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January 22, 2003

Annals of political fraud: from tragedy to farce.

Regarding the latter, there’s a fine old Usenet term for a phony identity you create in order to post messages, ostensibly from someone else, in support of yourself and your positions. That word is sock-puppet. [02:37 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Annals of political fraud::

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 04:59 PM:

Rule of thumb: If a person-from-nowhere shows up online, and repeatedly defends the work of a single author -- the classic form being the sock puppet who responds to every last message about that author in some forum -- then you may depend upon it: no matter what the message headers say, that person is the author.

You wouldn't believe how many of them think they're undetectable. As author strategies go, it's right up there with posting a bunch of five-star Amazon reviews of your own book.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 05:02 PM:

Hey! "Mary Rosh" did that too.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 05:12 PM:

No!

Oh my god, that's disgraceful. Embarrassing. Amateurish.

Is he out of his mind, to admit so casually to being "Mary Rosh"? Can't he see what it does to his credibility?

julian ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 06:38 PM:

Well, not to be quaint, but maybe his conscience bothered him & he didn't want to lie about it. Or alternatively, maybe he could see that he was nicked anyway. Your guess is as good as mine.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 06:53 PM:

The Mary Rosh review of Caesar 3 by Sierra reads like maybe his kid wrote it, so maybe he shares the sock.

Ted Barlow ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 07:13 PM:

Lott says that he originally started the Maryrosh@aol.com email account for his kids, before they were old enough to have their own accounts. MaRyRoSh are the first letters in his kids' names. It probably really was one of his kids who reviewed Caesar 3.

aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2003, 07:34 PM:

I used to have a job which required me to stamp out flame wars in an online forum hosted by my employer. It was surprisingly common for there to be long threads (which would invariably start over a weekend and have grown to immense proportions by the time i got to work on monday morning) in which most of the mudslinging and name calling came from two people. Two people who appeared to be posting from the same IP address.

I suppose it's possible that these actually represented feuding family members who chose to inflict their feuds on us. But looking at the language in the posts, and observing capitalization idiosyncracies and grammatical errors, often suggested that these were, in fact, lengthy flame wars in which each was authored by the same person, under a different name.

It really warped the phrase arguing with oneself to an entirely new dimension. And I was never quite sure what the point was. (These people always turned out to be quite difficult to deal with, too, as asking them to stop typically achieved nothing other than getting them to flame me instead of themselves).

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2003, 07:22 AM:

aphrael, how about we call that a "Gollum vs. Smeagol" flamewar?

Heh.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2003, 01:16 PM:

From Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

>Is he out of his mind, to admit so casually to being "Mary Rosh"? Can't he see what it does to his credibility?


I think that he doesn't care - his credibility with the right is solid. Nothing else matters - it's all 'liberal political correctness'.

Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2003, 03:30 AM:

Using "maryrosh" to praise a book about Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton is merely being discreet. Using her to hype his own book before it caught on bigtime is being a smart businessman and taking all the opportunities you're offered.

You don't need intellectual honesty when the numbers speak for themselves. ("He said, `Intellectual!' Heh-heh! Heh-heh! Heh-heh!")

Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2003, 04:07 PM:

Not to spoil anyone's stereotypes, but it was conservatives and libertarians doing the active dog-piling on Lott, and there seems to be widespread disgust at his behavior. I see quite a bit of sentiment to the effect of "the next time he wants me to believe anything, he'd better have all the supporting details in order".

And I gather that pretty much all of his past assertions are going to get the thorough raking-over, too.

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2003, 05:10 PM:

There's dogpiling on John Lott from all quarters. His most ardent admirers still admire him (I'm thinking specifically of Clayton), but it's refreshing how widespread the criticisms are.

I personally now categorize him as "persistent and unrepentant liar", not because he's been caught lying about the big things, but because he lies about piddly trivial shit when it would make no difference for him to admit to error.

Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2003, 11:51 PM:

Julian Sanchez has a great postmortem which suggests that Lott's major claims are in fact true but which also subjects Lott's analysis to a measured but tough analysis.

Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2003, 12:09 PM:

A revealed Big Lie discredits its cause. If I were really paranoid, I would believe that Cyril Burt was a double agent.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2003, 07:40 AM:

Oops, I wish I'd noticed Bruce Baugh's comment earlier.

I'm sorry, I certainly didn't mean to impute that only liberals were involved in exposing Lott. Heck, the link in my post is to the weblog of the engaging and interesting libertarian Julian Sanchez.

More to the point, although this may surprise some Electrolite readers, my own bias in the gun argument is towards Lott's thesis--I suspect that pro-concealed-carry and shall-issue laws, overall, reduce crime. In other words, to the extent that it's possible to be moderately pro-gun without getting in bed with crazy people, I struggle to be moderately pro-gun. But Lott certainly hasn't done the argument any good.

Carl Lerasin ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2003, 04:58 PM:

For a interesting read on gender-switching internet IDs, see:

Do Boys (and Girls) Just Wanna Have Fun?
Gender-Switching in Cyberspace

http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/psycyber/genderswap.html

rea ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2003, 07:33 PM:

I've done a careful survey (unfortunately seem to have misplaced my data, though) which shows that 98% of the time, people who use internet sock puppets are simply warding off unfair criticism . . . :)

Wife of John Lott (yes, really) ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2003, 03:47 AM:

From the newly created web site:

This Is THE MaRyRoSh Screen Name
About MaRyRoSh and Mary

To The Press and all Other Curious People: This is John Lott's (real) wife speaking. Please at least get the little details right in your reporting! Here are the boring facts.

The AOL account was set up by me under my name in 1999. MaRyRoSh is an additonal screen name that I created some time later for the use of our four sons: Maxim, Ryan, Roger, and Sherwin.(Our daughter was not born yet.) I was the one choosing this particular combination; it seemed egalitarian and - as is quite customary - the listing was in age order.

When the screen name is used, it always, automatically registers as MaRyRoSh, NOT as MaryRosh or Mary_Rosh, which I am sure must have suggested to some that this was some amalgam and not a Mary who happened to have the highly unusual name of Rosh.

The screen name was originally used by the boys for messages within the scout troup, for ordering old coins on the internet, and for posting some book and game reviews.

At some point later, each son got his own screen name and MaRyRoSh was rarely used by them anymore. As there would occasionally be some e-mail coming in and it did not cost anything to keep the screen name, I never bothered to delete it.

So when my husband later ended up using MaRyRoSh (which I was not even aware of, as I did not check that mailbox), he did not have to use much imagination to take up the fictional character of Mary who is a student of his (which of course our sons are).
So much for the tranvestite or other pop-psycological spin in the media.

Gertrud (OK, I guess you can put some funny twist to this old-fashioned, boring name!)


Lott's wife ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2003, 03:52 AM:


This Is THE MaRyRoSh Screen Name
About MaRyRoSh and Mary

To The Press and all Other Curious People: This is John Lott's (real) wife speaking. Please at least get the little details right in your reporting! Here are the boring facts.

The AOL account was set up by me under my name in 1999. MaRyRoSh is an additonal screen name that I created some time later for the use of our four sons: Maxim, Ryan, Roger, and Sherwin.(Our daughter was not born yet.) I was the one choosing this particular combination; it seemed egalitarian and - as is quite customary - the listing was in age order.

When the screen name is used, it always, automatically registers as MaRyRoSh, NOT as MaryRosh or Mary_Rosh, which I am sure must have suggested to some that this was some amalgam and not a Mary who happened to have the highly unusual name of Rosh.

The screen name was originally used by the boys for messages within the scout troup, for ordering old coins on the internet, and for posting some book and game reviews.

At some point later, each son got his own screen name and MaRyRoSh was rarely used by them anymore. As there would occasionally be some e-mail coming in and it did not cost anything to keep the screen name, I never bothered to delete it.

So when my husband later ended up using MaRyRoSh (which I was not even aware of, as I did not check that mailbox), he did not have to use much imagination to take up the fictional character of Mary who is a student of his (which of course our sons are).
So much for the tranvestite or other pop-psycological spin in the media.

Gertrud (OK, I guess you can put some funny twist to this old-fashioned, boring name!)

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jj ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2003, 03:53 PM:

--------------
So when my husband later ended up using MaRyRoSh (which I was not even aware of, as I did not check that mailbox), he did not have to use much imagination to take up the fictional character of Mary who is a student of his (which of course our sons are).
--------------

Great, so he's a liar and he doesn't have any imagination either. I'm sure you must be so proud of him.