some, particularly KingCo, have attempted to "circle the wagons", validate incompetence and marginalize/minimize competence.
Cleaning up voter registration rolls is way past due. So is raising the bar on enforcing current laws and standardizing procedures statewide.
That said, frankly it gets kind of boring re-hashing the hash. These Lefty's are actually serious about their half-baked ideas on how the world should be. They are their own worst enemies. I tend to want to give them a mike and plenty of rope. Besides, they have absolutely zero sense of humor. The lack of sense of humor is their Achilles Heel. Never forget that.
Stefan has done a tremendous job of getting information out despite the so-called trolls. It's Stefan's site. He is the King of the Blog!
I picture Stefan as a Shrek-like character!
81. My Idea
I would suggest something like a "Sound Alert" link that when clicked, logs the unique IP of the complainant, counting up until a designated number of (unique) complaints have been registered. Upon max hits the script alerts or emails some admin(s)
for string review. Maybe even some sript to search for liberal talikning points. I'm sure come db, cgi, php or asp, geeks could help you out.
.... ok, back to human speak.. Yeah, we need to have a way to kick em outta the room.
82. I just skip past the annoying trolls who have nothing of substance to say. I know who they are, I look to see who posted, and then skip them. I check this wonderful blog at least twice a day to see what is really going on in the world of politics. Some of the opposition has something real to say, but many don't.
83. Oh, and a spell checker. ;^ )
84. Stefan et al:
I love a good flame war.
Let the Trolls post as it gives a clear vision of the other side. Not that any one is forced to read them or reply to them. I noticed this discussuib seems to have chased one troll away.
Not sure if Jim is a troll or merely a counter opinion at any rate.
I would register if need be but honestly feel it better to hear what they are thinking and comparing them to the talking points from the Dem sites. Not like they are original anyway.
Whatever you deccide, I'm for it and will be linking you from my place.
Jim L, Skagit County activist.
ANONYMITY. That's the word that most of us missed. It's amazing what people will do when they are part of a crowd or behind a mask and no one knows who they are. It can be very insideous. Still, apart from obscene or threatening behavior, post it. True conservatives are classical liberals. We believe in free speech and we love to debate! Let the trolls bring it on!
86. As long as anyone maintains a certain level of decorum, let them stay. Since the majority of those who post here believe that they are in the right (and the Right), it stands to reason (I know, a real stretch) that even one troll might see the light...or at least be challenged to have a critical thought about their "core beliefs."
87. "I think this technique is taught somewhere, in some collage or email institute. Why would so many so many moonbats use identical argument patterns?"
I think you are referring to the Werner Erhard group..(formerly of EST...now of the Forum..)
This cult takes debating to it's most frustrating levels without contributing anything to the topic! They simply want to play devils advocate and point-counter-point - but in the most hostile manner.... They project a false arrogance and elitism and pay through the nose to be in the cult.....
I see them all over the internet and they can recognize eachother immediately.....
We live in bizarre times!
I've gotta ask: is it Paul Daniel or Paul Thompson? Is your URL really http://paul daniel/ or have you just entered your name in the wrong field accidentally, using the wrong name accidentally? Are your remarks really in favor or against anonymity?
Stefan, if you could make any changes it would be nice to enforce some kind of anti-anonymity mechanism, all while protecting against email grabbing bots for those concerned with those. Again, registration would do the trick.
To provide another point of view to those above, I might add that those of us that have presented differing views here dislike trolls just as much as the soundpolitics faithful do, because they only undermine the ability of voices looking to engage in real debate to do so without being attacked as trolls themselves. Once the witch burning begins dissenters quickly become targets for burning too.
In that light, at the end of the day, I would hope that you do not instigate a vote-to-ban system that could be prejudiced by the rabble effect.
In the marketplace of ideas there are other places people can go for shoddy merchandise and junk food. If the trolls aren't fit to be here then they should not be here. It's not a question of what they say, but how they say it. My two bits, if they're disruptive and a poor fit (and it seems to me they are) then feel free to ban them.
90. I read this blog daily. I don’t usually post unless I feel I have something worthwhile to contribute. I know a lot of you by your pseudonyms. I know whose opinions are well informed and those that are not. I read and respect opinions from all prospectives. I learn from all posts. I do enjoy the comments between the ‘Trolls’ and others. It helps me weed out the mature from the immature on both sides of the political spectrum. Substance within comments includes more than logic and reasoning, it includes personalities. I don’t think anyone here wants this blog to be viewed as one that practices censorship. While the suggestions here are not intended to do so, that is what the perception might become. If the problem is bandwidth then the focus needs to be on expanding it not freeing it up. One suggestion may be to start a ‘Ring of Honor’ for contributors (Using pseudonyms). Encourage contributions for bandwidth. There may be better ideas out there, but my point is to focus on the real problem. I don’t believe that the perception of censorship is what is wanted. Anyway this is my .02¢. I am also putting my money where my mouth is and making a contribution.
Now there's an falsity. If you don't know you are being watched you don't know the Internet. The question is rules or no rules. I cast my vote for free speak and the right to "turn the channel if I don't like it".
Hell I don't even know what a URL is! I'm for free speach. I'm against banning "trolls" unless they are obscene or threatening. I make note of the fact that anonymity, unfortunatly, at times does strange things to people. The other important word is ACCOUNTABILITY. Without it we are apt. to be slimy, snake type creatures!
The method of moderation is not equal to the degree. I've been to sites that would ban on a whim, yet were prone to floods of freak posts. Others let anyone post but would whoop ass on anyone who got out of line. If you have the traffic, it will be worth your time to put in a better content filter.
Something I do on FR is to check the profile date. If they are "fresh" I know they are either getting their sea legs or playing games.
Registration doesn't. However, I'm not a fan of banning the trolls, let them rant and rave unless it is eating up too much resources and costing you money.
When they are civil they all use the same seemingly pre-programed response. I wonder If there is a media class down at Evergreen that gets credit for it.
When they aren't civil they simply show anyone who reads just how childish and irrelivant the left is becomming.
I meant to type "registration doesn't bother me at all." I guess this old stone needs to hit the rack.
Thanks for asking us though....
As an avid reader of blogs, I say that the registration system is probably the best compromise. You can inhibit the moonbat trolls by filtering them out just like I saw recently on LGF, or even slice them right out of the system. More work on your part, however.
An IP traceback filter would also be a good idea, it keeps the data path relatively "clean" (a relative concept...) and you would have a pretty good idea of what/whom to filter.
Other than that, you'd just have to put up with the troll/moonbat/frothing-at-the-mouth posers. "What cannot be cured must be endured".
Keep up the good work, Etienne, mon ami!
REVOTE REVOTE REVOTE!!!
97. Goodbye Carla. Goodbye Jim. Merry moonbatiness to you all!
Following Julie's example I googled the name of a certain beloved troll here on Sound Politics. This is what I found on a Lefty blog which will remain nameless:
"headless lucy said...
Whenever you run across a conservative blog leave a negative message. Over the course of time this has got to begin to break their resolve. Pride goeth before a fall and some swift kicks in the ass don't hurt either."
If that doesn't describe a troll, I don't know what does. I've no problem with people who disagree with me, even vehemently, if they're actually engaging in debate. The problem is that people like HL aren't interested in debate, all they're interested in is being negative. Often, like in one of the threads discussing Judge Bridges' rulings, that negativity has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand.
So what do we do about trolls like that? Registration might prevent the casual troll, but will do nothing to stop the determined troll (hey, email addresses are free, and registration only takes a minute).
I wouldn't post IP's publicly, since that information is prone to abuse. On the other hand, banning the IP of a particularly annoying troll might do the trick. The problem there is that if the troll is using a massive ISP like AOL, banning their IP might unintentionally ban other commenters.
There's no perfect solution here. My preference is to mock trolls as they appear, thus robbing them of any inflamatory power. Registration, however, would be an almost necessary first step to any more concrete solution.
Here is my perspective - I think you guys are dead wrong on this election issue and I disagree with almost everything posted on here. That said, when I post a contrary viwe point I try to do it in a respectful way even if the emotion of the moment makes some posts sound more angry than I would sound if we were talking about this in person.
My experience has been that when I post something that disagrees with the prevailing "wisdom" on this blog - I often get attacked, called names and mistreated in a very vicious way and often childish way. That’s OK, if you want to dish it out, I can take it.
If you want to live in a echo chamber and only listen to you own voices bouncing off the walls, you may. I think that is a poor choice and I would encourage open and respectful disagreement.
However, the echo chamber is attractive . . . just listen to all those voices that agree with me!
There must be millions of us . . .
millions of us . . .
millions of us . .
millions of us.
"There is none so blind, as he who WILL NOT see".
Freedom of speech, in itself, is both clean and clear. (i.e. the TRUTH as I see it)
However, when you have those who are willing to squander their 'freedom' trying to be LESS than either, what is the proper approach?
Unless we can get them to wear 'bells', these utterances, though inane, 'tell' us more than just their feeble content.
It is when a person feels 'cornered' that their true 'colors' are shown.
Block the profanity only.
Eliminating or censoring seems to defeat the purpose of discourse. It can get a bit stale to agree with everyone and have the same in return.
Would it be possible to have a check box after a blog for: Agree - Disagree or Pro / Con? Most trolls don't bother with comments on statistical or intellectual essays. So, on a more volitale subject or statement I could read through (and comment to) the negatives if I want -or just ignore them altogether. (It doesn't do much for bandwidth) As Scott says above comment threading could be made more relevant.
If a negative or belligerant comment shows up in the 'agree' thread - ZOT!
102. I have no qualms about using my name--or part of it--in a signature but my hesitation towards using my complete name and/or email address is simple: I'm fairly well-known in my industry, have been on the web for about 15 years, written a few technical books, worked and spoken around the world, and get so much spam that I need six or more email addresses, one of which fills a specific role and two of which are "private" (not subscribed to any lists nor given to any vendors). Still, I struggle with hundreds of spams a day which decreases my productivity and effectively reduces my income. Hence I'll post on your site--and others--but will never sign my name nor list my email address. I don't need more spam.
I am from MN but over the past 2 months have been intensely interested in the WA election debacle with Fraud-oire, fed largely by the excellent work done by you & others at Sound Politics to uncover and expose the voting irregularities and illegalities. I regularly check Sound Politics several times a day just to get an update on the election court case, plus the events at SCCC and other places. In large part because of this I have written emails to SoS Reed chastising him for certifying a fraudulent election and also to the pres of SCCC, chastising SCCC for allowing the abuse of a member of our armed forces while on campus as a recruiter.
Having said all this, I saw on one of the postings (have not read them all yet) that someone suggested some type of registration based on a tiered payment system. I would strongly urge against that. Sound Politics has been an invaluable source of information & discourse in the revealing the vote fraud & irregularities in the past election, in large part to your investigative reporting and also the strong participation of readers to this blog. I don't think it would be good to dampen that broad participation by a payment structure for registration. I would support a registration format (similar to Free Republic) which would likely decrease drive-by trolling, but allow for good interaction & discussion with other Dems like John Barelli, who have contributed to a good exchange of opposing feedback without being nasty. If contributors get nasty or vulgar then just yank their registration.
Reading the thread has helped advance my thinking on the subject. I think in the end it's a question of balancing competing interests, and that is by definition subjective. I have my own working definition of a troll, which has any one or combination of these traits:
Debates rather than discusses
Seeks to reduce clarity, rather than add to it
Lawyers...after reading a post a reasonable person concludes it was written by a lawyer...someone who engages in the art of "artfully worded denials"
Those who offer easily debunked talking points...it's obvious they aren't here for the conversation
Those who offer what I call the "Animal House Defense." During the disciplinary hearing the frat boys acknowledged that there were perhaps some issues to be dealt with...then applied specious logic to conclude, "But I won't sit here and hear you bad mouth the United States of America!"
In short, anyone I would find obnoxious were I speaking face-to-face. If I have to use a shovel more than wit, then the trolls are a problem. I don't think we're there yet.
I'm curious, Stefan...what do you want to accomplish with Sound Politics?
105. I almost never read the comments, I just want to know what the blogs are for the day and then I am off to other things. The only time I read other peoples comments is if it is a VERY interesting topic. I say go with you third idea just to reduce the abuse. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK and thanks for all the info!!!!!!!!!
There is a great difference between "Trolls" and contrarian viewpoints.
I notice that some of the consistently opposing posters have taken offence when their opinions are dissected/ridiculed/destroyed etc. Well, if they don't like it don't post...this is an obviously conservative blog.
The blatant agitators and vulgar flamethrowers should be ignored, but that is hard for some of us. I wouldn't miss them if they were gone, but can't we all just not "feed" them?
I welcome opposing viewpoints, even the annoying ones. I ignore them at will, since I have already been exposed to them at CBS, NYT, CNN, the Seattle P.I., etc. No harm to see them repeated here.
Thank you, Stefan.
107. Uh, anyone else concerned with paying 20% more per year for the next three years for your electricity? Just wondering.
108. Don't even think twice about it Shark. Ban em. This is America. Land of the free and home of the brave. And if you got something to say, even something inflamatory or blasphemous, then claim your freedom to do so. But be bold enough to claim ownership of your outlandish position. Besides, your e-mail list ( you are building one right?) :) is the most valuable asset you own. And it's your right and priviledge as the site purveyor to acquire and pursue potential customers and business contacts. Go for it!
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"
It's nice to see how the otherside thinks. It makes me feel that much more sure that we are winning
110. I'm not so sure but that a certain percent of your readers enjoy blasting away at the silly notions of the trolls. Regulate them and you might take away some of the entertainment value of the site.
My second post in this subject.
A troll is someone who doesn't have anything constructive to say and causes problems by flaming, fragging, intimidation, etc. These people are 'generally' put off by registration. They serve no purpose and can be shut out.
The people not put off by registration are going to be people who can string together two or more cognitive sentences. These people many not be of the political leanings the blog is, but a debate done by intelligent people is always a healthy thing. I would avoid outright banning of anyone who didn't toe the ideologue line and instead focus on the problem creators, i.e. trolls.
I wrote a check to you guys, which is something I refuse to do for the Times, PI or the Olympian, as I don't like the idea of my money going to further the liberal agenda.
On the other hand, the above media is very good at censoring conservative viewpoints.
Let moonbats speak, they are standing in a hole, shovel in hand and have a desire for digging.
This website should be governed by free speech. However, when the free speech goes nowhere constructive and results in the same old circular argument taken from Liberal talking points, it might be inherent upon the "regulars" to remind these trolls/moonbats - or not address them any further until they answer the basic question that each of their arguments avoid. If they counterattack using facts, check and verify their facts, as they often twist them when they believe they can get away with it.
This system can probably police itself largely, but a few safeguards will be needed to remove those trolls/moonbats who abuse the system. Trolls like Headless Lucy, Nelson and torridjoe, (just to name a few) have probably crossed the line several times and in addition love to spin circular arguments - on that its time to call their bluff. The truth is on our side !
J Mc - Good point!
Where did Jesus keep Judas during the last supper? By most understanding, up until the time Judas left to betray Christ, he was sitting (reclining) right next to the Lord.
I too enjoy a good flame war, but it can get tiring when it turns into an articulate version of "I know you are but what am I?" Again I believe that there is no solution short of creating of very uniform site, alla Democraticunderground. Good policing for immorality helps as does occasional (but rare) chastising as needed by the owners. Again I refer the Shark et al to the practices at Scrappleface.
115. I think "IGNORANCE" is the best...just ignore them and don't respond. In other words, the silent treatment.
the quote was by Michael Corleone in Godfather II.
I've worked for, with, or against BPA for 25 years. This is probably the 10th time this or a similar issue has come out of the president's budget. Reagan did it many times. In the words of HHGTTG: Don't Panic.
After reading the responses above, I stand by my first comment. Don't ban them, ignore them. IP addresses won't do much. I use Earthlink, and my IP address will change depending on which phone line I hook into with each call. Registration might help, but as Nathan said, it is too easy to create a new login. So, unless they are profane or using too much bandwidth, let them alone and don't feed them. I'll respond to well reasoned opposition, but I never respond to trolls.
Ignore the ignorant.
How about something like this:
You record the IP address of every poster, and then if the same IP shows up multiple times, and the name/email address changes, you put in parenthesis the original posting ID - that protects everyone's identity, but lets everybody know its the same person - even when we've got posters with multiple personality disorder.
(you may also need to take note of certain IP's (or IPs in certain ranges) that correspond to proxy servers for large companies :) I'd bet you get a fair number of posters from Boeing's corporate network, for example, and they'd all appear to be the same poster otherwise )
118. From behind a sordid mask of anonymity, a squeak: it's not too difficult to identify the worst of the trolls who contribute the least. Why not subject them to a 'Reality Blog' scenario, in which a weekly vote is taken among commentors to see who gets voted off the site?
119. Three pieces of id and proof of citizenship should be required of all posters, plus signing a statement supporting the principles of the Republican party.
"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers
I'm a big fan of using real names and (even more important) a real e-mail reply address. It not only reduces trolling, but allows people to take disagreements and off-topic conversation off-line, where they belong.
If people are not willing to stand up for what they say, then they should sit down and shut up.
A quick registration for posting, with e-mail verification would be a big plus.
121. North Clark: I am not exactly in a state of panic yet. But a 20% cummulative increase would basically double my rates in three to four years, making my $150 wintertime monthly bill $300. Yes I understand this has come up before and will probably be beaten down bipartisanly, but it is a little hard to swallow coming from a conservative president who is short of cash. Do you know if the TVA under the same price constraint? And if so, why they are not listed for increases?
122. I have nothing to hide...sign me up! I have no problem registering. I do it on a multitude of great websites. If someone is afraid to use their real name or give their e-mail perhaps their contribution isn't all that useful (thinking of a certain 'headless' contributor).
On second thought, I like one of the ideas of the other commenters best. Add registration, but leave the site completely open to trolls, and when they are exposed as trolls, color the text of their message bright pink or some other obnoxious color and expose their full details.
I've often thought we should bring back the stockade for the same reason. Many uncivil behaviors would be corrected quite quickly with a little public shame.
another 2 cents to my other 2 cents.
I would encourage you to NOT implement a registration.
I just posted a lengthier discussion of this at alsoalso dot typepad dot com, but no, TVA is a federal corporation, like the Postal Service and Amtrak.
BPA is a part of the Department of Energy, but unlike the others Power Marketing Agencies, is self-financing and does not receive appropriations from Congress.
Take a look at the other blog, and I'll check in there if you have more questions.
126. ...and because I'm between meetings I can add another 2 cents. I've frequently posted over at MoveOn.org (aka moonbat militant feminist pandering HQ) in the father's and men's rights section. You could write a thesis on how quick a moonbat will refute facts and data with name calling.
THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!! I wouldn't spend one red cent providing them with a forum for their BS. They have plenty of their own fora. Let them go there and spew their idiocies. They are a waste of time and money!
KICK 'EM TO THE CURB!!!!!!!!
The problem with removing the cloak and letting the light shine in is this: We conservatives would not take private malicious action against any one of them. The reverse is not true, as we saw during the last election what with the extensive vandalism against Republican headquarters and private property. I do know of one person who was privately targeted through this method of exposure - it started with an IP number. The offender traced it to an ISP. Some hacker friend knew somebody working for that ISP and gave the name and address to the offender. The victim suffered repeated physical assaults, two burglaries and extensive, costly vandalism, all of which went on over a period of more than a month. As usual, the police were useless. Their advice to the victim was to stay off the internet.
I really don't recommend displaying IPs as a solution. If you choose to do so, color me gone, friends.
I frequently visit the moonbat blogs, and I will say that email registration presents sufficient inconvenience to dissuade me from posting comments.
Just based on my own behavior, I think you will find that registration will not be a problem for those with serious and legitimate intent, and will deter those who have nothing of value to offer (yes, I beleive that not all opinions are equal).
Although I am not a big fan of registration, I do recognize that it has a place in managing costly resources.
I( agree with DKM. I'm an outsider (CA), but I drop by here daily. I also agree that considerate, thoughtful, sincere lefties could be welcome as long as they keep civil tongues in their mouths - er - fingertips.
If a registration process would also provide the technical ability to ban idiots such as trolls who just want to provoke or be foul and lefties who make themselves a waste of reading time and bandwidth due to their inability to string together a coherent argument or just want to repeat their leftist mantras, then I think registration is the way to go. Without the technical system banning feature, though, there's not much point in registration.
I want to reiterate that revealing IPs is a real bad idea, IMO.
131. My ideas are fully baked. On some lefty blogs I've seen Rightist commenters referred to as "Republican Attack Poodles." If that's OK with you then "Troll" is OK with me. I have noticed that Lefties tend to want to argue points and Righties don't. They(Righties) are convinced that they are supremely correct and many take an attack on their position very personally. Arguing with someone who agrees with you is not very fun or instructive. Arguing with someone who dissagrees with you and can back it up with facts and well-reasoned arguments forces you to abandon your position if you cannot find a stronger argument in your favor. So posting contrarian opinions brings down a host of criticism---some well-reasoned some not.
I will admit that many times I say things to get a rise out of you and I think that those of you who have not lost your perspective or sense of humour can appreciate that . I have been accused of not backing up my statements with appropriate sources. My source for that last statement on humour is no less of an expert than Steve Martin himself. His short, succinct view on the matter reads thusly: "F*** 'em if they can't take a joke!"
Methow Ken makes a really good point. If the election gets tossed, SP will be Sanity Central for the new election. SP is already nationally famous for its investigative work on this past election. It's my opinion (keep in mind I'm an outsider - CA) thousands, if not millions, will be looking to this site for information and discussion in the run up to that election, and on WA politics generally, even if there is no new election. With that in mind, I think SP presnets a much more sophisticated and serious face if the moonbats are completely 86'd.
Keep in mind that Powerline, the king of all discerning blogs, has no comment attribute at all (BTW, it was Powerline that brought me here in the first place, several months ago).
One of the fatal flaws of conservatives is that often we are TOO fair, TOO tolerant, and TOO accommodating, and those attributes are NEVER reciprocated by the left.
Registration with a valid e-mail. You can require users to register, send them an e-mail that must be replied to, and upon receipt activate their account.
Then disable anonymous posts, and allow us to set whether we would like our e-mail address shown, or let us change it after registering to a no spam address. But you still keep the real one.
The 'headless one' has finally found his brain and is finally using it.
We all have known that he was saying things to get a rise out of us.
And those of us with a sense of humor knew that he was trying to 'tickle our funny-bones'. At least he is a liberal who admits to his shenanigans. There aren't many who do. Keep him/her around..he could prove useful!
Let 'em stay, I say.
Since we live in a society that is supposed to be open to freedom of speech, perhaps this is one of the places where it should be allowed. Let's live our belief in freedom and let 'em rant away. While it does provide some aggravation, it also serves a purpose.
There are any number of the "drive-by curious" who want to see what all the fuss is about. This is a place where they can learn why there's controversy over Washington's 2005 election for governor. The site's content puts a lot of that information forward. The comments expand on the topics. Allowing the trolls to remain serves to demonstrate the tactics of those who prefer the "count the votes until we win" approach to close elections. The manner in which the blog's primary constituency respond to the trolls is also illustrative of the level of tolerance and knowledge of the more conservative side of the slate.
By allowing the free and open nature that now characterizes this blog's comments section, we have an opportunity to not only educate the "drive-by curious" on the issues, but to also demonstrate the relative nature of those involved in the discussion.
By the very nature of their posts, the trolls tend to make the curious shy away from the liberal side of the debate, helping to make them just that much more likely to vote for Rossi when the time comes.
Of course, it helps when the trolls' more outlandish rhetoric remains unanswered, but there's also a lot to be said for those who will patiently engage them in reasoned debate. When you do that, it's easy for someone to build a valid comparison between the trolling and the response.
I'd vote for keeping comment open and allowing the trolls to stick around to help demonstrate what we are working to improve. Trolls gots rights, too!
136. Insufficiently sensitive - RE: You are the weakest link -- a funny idea, but it likely would drive down the site counter and therefore owner revenue. Mass marketing a 'voted off the blog' show might work for t.v. though. On second thought there is no intelligent life still watching the small screen. (Isn't tv ownership still headed down in the US? What does our culture, the inventors of tv know, that the rest of the world has yet to learn?)
Whatever you end up doing I'll support.
However, it doesn't improve (IMHO) the quality of the website to allow the 'trolls' to come tromping in willy nilly anytime they want to with their comments. As I have seen on this site, most people will ignore them, but others will incite them further and then the *fights* begin.
This only serves their purpose of getting folks 'defocused' from the real issue and at the same time might even help them undermine and break up the unity exhibited by the other posters. My opinion I know, but hey you asked.
I'm sure I'll hear plenty from the others.
138. I like the Typepad approach. I don't comment on sites often, but am an avid reader, and don't mind going through the extra steps to comment via Typepad. I actually don't care if someone wants to vent on a comment, but if they can't identify who they are, then they are both cowards and lacking in conviction. From what I've heard, Typepad takes care of the idiots!
JMcC and north clark county:
That line ("keep your friend close . . .") was quoted in The Godfather by the Godfather to Michael Corleone, but that is not the original source. It is from The Prince by Machiavelli.
140. Thank you for the further insight.
141. I'd say separate them into two columns: the relevant and the moonbat-troll - keep the latter (with IP) around simply for historical value.....
A long time ago, a man, a poor man with one suit and a failing beer brewery, stood beneath a tall majestic tree and spoke his mind about tyranny. He welcomed any others to listen and agree or disagree, to speak their minds, to make public the problems of the common folk with their rulers. That tree was called the Liberty Tree, those who shared their frustration with the British rule was called ‘Sons of Liberty’. The poor man who risked his life to speak out was Samuel Adams.
His efforts, letter writing, speeches, talking to others about Liberty, Freedom, Self Rule, the rights of the people were heard and years later a new nation rose up. As Americans we owe a lot to that great American, and we should never chop the Liberty Tree down, (as did the British cut it down).
All voices, all sides, all people should be heard. The opposition only strengthens our arguments or shows its weak side. It must remain open to all. Some of the best things said were by anonymous. After all is my opinion so sound that it can’t stand public scrutiny?
There will always be fatheads, short tempers, graffiti in our message boards. Just don’t respond to them. I for one enjoy the rants of both sides.
Let Freedom Speak!
By Todd ‘Son of Liberty’ Hutcheson (aka Mehutch) proud American
143. I don't have a big problem with moonbats; they're easy to scroll past and it's good to see what the other side says, although reasonable posters from the other side are better.
The only thing I really object to on comment threads is obscenity. And, folks, asterisks don't really clean up the language; they just draw attention to your poor vocabulary.
144. Moonbat Troll Patrol: Exclude felons, the dead, dead felons, & Clueless Lucy. Unlike an alleged troll 2 weeks ago, who was raising points of order & interpretation I knew we'd be facing in Judge Bridges' court, Lucy has nothing to say. Take her away.
Daniel K -
Thanks for the assist on the archive! And yes, my email address is valid, though you will get a bounce back claiming you are SPAM...
Did you make the comments attributed you in the first third of the thread?
Go negative, kick people in the posterior?
Or is someone just making that up?
147. It's not every day one comes across a Republican Circle Jerk,
ban the trolls and you'll only have reasonable liberal discourse.
148. Sandalista: Why do you think that I have nothing to say? Does saying nothing make you angry and make you want to ban people from saying more of it, or does challenging your beliefs make you uncomfortable and therefore angry with me. Have you gained weight and your underwear are binding and making you testy? What exactly is your beef and do you have statistics and evidence to back it up?
149. Lucy, to put it kindly, I've read enough of your posts to see that your ideas, whether their your own or cadged from eleswhere and repeated, are neither challenging nor insightful. You remind me of a kid sister who wants to play with the big kids but can't get their attention through any means except preposterous needling, prompting them to shoo you away like a noisome fly.
You need to read further up in the comments of this thread.
Apparently somebody googled a posting from you on a lefty blog saying essentially "when you find a righty blog, post a bunch of negative stuff to break their will". Its pretty patently obvious that you're just here dorfing around, and not seriously discussing the topic. I'd guess you could say the jig is up.
Shoo! You "noisome fly"! And stay away from the adult discussions and cucumber sandwiches.
KittyBurglar, you are precious to a fault!
As I have done on my own blog, I strongly recommend
- requiring emails for posts,
- moderating comments from new posters,
- encouraging the use of Typekey,
- maintaining a content rating as a standard for what discourse is accepted in a comment, and
- warning people that content-free postings will be deleted without warning.
I've drawn a few interesting comments in my own postings about the Revote down in Clark County. Most people are pretty polite and honest.
I've had far more trouble with the attempted comment and trackback spammers.
What I do on my blog is
- moderate all incoming messages,
- rate my site with ICRA,
- warn people after the first “moonbat” that discussion needs to be polite and on-topic
- encourage the use of Typekey,
- require emails for all postings, and
- turn off auto-moderating for return visitors and Typekey users.
Down here in Clark County I've drawn a few moonbats that refer to the revote effort as crybaby politics, but for the most part people are polite. I suppose I haven't been discovered by the true moonbatists that want to make my site worthless. I pay for my own bandwidth too.
154. Sigh. Of course my first response didn't show so I rewrote it, assuming it had been lost. That'll teach me.
155. I instituted a no anonymous/pseudonymous comments policy at my blog, and simply delete any comments from people who don't post their real names or other identifying information. My troll population dropped off sharply.
156. Dearest Lucy: No, I didn't run a multiple regression on your vapidity quotient. Didn't compile stats, evidence, or RBIs, but am quite sure I know a moonbat when I see it or smell it.
157. And I am equally sure when I see an "attack poodle".
I must admit that you made me laugh uproariously with your 'Ottoman' comment (Ward Churchill speech...)
The Ottoman Empire? Didn't they used to call that the Footstool to the Orient"?
Posted by headless lucy at February 5, 2005 07:26 PM
Why you continue to indemnify yourself in such a ludicrous manner (in other words, without obtaining the requisite indemnity) makes me rethink my stated position.
If it weren't for your supreme ability to consistently prove that blind faith in a dying ideal (liberalism) was a true albatross, I would not have advocated your retention. Now, I am not so sure such a position is valid...
Lucy's next question: "What does 2 + 2 equal - and don't say 4, because I don't like that answer!"
Posted by Kate at February 10, 2005 11:08 AM
It is very important to ensure that correct thoughts are held sacred and remain sacred. All types of ideas and words that enflame us conservatives should not be allowed since it offends us.
The trolling posts that make us conservatives respond to the far left with personal attacks should not be allowed. Those trolling posts reduce our significance and power within our own little clique and make the right side of our faces turn red with embarrassment and anger. This is just too much for us conservatives to handle.
So I think those far left trolls should not be allowed to post here. It upsets us conservatives too much. But right wing trolls should of course be allowed to post since they are just responding to the liberal left who originate all the problems anyway.
Good Morning, Lucy. I suggested several days ago that you PM me regarding FDR's manic recession because it's an important topic, one of obvious interest to you, and one I know much about. It is, alas, a topic not very relevant to this forum.
Since Attack Poodles R Us, let me reaffirm that I did not attack Torrid Joe, an alleged troll. I said that his arguments & interpretations via RCWs & administrative codes deserved our courteous attention, not our censure, because we'd be hearing those arguments from the dark side in Judge Bridges' court. Unlike you, Torrid Joe was not abusing bandwidth.
Arf, & have a nice day.
161. Sandalista. If you are old enough I'll bet you were really listening to "Gary Puckett and the Union Gap", and yucking it up with the other Young Republicans at the Friday beer- bash after the student senate meeting. Yes, Hendrix did have funny hair and used illegal substances, but who is the world still listening to? I rule the non-sequiters on this bandwidth, not you!
162. Lucy in Disguise w/Neil Diamond: Doors for me, thanks; first, last, always, all ways. Non-sequiters not allowed outside the epynomous comic strip.
163. PS: Talon News Rules rule.