Back to previous post: Dashing Through the Snow

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Retreat Along the Wabash

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

November 3, 2007

Blow, blow, thou wanker wind
Posted by Patrick at 03:32 PM * 1165 comments

What the hell is wrong with the people in this thread? Boing Boing is a blog. Its authors occasionally use it to talk about projects they themselves are involved in. Like that’s unusual.

As Cory points out, out of the last 55 posts he contributed to Boing Boing, one was about his latest Guardian column, one was a link to a comic strip that referred to him in its punchline, and one was about a fan translation of one of his stories into Swedish. How this amounts to justifying the charge, levelled in the universally-recognizable, 100% phony-baloney voice of the concern troll, that “BoingBoing seems to have become for you mostly a PR vehicle for your stories”, passes all understanding. Cory’s response, far politer than its target deserved, evidently occasioned more and longer complaints about the inadequacy, injustice, and unfairness of the free ice cream. Holy crap.

Boing Boing is a compilation of links to stuff its authors find interesting. It’s been so successful that, for some people, it now feels like part of the Internet’s basic furniture. As a result, a certain kind of person feels entitled to try to guilt-trip the Boingers into not talking about their own projects and enthusiasms, as if Boing Boing’s eminence means its authors no longer get to indulge themselves the way EVERYONE ELSE ON THE INTERNET DOES EVERY DAY AND THREE TIMES ON WEEKENDS. This is the nastiest side of any sort of fame, even microcosmic fame: a certain number of people simply assume that if they start out with a forelock-tugging explanation that they’re “one of your biggest fans,” they can then go on to deal you a load of the most astonishing vileness, because as One Of Your Biggest Fans they obviously own you. In fact, of course, they don’t own you, and you should no more pay attention to what they think than you would to what a spammer thinks.

The real fact of the matter is that Cory Doctorow is, in basic temperament, an enthusiast. This makes him an excellent impresario of the interesting, but it also means that some people jump to false conclusions about him. (For instance, assuming that he’s an uncritical advocate of technological change, when in reality a great deal of his fiction is about tragic near-future consequences of exactly that.) It also means that there’s a certain kind of person who’s evidently compelled on an almost pre-conscious level to take Cory down a peg, because it’s just intolerable that anyone should be smart, widely admired, successful, and obviously having fun. Those people are poison, and whatever it is they tell themselves about what they’re doing, their effect on the rest of the world is evil.

Comments on Blow, blow, thou wanker wind:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Short version: Cory got trashed in a BB comment thread for occasionally talking about himself and his current projects.

#3 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:52 PM:

I was "lucky" (FSVO) enough to have read the thread before the deletion and disemvowellings.

My reaction, somewhat less articulate than Patrick's, was basically "Entitlement much?" I complain less than that about things I do pay to read.

#4 ::: WimL ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 04:55 PM:

You're being a bit oversensitive, Patrick. I've seen plenty of Doctorow-hatin' blog trolls, and that comment ain't one of them. Your notion of "troll" is expanding to include "any comment that produces discussion I don't like".

Of course, now I see that the offending comment has been deleted --- not just disemvowelled, but removed entirely. That sort of sanitizing moderation is one of the things that makes a blog less interesting to visit. Alas.

#5 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:04 PM:

[Reposted from OT 94, where I put it by accident.]

The BoingBoing comment threads are a bizarre place. The instant they started back up, there was a sizable minority of people on them who already had that peculiar sense of entitlement. Why four people so obviously decent and aw-shucks thrilled about a lot of the world around them should attract such a crowd of naysayers is beyond me.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:05 PM:

The comment in question was deleted by someone else (not Cory) while Teresa was disemvowelling it--an internal screwup, mostly regrettable because it makes it harder to have an intelligent discussion about this particular flavor of assholery.

As for "oversensitive," sorry, no sale.

#7 ::: Judith ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:07 PM:

It seems to be me that you should at least note in your above rant that Teresa Nielsen Hayden works as the comments moderator for BoingBoing.

#8 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:08 PM:

This seems to happen a lot when a blog becomes very popular due to carrying a large number of a particular kind of article: other kinds of article become unappreciated. I first noticed the phenomenon on Slashdot, which most people don't think of as a blog, but it is really. I suspect that's the same issue here: many people aren't thinking of BoingBoing as a blog. It's a news source, a collection of miscellaneous interesting things, and so they forget about it being a blog.

#9 ::: Flippanter ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:12 PM:

For what may one criticize Cory Doctorow, if not what he writes, publishes, blogs, enthuses about?

#10 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:15 PM:

The internet is filled with people who have a remarkable ability to type with one hand.

Does anyone really need to know exactly who they are?

#11 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Up next: livejournal author criticized for using self-portrait as userpic.

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Nobody's suggesting Cory should be exempt from criticism. This isn't about anyone being above criticism; it's about the way some people feel entitled to abuse celebrities, even niche microcelebrities, for behavior that's acceptable coming from everybody else.

Judith, #7: Teresa's work with Boing Boing has been extensively and openly discussed on Making Light. What I said about Boing Boing applies here. This is a blog, not the New York Times, and just as neither you nor I are responsible for what we do in other people's dreams, I'm also not going to take any crap for failing to live up to your imagination of what disclaimers I "should" post on my personal web site.

#13 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:25 PM:

You get what you pay for.

The fact that there are so many people out there willing to give "free ice cream" does not, in any way, mean that they are required to do so. If I, as a reader, no longer like the flavor, I have no right to demand they change it. Besides, it's not as though there aren't plenty of other places giving out free ice cream.

Or cheeseburgers. :)

#14 ::: Rob Hoffmann ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:27 PM:

I thought it was blindingly obvious that a blog belongs to its writers, not its readers. The writers post what they want, and the readers go along for the ride.

I gather it's not quite that blindingly obvious to everyone. Well, tough. Welcome to the real Internet.

#15 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:29 PM:

The actual comment history is a bit hard to follow with all the relevant posts deleted. The comments now start off with Cory apologizing to "squid" for feeling some particular way, which, I must say, didn't make any sense to me at all until a comment by Teresa further down mentioned that the post had been deleted.

As for whether or not Cory can be criticized for having 6% of his posts be about him: sure, anyone can criticize anyone they want, including me criticizing people who complain about free content on the web.

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Isn't it relatively rare for blogs to comment about anything other than the bloggers' own lives? This is jaw-droppingly...nikulturno.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Over at firedoglake, when someone starts criticizing the hostesses for not posting about whatever the commenter's hobbyhorse-of-the-moment is, they get politely told to go start their own blog. Or, sometimes, impolitely told.

#18 ::: Ian ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:41 PM:

The original Boing Boing post that the referenced thread is about started out "My Nebula-award-nominated story...". That sounds self-congratulatory and is likely to attract adverse comment. It slightly raised my hackles and I thought "that has the potential to cause trouble" before any furore ensued. As it is I've met Cory and he isn't of a self-congratulatory mind set; after all he's Canadian and that's almost as self-effacing as being English.

I have to say, however, that I've noticed that a lot of his posts are about things that could be considered as 'promoted' by the post. Clearly I'm not the only one to have formed that opinion. My attitude has been, well it's his blog and if he wants to do that he can, but if it gets much more blatent then that may be one less blog I read.

Due to constant exposure to spin, I can't help but ask if the quoted 3 of his last 55 posts have been about 'himself' does that mean that 4 of his last 56 posts have been like that?

By the way, you need to do something about spam and this blog. The comment form requires an email address and posts it to the site thus forcing its exposure. It took under 24 hours for me to get the first spam to the (unique) email address I used for my first comment on here. Spam to that unique address now represents 5% of the spam I get (and I get a lot).

#19 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:43 PM:

I think the most amusing and amazing anti-doctorow comment I ever saw was on Metafilter http://www.metafilter.com/60356/freedom-isnt-free#1656789

where in response to the question "WWCDD (what would cory doctorow do)" on an RIAA post the response was:
"Complain. Incessantly. Maybe throw in some indignant posturing. And then, gradually but with utter certainty, become distracted by knitted papercraft subway anagram cozies like a raccoon is distracted by something shiny. Then get a bad haircut and maybe another Apple tattoo, masturbate in a fit of gut-wrenching loneliness and call it a night."

somebody actually wrote that! ON METAFILTER!!!

#20 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:45 PM:

'started out "My Nebula-award-nominated story..."'

should definitely have started: my incredibly crappy story of which I am deeply ashamed. This is how I announce anything of mine and it has been a real winner for me, I highly recommend it.

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:48 PM:

ian @ 18

Put something in as a URL; it will appear instead of the e-mail address.

Fruitcake-maps? Again?

#22 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:51 PM:

s smn whs nnyms cmmnt crtczng Dctrw's frqnt pstng f slf-rfrntl rtcls ws mdrtd nd dnd pblctn, thnk th pnt f th crtcsm s mssd by hs dfndrs. s Bng Bng s " drctry f wndrfl thngs", thr s smthng lttl crss bt frqntly pstng bt nslf. f crs Dctrw hs sm wndrfl thngs, bt th rt f Cry t nn-Cry bts sms bt xcssv, spclly whn cmprd t thr BB dtrs. s Flyng Sqd pntd t n hs/hr rgnl cmmnt, Dctrw ds hv prsnl blg, whch mght b cnsdrd bttr frm fr n's wn ccmplshmnts nd cclds. Whl Dctrw sggsts tht th Swd's dlght n hvng hs wrk n thr ntv lngg s jstfs th pst's nclsn, srly tht s bt slf-srvng. nd whl ths wk nly cntnd 3 Cry strs, thr wks r lss knd. Srsly Dctrw, y hv ccss t yr wn dt, s wht s th rt f Cry t nn-Cry pstngs? Wht bt thr dtrs? ny bsrvtns frm thrs bt n mblnc n slf-prmtn mng BB dtrs?

#23 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:54 PM:

I should note that I have never met Doctorow but have formed a negative opinion of him due to a post on Boing Boing about 4-5 years ago.

So not only are most of the Cory haters a bunch of wieners they are also an extremely parvenu bunch of wieners that cannot measure up to the level of fortitude exemplified by me in my own Cory hating.

Ok, a confession here - I am seriously thinking of quitting the whole hate Cory hobby because most of the people who do it are technically douchenozzles, by my reading of the douchenozzle spec. And I have read that spec, thoroughly.

I have already resolved not to hate on Xeni because it would be unchivalrous to do so. Maybe I can move to hating Mark.

#24 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 05:56 PM:

'As Boing Boing is "a directory of wonderful things", there is something a little crass about frequently posting about oneself.'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN_oWSEizec

#25 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Ian...check some of the other addresses of posters here. Mine, for example, has a big NOSPAM in it; it's obvious to any human that that's supposed to be removed, but not to a spambot.

And, just to let you know, By the way, you need to do something about spam and this blog isn't really phrased in the most polite way. We are guests here. Try again.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:03 PM:

CeCe 22: Are you a drive-by, or are you actually going to engage in conversation? I'm asking only because this is your first post on ML, at least under that email address, and if you're a drive-by I won't waste energy responding to your post, which I consider wrong in several important respects.

#27 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:03 PM:

"has a big NOSPAM in it; it's obvious to any human that that's supposed to be removed, but not to a spambot."

actually if that strategy was worth it for Spambot writers to take into account breaking the strategy would be trivial. That spambot writers have no need to solve this problem does not mean that it is a surefire strategy.

#28 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:06 PM:

CeCe@22: surely that is a bit self-serving.... what is the ratio of Cory to non-Cory postings?

Since the answer to that question is, literally, right in front of you, it would seem that you have no interest in the facts that would conflict with your opinions.

scroll up to the top. First sentence, second paragraph.

#29 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Cm pn ths thrd frm lnk t th rgnl BB stry. my nt cntn t ths blg, ths s my frst tm hr nd cn't sy f 'll b rnd lng. f tht dscrdts m smhw, s b t. s my cmmnt t BB ws cnsrd by nn-pblctn, thght mght cmmnt hr, whr m nt rqrd t sgn p fr nythng. Cnvrs wy, my r my nt rspnd, f tht mks dffrnc n yr dcsn t vc yr pnn.

#30 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Xopher @ #25 & bryan @ 27:

Yeah, it's hard to believe that NOSPAM actually works. It's a one-line perl script to remove it. (Of course, what isn't?)

I used to write my email address backwards (ude.yelekreb.htam@tja), but that turns out to be a bit too effective. Real people have trouble reversing things. These days, I just settle for some nonsense that googles well.

#31 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Wait, what's the game here? .... Oh! I get it. Here goes:

Patrick -- and all of you people -- as one of your biggest fans, I have to say you should stop using this space to push your own opinions, interests, and viewpoints. There is something more than a little ugly about defending someone you have some kind of (cough, cough) professional relationship with -- I mean, what's in it for you, huh? I'm here as your captive, worshipful audience, and now, I just don't know . . . I think you are leading me astray! Where will I go? What will I do? Who'll be my role model now that my role model is gone? I demand that you respond to my concerns with a full accounting of your online activity for the last year. Otherwise I will consider you guilty of self-expression outside the well-established boundaries of blogger ethics.

Did I get a BINGO???

Wait . . . the game was to replicate the stupidity of the Boing Boing thread on this thread, only with irony, right? Please tell me there was irony.

Recursive discourse is so confusing.

#32 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Wll thnks fr th src f lst wk's dt Grg. s md n rfrnc t spcfc tm frm, th qstn thn rfrs t th vrll rt. Hw ths mnts t dsdn fr fcts, m nt sr. Slly.

#33 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Hm. Not gonna go read the thread, I find that kind of thing pretty toxic, but regarding the post that set off the noise:

As soon as I realize a Boingboing post is about a CC work being translated into a language I don't read, I move on, so I don't have an opinion about whether Cory was being too immodest in this particular one. I see those, and I think it is Cory crowing about how well the Creative Commons idea is working. "Look, more people are doing more great stuff with the Creative Commons stuff I'm putting out there! Isn't Creative Commons great?" It doesn't read as self-congratulation to me, it reads as excitement that the idea is working. Does he post about other CC work getting translated occasionally? Less often, I'm sure, because no one keeps him informed about it, but hasn't it happened at least once or twice?

#34 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:28 PM:

I think it will be a little bit uncouth to flame out on CeCe at this point, in case anyone is revving up for it, since he or she has done nothing to warrant it other than comment with an opinion that I for one find reasonable.

There has been no support of torture in this thread yet people, everybody remain calm.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:29 PM:

CeCe @ 32

As Boing Boing is "a directory of wonderful things", there is something a little crass about frequently posting about oneself. Of course Doctorow has some wonderful things, but the ratio of Cory to non-Cory bits seems a bit excessive, especially when compared to other BB editors.

If you really meant 'in the last week', you really should have said so at the time, instead of complaining later that we misunderstood what you said. Your best defense is to put in those qualifiers, rather than make absolute statements.

#36 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:29 PM:

And in case anyone is going to take me to task for agreeing with CeCe I didn't, I said I found the opinion reasonable which is not exactly the same as agreeing with it.

#37 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Speaking as a Swede, I think it's positive and newsworthy that relevant new science fiction like "Ownzored" is translated into my native language -- the Swedish SF scene has always been small and needs constant nurturing by international talents.

(And yes, "I'm Your Biggest Fan" are the creepiest words in the English language.)

#38 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:41 PM:

ddn't wrt r mn '"n th lst wk'", r sggst tht mnt tht. s 'v sd, th lck f sttd tm frm lvs nly rfrnc t n vrll rt. thnk ths s th dffrnc btwn msndrstd nd msrd. nd thnk my "cmplnng" s rthr mld crrctn f n bvs msrdng f wht wrt.

#39 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:41 PM:

actually I'm your biggest fan-dancer is creepier.

#40 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:58 PM:

CeCe@32: As I made no reference to a specific time frame, the question then refers to the overall ratio.

I highly doubt that anyone who runs a blog tags their entries with "Stuff that some yay-hoo might get bent out of shape about" so as to be able to run some script and spit out a number of how many posts they made that some yay-hoo might get bent out of shape about.

Do you?

And if you take issue with the lack of data, then again that's simply more of the "flaming Cory for doing what any other blogger does". No one keeps those kinds of statistics on their own blog, because it's stupid statistics to try and divine what may get some yay-hoo bent out of shape.

That's the problem with yay-hoos: you never know what's gonna make them bend.

You want to know how many posts are about Cory versus non-Cory, and you'll toss a fit if the ratio doesn't meet your satisfaction. Some other yay-hoo might get bent due to an underrepresentation of posts about bagpipes, cause, you know, there just isn't enough talk about bagpipes out there.

What's the saying, make something foolproof and the world builds a better fool.

#41 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Lila @11: You starting? ;)

Is it me, or does Boingboing attract an equal number of wonderful things and Internet nutjobs? I'm glad to see comments back there, but (without wanting to get all brown mustachey) they're nothing like as interesting or informative as ML's.

#42 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Oh, I dunno, what about "I know where you live"?

#43 ::: NoneSuch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:09 PM:

ctlly Cry ddn't gt "trshd", t lst nt by th dltd cmmnt. hd tm t rd t nd t ws rlly jst n hnst crtq.

thnk th bttm ln s "d nt prvd nythng thr thn pstv fdbck r thy'll dlt/dsmvwl/bn y."

#44 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Yp. My cmmnt gt dsmvwlld s wll.

ts rlly sd tht sch plt, tm, blncd crtcsm ws trtd s hrshly.

#45 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:26 PM:

It's amazing, at least to me, how much the complaints about the way bloggers at Boing Boing or Making Light (or any other site of note) choose to manage comment threads in their own weblogs sound like the complaints you get in Harry Potter fandom (or any other fandom of note) when the author chooses to involve the hero or heroine in a relationship with some character other than the complainant's favorite.

Fannish entitlement. It's an amazing thing.

#46 ::: ed g. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Wanker wind, when wilt thou blow
The shit rain down can rain?
Christ, if my vowels were in my post,
And I in my thread again.

#47 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:42 PM:

Hy Grg. cn ndrstnd why my crrctn f yr msrdng nnyd y. t cn't b plsnt t b cght bng crlss. nd, btw, cmplng tht dt s ctlly qt sy. f crs thr s n bjctv ln tht msrs t mch, t lttl, r ccptbl slf-rfrntl pstng, bt cmprtv dt bt BB dtrs mght b lttl tllng. t crtnly hlps t hv sm sch msrs whn mkng lrgly sbjctv rgmnts. ws ctlly hpng t hv sm dscrs bt whthr Dctrw nggs n t mch slf-prmtn. Bt f ncrrctly rdng my wrtng nd schwng mthdlgy ppls t y mr, kp t p, y'r dng fblsly. Rsn mch? njy yr rghts ndgntn. T.

#48 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:44 PM:

CeCe 29: Good, and I for one expect no more. Comments here are moderated after the fact, never held for moderation (unless they contain lots of links, which is a spam-blocking feature).

I think most of what I was going to say to you has now been said, but I will add that "a directory of wonderful things" is just BB's self-description. If Cory thinks it's wonderful that one of his stories has been translated into Swedish, he has every right to post about it. If you don't think that qualifies as "wonderful," then you can skip that post or go elsewhere...or you can whine about it in comments, but IMO that's pretty gauche.

If I'm getting free ice cream, and they give me butter pecan (my favorite) frequently, but occasionally serve peppermint (I cannot STAND peppermint ANYTHING), it's unseemly of me to complain that peppermint is being served too often, or to suggest that they serve peppermint somewhere else. "Beggars can't be choosers," as my mom taught me.

I think you're thinking of yourself as a customer of BB, and I think that's wrong. You're a guest in their space, and if they don't like what you say they don't have to put it up on their wall (by publishing your comment). Ordinarily they are quite moderate about these things, but there are lines you can't cross.

If you visited my house, you could play with the letters on my refrigerator door. If you arrange them so they spell "Christopher is a duh-head," I won't object, but if you arrange them so they say "there's too much lemon pickle in this refrigerator; please get rid of it" I will not only not let that stand, I probably won't let you come back to my house, because you've just been extremely rude. I didn't ask you to EAT the lemon pickle, after all; you just saw it in the refrigerator while you were looking for the mayo (or whatever).

I respectfully submit that readers and commenters on a blog are much more like guests in someone's home than customers in a store, or readers of a magazine. Also, I can subtitle my blog "Discussions exclusively of marmota monax and its ability, or lack of same, to propel large pieces of cellulose through the air, along with hypothetical questions of degree" and then write about nothing but food, and anyone who complained about the lack of papers on marmota monax could really just go to hell.

BuffySquirrel 42: Yeah, or the classic "I know who you are and I saw what you did," which really will scare just about anyone. Doesn't matter if "what you did" was Swiffering your living room.

NoneSuch 43: It's possible for a critique to be rude by its content. Cory has a right to blog whatever he wants. People who read a blog are his (usually welcome) guests. If they don't like what they read, they're entitled to complain—within the limits of courtesy.

It's discourteous to complain that someone's blog posts are too much about hir own life. Not to mention ridiculous. I did not see the post that was deleted, but Cory's response to it was quite measured, though his annoyance showed through. Flying Squid, for hir part, was gracious in the posts of hirs that remain.

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 07:51 PM:

CeCe Whining:

The Internet, I find, is not so big
that I cannot poison the parish pump,
upon my kind hosts' best intentions jump
and on their bare heads dance a merry jig.
Here I can come clad both in mask and wig
and drop my anger in a single lump,
in the most public space just take a dump
and then complain when I am called a pig.
It seems the way to exorcise our ghosts
is just to shout that life is never fair
to those of us who lack honour and shame.
You feel much better annoying your hosts,
letting your flatulence pollute the air,
and that way others will think of your name.
The whole thing's nothing but a childish game
of shouts and shadows, loud and anxious boasts,
but nothing matters since my anger's bare.
I'm not the guilty one. I'll take no blame
for what I've written in my silly posts.
You cannot shut me up. You would not dare.
And so one boring life is given worth,
while others wonder at the monstrous birth.

#50 ::: Booch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:05 PM:

'v bn rdr f BB fr fw yrs nw nd th rctn by thm t wht thght ws n hnst crtcsm ws bt jrrng.

Ys t's thr blg, bt fl ppl shldn't b cnsrd, prvdd th cmmnts rn't ffnsv.

ls, d fnd t bt hypcrtcl tht BB hs pstd svrl ntrs n cnsrshp rltng t Ggl r Ytb, bt whn Bng Bng ds t, w'r tld tht thy cn d whtvr thy wsh, nd chw t ths wth n ppsng pnn fr hvng sns f nttlmnt.

ls fl tht th "dsmvwlng" t b smwht mmtr, s sw ths blg s cllctn f prfssnls wh wldn't wst tm dng sch thng.

#51 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Booch 50: I also feel that the "disemvoweling" to be somewhat immature, as I saw this blog as a collection of professionals who wouldn't waste time doing such a thing.

Booch, they don't waste their time doing it. They hired someone to do it for them. Someone, by the way, who is your Hostess here.

#52 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Shocked, shocked I am to find that a owners of a blog would comment about the lives, interests and careers of the blog owners. It's such a revolutionary concept.

Somewhere Kurt Colbane is saying, "I told ya so." (here we are, now entertain us).

#53 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Pnt tkn Xphr. Bt crtqng dtrl chcs nd cntnt sn't rlly dscrts, t's n ppl t thrtcl cnsdrtns bt th ntr nd frm f pblshng. Mny ppl crtcz dtrl cntnt f mny dffrnt frms f md. Th dtrs f BB dn't hv t mv pn my pnn, bt thnk th ct tslf s dfnsbl. f crs m fr t gnr Dctrw's pstng nd slly d, bt ftr bsrvng ths pttrn fr rthr lng tm, chs t mk frly plt cmmnt bt th frqncy f hs slf-rfrntl psts. Whch ws mdrtd wy. Whch h ws bsltly nttld t d. nd s chs t wrt t hr, whn th tpc cm p gn.

Fr thrs, prhps nfmlr wth trm d hmnm:

n d hmnm rgmnt, ls knwn s rgmntm d hmnm (Ltn: "rgmnt t th prsn", "rgmnt gnst th mn") cnssts f rplyng t n rgmnt r fctl clm by ttckng r pplng t chrctrstc r blf f th prsn mkng th rgmnt r clm, rthr thn by ddrssng th sbstnc f th rgmnt r prdcng vdnc gnst th clm. Th prcss f prvng r dsprvng th clms s thrby sbvrtd, nd th rgmntm d hmnm wrks t chng th sbjct. (Wkpd)

ll fr xprssng n pnn bt n dtr. Fr shm y lkly lbrls. gn, rsn mch?

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:31 PM:

Xopher @ 48

'Marmota monax' ... oh, my aching ribs, that had me nearly on the floor. Do you ... never mind, yes, you did have to.

(BTW, save the peppermint icecream for me.)

#55 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:33 PM:

I've noticed that there is a phase change for celebrities. Up to a certain point, they are viewed as regular people, and their opinions are accepted as their *opinions*. But past a certain point of popularity, they are seen as having the power to steer agendas and make or break newcomers in a field. At that point, the public forces them to assume a new responsibility as gatekeeper of the public agenda. And the public gets upset if they feel the gatekeeper -- who is only doing what they had always done -- uses their celebrity power for personal gain or for the gain of their friends.

I wish I knew when and how this phase change happens. But Cory's long overdue for it. He's not just some guy with a blog, anymore. I know he wishes that he still was.

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:36 PM:

CeCe @ 53

About those last two paragraphs of yours ...
(1) We know quite well what ad hominem arguments are. Just about every troll or wannabe troll uses them.
(2) Are you always this rude to your fellow guests?
Just asking, before Our Hostess decides to bring out the disemvoweller.

#57 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:36 PM:

CeCe@47: Hey Greg. I can understand why my correction of your misreading annoyed you. It can't be pleasant to be caught being careless.

Oh, hogwash. You're whining about BoingBoing. I called you on your whining. You want to make it an argument about some linguistic technicality because you don't want to make it about the fact that you're whining.

Waaah! Cory talks to much about himself! We need hard data to prove Cory talks to much about himself! Why doesn't Cory have hard data to prove that he talks too much about himself!

#22: what is the ratio of Cory to non-Cory postings?


#32: the question then refers to the overall ratio.

#47: And, btw, compiling that data is actually quite easy.

Then shut up and do it rather than whining that no one did it for you.

#58 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:40 PM:

CeCe (22), which comment in that thread was yours? Neither your name nor your e-mail address nor your IP address matches any of the comments there.

#59 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:42 PM:

I don't understand why the disemvowelling comes across as an immature practise. Particularly if one has been warned that it is the consequence for rudeness.

Booch says he views it as A) censorship and B) not worthy of a professional's time. Except that A) the comment is still there to be pieced together if'n you really care about that sort of thing, and B) that is how the professional in question has chosen to deal with all outbursts of that nature. They (in this case, Teresa) have to deal with it in some way...and this way has proven effective in other venues (namely here). It doesn't ignore a problem, nor does it give extra oxygen to a troll's flame. It merely makes it difficult for a troll to propagate their message.

In this case, the folks in question may or may not be trolls, but seriously, how many times does the internet need to bang this lesson into people's heads? People's blogs are their home turf and dictating somebody's behaviour on their home turf is rude. I don't think Boing Boing has misrepresented itself as being anything other than a collection of links to things some people might find interesting.

Also, famously, you can catch more flies with honey, or something like that anyway. There are certainly more positive, less rude ways to get content you like up on Boing Boing, one of which is to compliment the stories you do like. (Although all things in moderation. I bet even John Scalzi, just to pull out a random example, gets tired of hearing that Bacon Cat was the best thing EVAR.)

#60 ::: roninkakuhito ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Before people gripe about how many more posts Cory does about things that Cory is doing, I'd like to point out that, at least from an informal survey of boingboing, I'd like to point out that on the front page at 8:32 EST 11/03/07 Cory had 14 posts, David had 5, Xeni had 1, John had 0, and Joel had 1. It may just appear that Cory has a less favoriable ratio of posts about himself to posts total, because he posts so much more to the site. (I don't recall people jiving Xeni crap about posting about her work.)

#61 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 08:59 PM:

As someone whose anonymous comment criticizing Doctorow's frequent posting of self-referential articles was moderated and denied publication, I think the point of the criticism is missed by his defenders. As Boing Boing is "a directory of wonderful things", there is something a little crass about frequently posting about oneself.

I don't know anything about your comments. I do think it's a little precious to surf over to a blog which is about things that Cory Doctorow thinks are wonderful and get bent that occasionally some of them are his own.

#62 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:09 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #49:

I was thinking of making a comment to the effect that coming in here to defecate on the carpet because one is not allowed to do so on BoingBoing is really classy (not), but you've said it so much better than I ever could. Cheers!

#63 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:09 PM:

Why can't Cory be more like Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi, say? They hardly ever promote Cory's stuff on their own blogs.

#64 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:11 PM:

When did it become gauche to promote yourself on your own damn blog, anyway? I seriously, seriously don't understand all the whining at BB. I love the comments there, it makes me feel like the in crowd to post there -- but my God there are so many jerks.

I figure Remus @55 is right, though. +4 Insightful.

Xopher@48, that was the funniest thing I've read in a long time. I don't actually normally laugh out loud when reading things online, and very rarely have to take off my glasses to wipe the tears out of my eyes. Good one.

#65 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Does the name "BoingBoing" derive from the defunct BoingBoing Magazine? (If so, is the name supposed to signify something?)
:-S

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:26 PM:

mcz #62: I do my best. Thanks.

Alex Cohen #63: YOMANK!

#67 ::: CeCe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:32 PM:

P.J. n d hmnm ttck mmdtly ftr sttng h knws wht d hmnm mns. Hlrs.

Grg, yr nm cllng dsn't mnt t mch f n rgmnt. nd ys, yr rrr n rdng frmd th bss nd sbsqnt fr fr yr flm. Dfnsv prd? Rnt wy, bt myb y wnt t ctlly ddrss th pnt. Smply dsmssng m s whnng dsn't qt ct t.

Trs, th cmmnt md ws fr dffrnt pst nd smply nvr md t t pblctn, yt sm f my pnts wr ddrssd n Dctrw's rspns t Sqd.

Hv fn wth th tpc ll. Ths s gttng tds. T.

#68 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Having only met Cory only about a month ago, I have to appreciate his mentions of his outside work, they've been allowing me to fill myself in on his previously published short stories.

I have noticed that there are a lot of comments from him that promote his other work, but that's probably just because a lot is happening in his life currently. Sometimes things run in trends (political blogs and elections, sports around the Olympics and World Cup), and it doesn't surprise me that once in a while a lot of things happen in a short amount of time.

Now, if he only promoted his other work, then that might be a problem, but if you're going to offer criticism, try to make it constructive criticism. He's a writer, I'm sure he can take a critique of his work.

#69 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:40 PM:

What's all this mealymouthedness about honest and mild-mannered criticism? There was a string of extraordinarily offensive comments, and I disemvowelled them. Of the people who posted them, only one -- Flying Squid -- is an established commenter at Boing Boing. Nutkin was posting on Boing Boing for the first time, and Yeago had only made his first comment there the day before. The anonymous comments were on average worse.

Now we have CeCe here, being condescending (though not very well) about the fine points of language, and explaining that Cory talks about himself too much. This is nonsense. Cory spends most of his time talking about other things. So do the other boingers. In fact, the frequency with which they talk about themselves is unusually low for nonpolitical bloggers.

Besides, CeCe talks about himself/herself a lot oftener than the boingers do.

Upshot: I'm not buying it.

Bryan (23) and Fragano (49), thank you for your reassertion of civilized values.

CeCe (29), are you familiar with the word "bingo"? Also, in re (32) and (38): Greg, he's yours if you want him.

Folk on LJ (41): I'm working on it. The commenters are slowly getting the idea of reading and responding to each other.

Booch (50), reconsider the part about "provided the comments aren't offensive."

CeCe (53): "I chose to make a fairly polite comment about the frequency of his self-referential posts." You did nothing of the sort. How far this statement depart from truth depends on which one of the disemvowelled posters you were -- assuming you were one at all.

#70 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:51 PM:

Seems to me that there's an awful lot of free floating hostility in this thread...

CeCe, I think your point -- the ratio of Cory to non-Cory bits seems a bit excessive -- has been heard. Most people so far have disagreed with it. It's your opinion, you have a right to it, but your implication that you are being reasonable and other people are attacking you unfairly is unsupported by any evidence. The ratio of Cory to non-Cory posts at BoingBoing proves nothing; if the ratio were 10 to 1, it would still not prove that Cory is posting about his own achievements too much, because what is "excess" is a subjective judgment.

As is the judgment by P. J. that you were rude. It was not an ad hominem argument, because you did not make an argument, you simply expressed an opinion. You have been disagreed with and told that you are perceived as rude.

The music stops, and one of you is now without a chair.

Since you said goodbye, I'm probably wasting time here. Oh well...

#71 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:52 PM:

So Xopher: how much cellulose would a Marmota monax propel if a Marmota monax could propel cellulose?

#72 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Lizzy L @ 70: The music stops, and one of you is now without a chair.

Our thoughts are parallel; I found myself wishing Susanne was about so I could ask her what the music was like for the ancient dance called the Troll Flounce.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 09:59 PM:

CeCe (67), you don't sound like you think PJE's comment was hilarious. Also, Greg was right about your language. And then there's this bit:

"Teresa, the comment I made was for a different post and simply never made it to publication, yet some of my points were addressed in Doctorow's response to Squid."
Sorry, but that's patently implausible on two counts. First, if your comments made elsewhere never saw light of day, how could Cory have addressed them in his response to Squid? For that matter, why would he have addressed them there?

Second, your initial claim regarding your status, made in a comment thread on Making Light that was discussing a specific Boing Boing entry and the comment thread pertinent thereto, was:

"As someone whose anonymous comment criticizing Doctorow's frequent posting of self-referential articles was moderated and denied publication, I think the point of the criticism is missed by his defenders."
It's not always easy to identify the default meaning of some construction, but in this case it's not a problem. Unless otherwise specified, your statement would be taken to refer to the BB comment thread under discussion. If you failed to do so, early on, you were the one in the wrong. If you failed to do so until this latest exchange, you're trying to squirm out from under your earlier representations.

Do feel free to go away. Arguing with a liar is a waste of time.

Finally:

"Have fun with the topic all. This is getting tedious. Ta."
Bingo!

#74 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Also, Debra is right. People get emotionally invested in things. I certainly get emotionally invested in the books that I read and the shows that I watch. In those situations, I'm invited to be emotionally invested in them, so that isn't so surprising.

In this day and age I think that people are used to becoming emotionally invested in things that are not tangible. I myself am coming off a long term commitment to a web community. I understand that people can form deep emotional bonds with the things that they interact with.

Is it an amazing thing? Perhaps, but I don't think it is that odd. In the publishing industry, Debra is on one side of a very clear division. With online communities (and BoingBoing is a community by virtue of their setup and their solicitation of leads) the line is a little less distinct. I don't find fannish entitlement in any situation all that surprising, least of all in these online communities.

#75 ::: glinda the occasionally good ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Xopher @ 48: re: marmota momax

*helpless laughter*

#76 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:03 PM:

CeCe@67: maybe you want to actually address the point

You wanted to know how many posts Cory made about himself, ever. You then said at #47 that it would be easy to figure out. So I told you to shut up and start counting.

Your point has been addressed. Let me know when you have a number.

Continued blather from your end means that either you lied at #47 and it really is a difficult task or it's an easy thing to do, but you'd rather hear yourself talk than actually do the thing you think is so important.

If you actually shut up until you report back with a number of Cory's total posts, ever, compared to his total self-referencing posts, ever, then I will submit a public apology to you on this thread.

Any post by you prior to you reporting that number forfeits my offer.

I swear, some people are like slinkies. Absolutely useless. But fun to push down stairs.

#77 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Oh dear. Now I get it. Yes, this pig can whistle.

#78 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Anyone who tells someone, directly or by implication, what that person ought to be writing on their own weblog is an asshole.

#79 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Teresa and Patrick: I think you need to...

[a dreadful way to express "Please would you consider..."]

... take personal responsibility for the sense of entitlement that has readers telling blog-owners what to write about.

After all, as is well known, here readers can demand a sonnet or sestina or some-such-verse on any odd topic, and it will be obligingly written within the day.

That sort of thing raises expectations, and when other blogs can't raise their game to the same level, there's bound to be disappointment.

Now what I think you really should write, just to make up for that, are the first five chapters about an immortal from Atlantis, suitable to kick off a five-book series. Preferably something original, mind you. Not necessarily something good. Perhaps along the lines of this:

Ayup, I remember back in the days of good old Atlantis, the floating island that would lean east in the morning and lean west in the evening, floating from pole to pole over the course of six months and then back again, how I would have to trudge to school and back again every day through six feet of snow, uphill both ways....

#80 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:14 PM:

Yeago @44 -- (yes, sorry T, I know you already disemvowelled him) you write that your "polite criticism" of Cory was sadly treated with such disdain. I'm not very good at reading disemvowelled text, so I didn't get all the way through yours, but ... your entire point was that Cory promotes himself on his blog because he's not as good a writer as a bunch of other people you like better.

This you call polite?

Incidentally, I'd never read 0wnz0red before, and had thought I had. So if all this furor hadn't kicked up, I wouldn't have -- and I find I really like it. So really, Yeago, I guess I have to reluctantly thank you.

Ta!

#81 ::: ephemera ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:15 PM:

well for mine when i read the latest post by cory i thought : wow another post by cory about himself that's slightly boring - but would i climb on my high horse and attack him? nah. time is short. more interesting things to do : like write on my own blog about myself
:P

#82 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Actually, Teresa, I think it's double bingo:

CeCe at #47: Reason much? Enjoy your righteous indignation. Ta.

Yes, ladies and gents, there's the flounce. Righteous indignation indeed!

But wait, at #53, s/he's back! The re-flounce! Fine form, for a first-timer - we've obvioulsy got a potential champion in the making here!

And at #67, the re-re-flounce! Such ambition in one so young! Is it nature or nurture? Sheer talent or hard-won application?

This has been Vian, reporting on the inaugural Making Light Make a Pillock Of Yourself Competition, where we've seen the debut of a doughty young contender for the title ...

#83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:46 PM:

P J 54: Thanks, of course I did, and OK, I will.

Michael 64: Thanks. You mean the marmota monax thing, I suppose?

CeCe 67: Asking you if you're habitually rude is not an argumentum ad hominem. Answering your criticism of Cory by saying "Yeah, well you're a [religious or ethnic group], so who cares what you think" would be such an argument. You misunderstand the term if you think P J was employing one.

Lila 71: That's exactly what I said, but in academic language.

glinda 75: *fiendish chortle*

#84 ::: Charles Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:10 PM:

The censored comments may indeed have been 'extraordinarily offensive', but with the disemvowelling in place it would take a lot of effort to reconstruct them and make that judgement for myself. What is left is the impression that all comments criticising Cory were censored, and those defending him were left un-touched.

Sometimes it's as important to maintain the appearance of fairness as it is to be fair, especially when people are already looking for something to be annoyed about.

In light of Doctorow's oft-expressed belief that the answer to bad speech is not censorship but more speech, perhaps this could have been avoided by leaving both the complaint and Cory's response untouched, then refusing to approve anything further on the topic from either side.

Of course, everything looks clearer with the benefit of hindsight.

#85 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Patrick,

Thank you for writing this. I had been bothered by the fandom entitlement radiation on those posts for a while, and truly troubled by the bizarre, hostile, & self righteous attitude of some of the posters.

I haven't seen anyone mention it yet, but Eric Burns wrote an excellent (if discursive) essay a while back on Entitlement and the Modern Fandom, just substitute "Cory Doctrow" for "Brad Anderson" and "BoingBoing" for "Marmaduke" and you're all set:

Almost all fandom members feel a certain sense of entitlement. This is normal. This is healthy. This is even slightly legitimate. The overall feeling is "I have invested something of myself into Marmaduke. I evangalize Marmaduke. I spend a portion of my day on Marmadukish things. I affirm Brad Anderson. I deserve some recognition for this." And yeah, they do deserve some recognition. They certainly deserve Brad Anderson saying "guys, thank you so much for supporting Marmaduke. It means a lot to me that you like the strip."

And... well, that's about it. They're already getting Marmaduke for free (or for the cost of their newspaper). They don't get part-ownership of Marmaduke by virtue of liking to read it. And if they offer Brad Anderson sex and he takes it, that just means that Brad Anderson got some. It doesn't mean they get to dictate what Marmaduke would or wouldn't do. The majority of Fandom members get that.

There is a minority, however, that dives into Entitlement, butt naked and way over their heads.

#86 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:21 PM:

Charles@84: Sometimes it's as important to maintain the appearance of fairness

The thing is that I don't think anyone reasonable thinks anything horribly unfair took place. Some trolls jumped out from under the bridge to feed on small children, and they were cut down in their tracks.

The only ones I know of who are crying "no fair" are the trolls who were denied their supper. And a troll will never call anything fair unless it involves them eating small children.

#87 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:31 PM:

CeCe, #22, you're not actually required to read the blog, you know.

P J Evans, #54, particularly if it has bits of peppermint candy in it!

#88 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:40 PM:

Scraps #78: Would I be an asshole if I told you to write more on your blog? I don't care what about, just more.

(Somewhere in that is a "just kidding.")

#89 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Ed G. at 46: Hilarious.

I am your biggest fan . . . .

#90 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Charles @84, one of the points of disemvowelment is that anyone who so chooses can reconstruct the comment and see what was said. Deletion leaves room to wonder. If you're concerned that disemvowelment may give the appearance that comments which were merely dissenting with the opinion of the host, rather than rude, were being altered you're quite free to reconstruct the comments and see for yourself. Unless your command of the English language is limited (which is the one exception to my "anyone") laziness is the most charitable interpretation of saying "oh, that's too hard, so I'll assume the hosts were lying". You're not going to win too many converts by placing yourself in situation where being perceived as lazy is your best-case scenario.

(Or by using "censor" to refer to actions that have nothing to do with a governmental agency, but that's another issue.)

#91 ::: AFK ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:27 AM:

Thy rlly nd t hr mdrtr wth sm mtrty. f y srch hr nm, y'll fnd tht mjrty f hr psts r mr trllsh nd pnly nsltng thn nythng thy ctlly cnsr.

nd thy cnsr nythng tht dsn't gr wth thm.

#92 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:28 AM:

Criticism is good and healthy. Both for content creators and those that consume the content. But there is, or at least should be, a proper time and place ('context') in which to present the criticism. I also came in late and wasn't able to read the offending comments before they disappeared, but what I've deduced is this:

Cory: This cool thing happened with one of my stories and it proves that CC works. This kicks ass! I'm excited!
Commenter: You talk about yourself too much and that's lame.

Whoa, hold on. Wrong context, my friend.

It reminds of a thread here on ML. Patrick posted an entry about Teresa getting a job with Federated Media. Most of us responded in the most appropriate way (i.e. "Congratulations"), but after a 100 posts or so, someone posts a comment to the effect of "FM is like a pay per post scheme or something, and that's bad."

Again, not appropriate.

As has been referenced many times in this thread, people's blogs are like their homes. Nobody likes to take shit from a guest in their home. It's amazing that Cory and the Nielsen-Hayden's let some much crap go on before putting their foot down.

There are plenty of good places to express your views and opinions on anything you choose. So exercise some discretion. Find a relevant post (i.e. a post titled 'How much self pimping is too much?'), find an open thread, or, better yet, start a thread in your own blog (no, you won't have the readership BoingBoing or ML or The Whatever have. Deal with it.) Don't crap on someone's carpet, you may find that you've worn out your welcome.

This is obviously different than expressing a contrary opinion than the one expressed by the blog author.

Good form:
Host: I think the Ford Taurus is the best car ever.
Guest: The Toyota Camry is better.

Bad form:
Host: I just bought a 2007 Ford Taurus. I've been wanting one for long time.
Guest: Ford's are lame, they break down all the time and guzzle gas. Toyota Camry's are better.

Please, use some judgement when posting comments.

#93 ::: AFK ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:30 AM:

Cnsr:
"2. T kp frm bng pblshd r trnsmttd: bn, blck t, hsh (p), stfl, spprss. dms: kp/pt ld n. S shw/hd."

t's cnsrshp whthr th gvrnmnt ds t r nt.

f y'r gng t cwr bhnd dctry, t lst gt yr dfntns rght.

#94 ::: AFK ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:35 AM:

@92,
Th thr f th dltd cmmnt bnt vr bckwrds t stt hs pnn n vry plt mnnr.

t smply bls dwn t BB'rs bng cmpltly gnst ny typ f crtcsm.

Whch bgs th qstn, "Why d thy llw cmmnts t bgn wth?"

Dn't sk fr npt f y dn't wnt npt.

#95 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:44 AM:

Scraps @ 78:

"Anyone who tells someone, directly or by implication, what that person ought to be writing on their own weblog is an asshole."

Gee, Scraps, that's what I've always called "an _argumentum ad hominem_" and also "argument by assertion", so you've lost the Debate on two counts.

Of course, your statement is also Perfectly Accurate and identifies & settles the crux of the discussion. This seems now to be a Thread that can be of value only for its potential tangents & digressions.

Now I think I'll go and fix some food for the two kittens that the neighborhood semi-feral cat has left in my back yard, and maybe nibble on a bit of 78% cacao dark chocolate for my own delictation.

#96 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:47 AM:

Does AFK stand for A Fucking Kook?

#97 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:48 AM:

AFK
It's not about polite or impolite. It's about appropriate and inappropriate. And it's never appropriate for a reader to tell a content creator that he shouldn't talk about the things he feels like talking about. Or to dictate, in any manner, what sorts of content he should create. The comments are intended for discussions of the story in question, they are not intended to be a platform for criticizing the author. If you want do dis, snark, or otherwise criticize Cory Doctorow, there are many other, much more appropiate, places to do it than in his own blog on a story that he posted.

#98 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:48 AM:

Isn't quoting the dictionary one of the squares on flamer bingo?

I don't imagine misusing "to beg the question" is a square, but it sure is something.

#99 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:51 AM:

lorax @ 90: it would be easier to recreate the original text with some degree of certainty if it had been ROT13'd rather than disemvowelled.

"lrx s brd nd hck f nc gy" is terribly ambiguous: were the words "bored", "hack" or "hick", and "gay" -- or was I saying "lorax is a bard and a heck of a nice guy"?

#100 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:57 AM:

Harry Potter wankery is funny. This is just....


Well, at least no one shot President Reagan in order to impress Cory.

Yet.

#101 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:01 AM:

AFK@91: They really need to hire a moderator with some maturity.

And calling someone immature is... what, exactly?

If you search her name,

Just to clarify, what is her name?

you'll find that a majority of her posts are more trollish and openly insulting than anything they actually censor.

Did you seriously bumble your way into this blog and not even know whose house you're insulting? Seriously. Look around you. Go outside and check the name on the mailbox.

And they censor anything that doesn't agree with them.

I like you. You're silly. You make me smile.

#102 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:01 AM:

AFK, CeCe, et al.: I must confess to a certain amount of puzzlement. If you are so incensed by Teresa's style of comment moderation (which style clearly must suit the Boing Boing bloggers, since they retain her to do it on their behalf), then why on earth have you put yourselves to all the extra trouble of following TNH home to her own native weblog in order to become yet further incensed at the style of comment moderation here?

It's a big internet. Surely there are other places in it where you could choose to be.

#103 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:04 AM:

Translation of #102: Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

#104 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:04 AM:

AFK@94: Don't ask for input if you don't want input.

Just because there's a box marked "Suggestions", doesn't mean you can drop your drawers, take a dump in it, and call it "input".

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:06 AM:

The CoB (Coefficient of Bozohood) is pretty damn high in here right now.

#106 ::: Katherine ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Freedom of the press belongs to the guy who owns the press. Or, in the Internet era, pays the hosting fees.

Don't like it? Buy your own press. Be as insightful, caustic, or funny as your personal talents allow (or can hire). With any luck, you'll attract your own audience of people who will think they're entitled to tell you how to run *your* press.

#107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Amusingly enough, the top Google Ad link in the right-hand column here now reads:

Cory
Huge selection, great deals on Cory items.
shopping.yahoo.com

And that leads to a page that starts out:

# Cory at Amazon.com - Buy books at Amazon.com. Low prices and easy shopping. Search the full text of books.
Amazon.com/books

# Cory Areaguide - Your Cory Areaguide for Cory.
crossvillagemi.areaguides.net

# Find A Cory, $9.95 - Get phone number, address & more on A Cory. Instant results.
www.peoplesearch.public-records-now.com

# Cory - Over 11 million pieces of china, crystal & silver - old & new.
www.replacements.com

# Mortgage Troubles? - Mortgage Help Available in Cory. Fast & Free.

Well, I thought it was funny....

#108 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:17 AM:

Jim,

If Cory will pay my mortgage, he's welcome to come post about himself on my blog!

#109 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:19 AM:

"Your Cory Areaguide for Cory" sounds dirty.

#110 ::: AFK ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:23 AM:

cm hr bcs sh lnkd t. ddn't rlz t ws ls mdrtd by hr.

f smthng s mmtr, "mrkd by r sggstng lck f mtrty", 'm frd thr's n ncr wy t sy t.

Hwvr, ntc my cmmnt hs bn rpld t t @96 wth nm cllng, @101 wth dsngns, snrky cmmnts nd @104 wth rdcls hyprbl.

'v ntcd tht ths blg hs lt f cnvrstn, bt n dbt. Myb tht's fn fr hr bt 'd ht t s t sprd t Bng Bng, whr frdm t spk, ncldng frdm t crtcz, s lwys ndrsd by th dtrs.

r t sd t b.

#111 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:25 AM:

And once the clock hits 0200 it'll be 0100 again, and we get and extra hour of wankery. Thank you, Daylight Savings Time!

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:27 AM:

AFK 109: Feel free to go elsewhere. Really. Any time now would be OK.

#113 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:29 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 100:

Well, at least no one shot President Reagan in order to impress Cory.

Yet.
And it's a bit late now.

Unless and until another Reagan (Ron? Michael?) takes office.

#114 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:32 AM:

Umm, are people in this thread actually disemvoweling their own posts to make it appear that they're being unfairly moderated? If so, that's a bit more clever that the usual drive-by trolls ML tends to attract from time to time.

#115 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:32 AM:

#109 I've noticed that this blog has a lot of conversation, but no debate.

Lots of debate, friend, but no trolls.

Please don't miss the difference.

BTW, Teresa isn't the only moderator here. She's undoubtedly gone to sleep by now, but I haven't.

#116 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:40 AM:

AFK @109:

I came here because she linked it. I didn't realize it was also moderated by her.

It's not just moderated by Teresa; it's her personal blog. (One that she shares with others, but still.)

I've noticed that this blog has a lot of conversation, but no debate.

Are you making this call based on this thread alone?

#117 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:44 AM:

AFK #109
If you didn't notice that the BB moderator's name was Teresa Nielson Hayden and that this blog is hosted on nielsonhayden.com, I can't put much stock in whatever else you haven't noticed, i.e. conversation v. debate.

That's fine, however. Conversation is good, not everything is a debate.

I have noticed that both you and CeCe refer to the editors of BoingBoing. Just so we're on the same page, they are not editors. BoingBoing is not a newspaper or magazine. It is a blog. They are content creators/authors, even posters is a better term. Yes, they may edit their posts or the comments, but they are not editors in that editing is not their primary function.

If you want a debate, here's my argument: Content creators have the right create, post, edit, or delete anything they so choose on their blogs, including comments. If a reader disagrees or dislikes the content of the blog or how it is managed, they are welcome to say so. If the blog owner, or his agent, tolerate it, one can even post his opinion on the blog itself, otherwise, they may post elsewhere.

Rebuttal?

#118 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:52 AM:

AFK@109: I didn't realize it was also moderated by her.

And what does that say about you?

I've noticed that this blog has a lot of conversation, but no debate.

Since you just confessed this is your first time here (and your "view all by" reflects that as well), how, exactly, can you make any sweeping generalization about what goes on in this blog?

You didn't even realize who moderated this blog until we told you. So how exactly are we supposed to take your sweeping negative generalizations about this blog as being something based on your keen powers of observation when you have clearly demonstrated said powers are lacking?

And if your sweeping negative generalizations are NOT based on observation, aren't you, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from a troll?

#119 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:52 AM:

CosmicDog @ 117:

If you didn't notice that the BB moderator's name was Teresa Nielson Hayden
Mispeling is a miniscule embarasment, not wierd at all; its ocurence is so frequent that the heirarcy here has had the etiquete to acomodate the uncertain with a spelling guide above the comment entry box.

#120 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:55 AM:

AFK

By the way, in post 94 you said:
It simply boils down to BB'ers being completely against any type of criticism.

And in post 109 you said:
I'd hate to see it spread to Boing Boing, where freedom to speak, including freedom to criticize, is always endorsed by the editors.

Which is it? Or do you think that the moderators are acting outside of the authority granted to them by the content creators? Or do you mean something else entirely? I'm confused.

#121 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Pyre

Re: My mispelling Teresa's name. Oops. I should lower the resolution on my monitor if I'm going to post after 10pm. It looked like an 'o'.

This time change thing is a trip. Pyre's and Katherine's comments were inserted before other existing comments. Kinda screwed up the references to other posts. Oh well.

#122 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:12 AM:

You've arrived on a rather special night. Patrick has set out some troll bait. You're lucky, he's lucky, I'm lucky, we're all lucky!


Xopher:

It's amazing
Trolls are fleeing
Flaming takes its toll
But in the comments

Greg:

Typing them quickly

Xopher:

I've got to keep control
I remember seeing the trolls flounce
Watching the postcount mount
The nonsense would stun me

Both:

And the vowels would be falling

All:

Let's do the Troll Flounce again
Let's do the Troll Flounce again

Narrator:

It's just a snark from the left

All:

And then a wank from the right

Narrator:

Put your hands on the keys

All:

Hit the send key in time
But it's "you're so immature"
That really drives you insane
Let's do the Troll Flounce again
Let's do the Troll Flounce again

Greg:

It's so easy
Their argument's cheesy
It's going to please me
To see them fall
Getting a Bingo
We have our own lingo
Can't outlast me
Having a ball.

Xopher:

With a bit of a bird flip

Greg:

It's better than bean dip

Xopher:

And piñatas are all fair game

Greg:

We'll give trolls education

Xopher:

Like there's strong moderation

All:

Let's do the Troll Flounce again
Let's do the Troll Flounce again

Fragano:

Well I was reading a blog saying just what I think
When a first-time flamer said I needed a shrink
I wrote a triolet, wrote a sestina too,
He stared at me with his brains turned to goo
Trolls meant nothing, never would again

Narrator:

It's just a snark from the left

All:

And then a wank from the right

Narrator:

Put your hands on the keys

All:

Hit the send key in time
But it's "you're so immature"
That really drives you insane
Let's do the Troll Flounce again
Let's do the Troll Flounce again

#123 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:33 AM:

James, you have been possessed by the loa of Abi and I claim my five pounds.

#124 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:41 AM:

Re #122

Can only snork in my whole-hearted appreciation of this post. Liquid throughout my sinus cavities leaves me unable to do more.

#125 ::: Cory Doctorow ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:11 AM:

Jim, I just sang that all the way through for Alice and we both, quite literally, ROFLed. GENIUS!

#126 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:20 AM:

I dunno.

There are a LOT of posts at Boing Boing that rub me the wrong way. And judging the people by the blog, I doubt I'd really get on with any of them. And sometimes, I get a bit irritated because their blog should CLEARLY be about "x" instead of "y". And I've even been tempted to comment to that effect. But I always stop.

Why? Because what would be the point? It's *their* blog. They aren't my upsatairs neighbours being loud. They write a blog. And it is, in my view, often self-indulgent (in a bad way) or boring or pointless. So what. Their blog, not mine. I read it in Google Reader and zip through the whole thing in a couple of minutes once a day. I get the tidbits I like and ignore everything else. And nobody has to put up with MY self-indulgent twadle that criticises THEIRS. I think we can agree that less twadle is a victory for everyone.

All that said, I am still composing the ultimate Boing Boing parody post IN MY MIND where each Boinger (?) gets a Nash Metropolian and then writes about it.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:31 AM:

To think I missed this thread's fast&furious exchange because I was babysitting my 6-year-old nephew, Instead I sat thru episodes of Power Rangers. That's OK, since my nephew thinks I'm the coolest uncle. Now, what was this about Cory Everson and self-promotion?

#128 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:34 AM:

Jim @122
*snort*

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 123... The loa of Abi? Sounds like something for someone to rhyme about. Or the title of a Clark Ashton Smith story.

#130 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:00 AM:

To answer A. R. Yngve's #65: Yes, Boing Boing the blog is the descendant of Boing Boing the magazine. Both were started by Mark Frauenfelder.

#131 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Obviously, moderating blog comments is no more "censorship" than editing a newspaper letter column. The Boingers are vehemently anti-censorship; this doesn't oblige them to pay the server costs for anything you, me, or my Aunt Fanny decides ought to be on their site.

Teresa's (and my) approach to online moderation isn't remotely about being "fair to all views." Some views are wankery. Some arguments aren't so much trenchant as tiresome. The object of the game is to create a space where good conversation flourishes. If some tendentious dingbats feel they've been unfairly shut out, that's a bonus a reasonable price to pay.

(As for the charge that there's "no debate" on Making Light: snort.)

If you want a place where your every word is golden, start your own blog. And I'm pretty sure every one of the Boingers will be right in there fighting for your continued right to do so.

#132 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:20 AM:

#110: I've noticed that this blog has a lot of conversation, but no debate.

This is an interesting comment. As a reader and only very occasional commenter, I see a lot of debate on this blog.

What I don't see very often are belligerence, aggression, innuendo, narcissism, dishonesty, and general spite. Mostly because when they do turn up they're beaten back by force of reasonable argument.

I get the impression that modern culture has been trained to think of "debate" as a confrontational verbal cockfight, the point of which is to impress onlookers with your toughness and willingness to buck conventional wisdom. Contradicting everyone in the general area is proof of your brave iconoclasm and a desirable end in itself, even if you have to stake out and defend a really stupid position.

To anyone with this attitude, respectful, reasoned, genuine debate is invisible.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Wesley @ 132... Good point. This reminds me of the skit from Monty Python's Flying Circus where a man goes to a place where you pay someone to argue/debate you. He gets quite upset when all he gets from the other guy is contradictions and denials.

#135 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Jim @ 122
I love this place. (Now that I have my assorted clocks reset: thanks for reminding me to do that!)

#136 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:54 AM:

The Google Ads have gotten even more entertaining:

Christ’s end-time Word
Brings the chosen into Kingdom Age God is judging man with the word
endtimeworkofgod.org


Which brings us to ...

Typical Cases of Leaders in Catholicism and Christianity in Mainland China who Resist Almighty God Being Punished

Two hundred cases selected from among tens of thousands of cases

#137 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:59 AM:

"Typical Cases of Leaders in Catholicism and Christianity in Mainland China who Resist Almighty God Being Punished"

And they may well have a good case, depending on what He was being punished for.

#138 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:18 AM:

jdc, 126,

You know, you could just set up a paypal link - to buy them each a Nash Metropolitan. I'm sure it would be a big hit. I'd donate to that. I'd be cute!

Sadly, the two (!) boingbong parody sites I know of dissappeared. Your turn jdc.

#139 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:18 AM:

The typical cases are ... astounding. They're divided up by province. They take a typical form:

[Name of person] a member of [name of denomination] in [city] came was approached by two sisters preaching God's end-time message. [Name of person] said "Take off, lusers!" or words to that effect, and later [Name of person] had a stroke! Whaddaya think about that, eh?

The names of the various denominations are ... not what we see around here:

  • the Praise denomination
  • the Great Praise denomination
  • the Justification through Faith denomination
  • the Three-Self denomination
  • the Breaking Bread denomination
  • the Three Grades of Servants denomination
  • ...and many, many more (collect the whole set!)

And, of course, the Catholics, who for some reason aren't the same as Christians, but who seem to have strokes too after telling the sisters preaching God's end-times message, "Get a life, n00bs."

#140 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:28 AM:

"...and later [Name of person] had a stroke! Whaddaya think about that, eh?

Ah, the persuasive power of uncheckable anecdotes piled high.

But sooner or later everyone suffers some kind of misfortune, gets ill, or dies (be it at 100+ or not) -- which only proves what, exactly?

So let's get this straight: after Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door and are disinvited, they hang around to keep track of your troubles and then gloat about them to the world via the Web? Creepy. Stalkerish. Even less nice than they'd seemed. What a great impression to give on their website.

#141 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:29 AM:

I very much liked the one where the [member of denomination] dumped a basin of dirty water on the heads of the sisters preaching God's end-times message. (It wasn't very Christian of her, but boy do I understand the impulse.) It tells me that they have annoying door-to-door religious proselytizers in China, too, and that folks there enjoy seeing them come up the walk as much as we enjoy it here.

#142 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Jim Macdonald #122: Fortunately, I'd put down my mug of tea or that would have been a serious YOMANK.

#143 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Fragano @ 142: This is exactly why some places have policies forbidding beverages adjacent to critical system monitors -- to reduce the chance of accidental damage.

Why, oh why, can't everyone take that reasonable precaution?

From the self-reported cases on this blog alone, there seems to be an epidemic of liquid-spouting onto keyboards and screens.

Please, people, Just Say No! Resist the temptation to Drink-While-Blogging! Turn away from your screen, to your beverage on another table; drink; swallow; breathe; then, and only then, turn back to your monitor.

The computer you save may be your own.

#144 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:58 AM:

The your-creation-is-mine-too-and-I-get-to-have-a-say types give me the willies. The syndrome seems to march on a spectrum from "it would have been interesting if X did Y" to "Kathy Bates with an axe", with the midpoint somewhere at "you're getting too big for your britches and I'm going to take you down a peg".

It's like those people who really, really believe they know a celebrity because they watch Entertainment Tonight every day. They develop an expectation that the celebrity will respond to them like a long-lost brother if they happen to meet in the street. Then they get offended when the celebrity acts as if they are strangers, so they DEMAND an acknowledgment. And forever more they bore everyone with the story of how that celebrity is a snot who treats everyone badly.

At the wrong end of the spectrum, it makes police blotter headlines.

#145 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:59 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 136:

Two hundred cases selected from among tens of thousands of cases
So, 200 divided by at least 20,000?

That's an incidence of 1% or less. Pretty good odds for the doubters.

#146 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Jim@122, my mother always told me to wear clean underwear just in case I accidentally break out into a Rocky Horror musical. All these years, and it finally paid off!

#147 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Two hundred cases selected from among tens of thousands of cases -- and those are just the ones we hear about. Imagine how many are spirited away into government research labs, where they're trying to figure out how to harness the effect for military purposes. All evidence of their existence erased from the public record.

It's all buried in The Xi Files.

#148 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:02 PM:

@Mchl Rbrts 80 - t ws nt my crtcsm. t ws nthr prsn. 'd lv t jn ths dscssn bt, jst s t BngBng, prtcptn tks srs dv nc y'v bn cnsrd whl pltly prvdng cntr-pnt.

Wtch hw prd th ppl wh rn ths blg r f th prctc whn ths cmmnt hs ts vwls rmvd lk my cmmnt bv.

#149 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:14 PM:

I'm not objecting to what's going on in this topic in regards to moderating comments. Cory D. may as well blow his own horn, because he can't rely on others to do it, and I'm either interested, or can skip to the videos of things blowing up. But I wish the level of discussion in comments threads or fora here and elsewhere could take some dissenting opinions without hurting people's feelings, or feeling like a football pile-up.

Thinking of this summer's Harry Potter #7 thread on Making Light, where I was interested to look at the book with some people who had more experience with speculative writing than I, to read about what it did well, and what it might have done better. But someone jumped in with a negative opinion at the beginning, and the discussion came to be all about him, and whether he had the right to do it. Left the book behind.

In the lone writers' workshop I've been to, was told to stay positive in comments, and that's a good idea in the situation, because we don't want writers storming out of the room in tears, and we also don't want flame wars on line. So maybe that's a good rule to follow, plus reading the FAQs and practicing 'netiquette.'

Still, when reading message lists, especially when a celebrity author shows up and adds a comment, it has the feeling of turning into a pure admiration session, unless the majority opinion is that a thing is bad. Then, as with that plagiarism thread here a few weeks back, it feels like a middle ages mob in front of the pillory. I suppose for me, the pure number of comments becomes overwhelming.

Anyhow, my point is that it seems to me that groups don't handle minority points of view, or dissent very well. At least I often find myself either on the dissenting side, or at least saying "yes you're all right, but it's not as clear cut as that...."

I'd be happy to see some counter-examples of discussions people here have participated in. Because a spirited, well-reasoned defense, or an honest expression of how something could have been better would make for better books and stories, to my mind.

Of course this is only possible if you believe in the good faith of everyone participating in a discussion, and considering the online environment with anonymity and "drive-by posting," it's difficult.

If I have doubts about JK Rowling's books, or want to take issue with something Eddie Campbell or Neil Gaiman has to say, I suppose I can put them in my own blog, or Lifejournal.

#150 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Of course, the important thing is that everyone has to listen to each other, the dissenters as well.

#151 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:34 PM:

The "it's free so the creator owes me" meme
seems to appear in software support too. The
Evil Twin contributes to a (free) mailing list
that provides support for a (free) RDF toolkit.
Most users of the list are perfectly reasonable,
but some get uptight when their URGENT REQUESTS
are met with silence because, say, they posted
them on Saturday and it's already Sunday, or
their problem (let alone an actual solution)
can't be determined from their message.

Does it seem to you-with-some-plural-marker
that it's the same mindset or am I in the wrong
nest?

#152 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Jack@149: But someone jumped in with a negative opinion at the beginning, and the discussion came to be all about him, and whether he had the right to do it.

That was me. And none of my posts were disemvoweled or deleted.

my point is that it seems to me that groups don't handle minority points of view, or dissent very well

Sure they did. I told people what I thought. They told me what they thought.

If you disagree with someone's view, you've got to allow them to disagree with you back. Which is exactly what happened.


Alice: I love Britney Spears.
Bob: Me too.
Charlie: She's awesome.
...
Dave: Britney is a musical train wreck.
...
Alice: no, she isn't.
Bob: Britney keeps the trains running on time.
Charlie: She's the steel wheel on a smooth track.
...
Dave: You aren't allowing my dissent!

If Dave's gonna disagree with Alice, Bob, and Charlie, then Dave has to allow Alice, Bob, and Charlie to disagree with him. Otherwise, it's Dave who has a problem with people who disagree with him, not Alice, Bob, and Charlie.

Dave: Britney Spears sucks. And anyone who disagrees with me can't handle disagreement!

Er, no. that isn't how it works.

#153 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Just a random drive-by anecdote (I'm away from home and a bit too busy to read every comment in this thread) ... I've had blog posts on my own blog BoingBoinged, and I have comment threads too, and I have to say, some of the pond scum who drift in from that direction have a truly remarkable ability to cause offense with their content-free effusions.

I don't know what it is about BB, other than (possibly) its size, but it attracts nutjobs in sufficient numbers to overwhelm a normal blogger's patience and endurance. And my heart goes out to Cory for his patience in putting up with these fuckwits.

(Full disclosure: not only do I know Cory personally, but one of these days we're supposed to finish our collaborative novel. So, obviously, I'm biased.)

#154 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Cory D. may as well blow his own horn, because he can't rely on others to do it

This? This is not helpful. It distracts from what you're trying to say, and it undermines the point you're trying to make.

There are problems inherent in the weblog comment format, and the dog-pile and derailments are both problems with the form. I think they spring from more innocent sources than being unable to tolerate minority opinions. In one case, multiple people reacting in similar ways to the same post. In the other case, not being willing to let someone else have the last word ('agreeing to disagree', to so speak).

I have seen a few sites that let you know during the composing/previewing process if other people have posted on the thread. I think that's a good thing, but it's hard to completely solve social problems with a technological solution.

this is only possible if you believe in the good faith of everyone participating in a discussion

Why would anyone believe that? I think your hypothetical discussion rules need to handle the case where that's not true - and Ms. "I'll sue you for pointing out that I plagiarized" is not the best evidence for universal faith in good faith.

I notice you're vague about whether the reaction to dissenters is hurting the feeling of the dissenters or the dissentees. There's no right to read or post to the Internet without getting your feelings hurt, and that goes for all sides.

the important thing is that everyone has to listen to each other

In the land where everyone is forced to listen to everyone else, the person who Will. Not. Shut. Up. is king.

#155 ::: never-ending deletions ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Ww - th dltn prty t th bng-bng thrd s nvr-ndng. vn wht sm t b dcnt, thghtfl psts r dspprng. Fr xmpl, cmmnt frm 'Tmr R' (nt tht hv ny prf ny lngr tht t ws thghtfl, r tht th nm s crrctly rfrncd) syng th cmmnt dltns md sm f hr wn rpls lk nchrnt, nd ls ntng tht wth dltng bng th wy t sms t b, t st whch tnds t trmpt frdm, thr ws n rsn fr hr t bthr ctlly rdng t n th ftr. Sh sndd bt wstfl - s f sh ctlly thght bng-bng ws smthng thr thn bsnss pltfrm.

Prsnlly, th whl thng s strtng t tk n crtn crpy lmnt - n, csl rdr s nlkly t knw wh s dltng cmmnts - ftr ll, th c-wnr f ths st sys sh ddn't, t lst t th strt, nd t vn mks th pst whch prmptd ths cmmnt srrl - n n cn vn rd th cmmnts whch csd sch trg.

wndr f th plgy frm mdrtr bt th rgnl dltn f n pstr s stll thr - r f tht gt dltd t.

Thr s smthng fr t msng n wtchng ths sprl nt nnty. spclly t st whch ls mks hbby f pntng t hw sm Wkpd dtrs mk mckry f thmslvs thrgh dltng ny cmmnts whch pss thrgh th dtr's bs.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:58 PM:

At some blogs, the deleted posts are marked as 'deleted by moderator' or 'deleted by request' (where 'request' is probably best understood as 'I want to take back what I said but can't edit it out').

At ML, the deleted posts don't actually disappear either (except for comment spam). But for a post to be deleted seems to require a fairly high level of trollishness, more even than simple disemvowelling does.

At BB, maybe the various people with edit access are handling it in different ways, so it's a bit confused about what's going on. (I don't hang out there.)

#157 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 12:59 PM:

I don't find every post on [BoingBoing/Making Light/Instapundit/Brad Delong/...] interesting or relevant because [not everything in the universe interests me/even Jove nods/I can see a wankfest coming from a mile away/self-congratulation gets boring/catblogging bores my cats/...].

So, when I see such a post, I ignore it and/or avoid the comments.

Amazing how many people demand that every post on every blog they read be interesting to them.

I wonder how they manage to read a newspaper or a magazine without steam coming out their ears.

#158 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Greg #149: Yes, they respected you. That's also why I feel comfortable posting my opinion, though I'm not a regular member, or much of a known quantity here. My point was that the Harry discussion got derailed, and suffered. Though I guess it beats what you can read on Youtube, or "Aint it Cool News."

#159 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Here are Never-Ending Deletion's prior appearances here.

#160 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Charlie@153: I think Boing Boing suffers from the Assholes-From-The-United-States Syndrome. See, when I lived in Canada, I had to explain to my Canadian friends that, no, the United States wasn't full of assholes. But, if you granted that 1-in-10 persons from the US was a loud asshole, than you had 28 million assholes out of 280 Americans....a number which is almost as big as Canada's entire population of 30 million. (Well, the population at the time I lived in Canada.)

In other words, Cory's blog doesn't necessarily attract assholes, but the assholes percentage of its readership is still enough to overwhelm the regular readership at a smaller blog.

#161 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Hmm... Cory's 0wnz0red post struck me as nothing out of the unusual for BoingBoing. Why is it that, just now, a BoingBoinger posting about his own work has become controversial. AFAIK, they've all been doing this for as long as I've read the blog.

[Or if this is specifically Cory hate, I'm curious where it comes from. He has been remarkably consistent in what he evangelizes. What is he doing now that he hasn't been doing? Why is it just now that it has started to anger people?]

As for CeCe et al., they strike me not so much as trolls but people who felt hurt, and, inexplicably, have decided that to hurt other people was the best way to make themselves feel better, or at least to get some restitution or satisfaction. I hope they've realized now that hurting other people, in the long term, really doesn't help anyone in any way. I think the failure to recognize this is how trolls are born.

[To the people arguing against disemvowelment, it's a gentle art, purely self-defensive. The allegedly offending text is there for all to decipher, assuming a certain amount of human intellegence and context. The "why can't they just leave everything up unaltered" scenario sounds appealling in theory. In practice, that's to argue for no moderation at all. There are lots of examples, all over the web, to show that no moderation does not lead to the utopia of rational, intelligent, and honest discourse.]

#162 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:43 PM:

midori, 138:

I could do that. But I don't actually want to hear what they have to say about the Nash Metropolitan. Rather, I wish to put words in their mouths in a manner that reinforces my prejudices and is reasonably amusing. For example, Cory's would be some sort of Haunted Mansion-themed papercraft Metropolitan. Or something.

#163 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:45 PM:

From my prior post: Er. 280 million Americans. Wow, one little word missing makes a huge mathy difference.

Also, it gets posted regularly but once again, PA's law of green blackboards, just in case anyone missed it: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

#164 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Pyre @ 143, I think you have the start of a really fine James D. Macdonald parody.

#165 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Jack@158 My point was that the Harry discussion got derailed, and suffered.

That depends on how you define "derailed". The thread was still discussing Harry Potter, just that the subthread I was in was me raising issues I had with the plot and others saying why they didn't have a problem with those plot turns.

You can't say Making Light has an issue with disagreement, then point to a thread where I disagreed and was never disemvoweled or deleted and say that's proof of intolerance, and say that's an example of a minority opinion being disallowed.

#166 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:52 PM:

The thread goes ever on and on, Down from the post where it began...

*ducks*

#167 ::: Tom Womack ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Yeago: 'look what they're going to do to me' is not a particularly appealing argument to attempt to push.

I put the vowels back in and read your comment on boingboing, and I think the person you're quoting is probably right about Cory's fiction writing; a lot of it is self-indulgent, and plays to a very particular crowd who are in some sense easy fish to catch.

But pointing people uninvited at privately-published bad reviews of their work is in no sense civil, and here and boingboing are some of the few blogs whose moderation aims at civility.

If you want a vigorous but mostly civil argument in this sort of direction, wander over to Charlie Stross's blog at www.antipope.org and read "New York City Math Teacher"'s contributions to the comment thread on the most recent post.

#168 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Nomie @ 116

(AFK @109:) "I've noticed that this blog has a lot of conversation, but no debate."

"Are you making this call based on this thread alone?"

I'd make a similar call (using "little", rather than "no"), based on several years of reading ML more-or-less regularly and being acquainted with some of the participants for up to almost 50 years -- _if_ I were defining "debate" (as some people do) as a "score points & defeat your opponent" game.

Not that we don't sometimes use techniques of the Formal Debate in our conversation, but the major point here is, generally, quite different. Mostly, I think, we want to express our opinions, discover other people's opinions, and maybe learn something & modify our own attitudes. For that, I'd say, Discussion works much better than Debate. And yes, it seems to me that this is exactly what ML (ideally) accomplishes.

Everyone's mileage is likely to vary.

#169 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:55 PM:

CeCe disappears, AFK appears. AFK is fond of using mature/immature as a heavy-duty insult. So is Booch (50):

I've been a reader of BB for a few years now and the reaction by them to what I thought was an honest criticism was a bit jarring.

Yes it's their blog, but I feel people shouldn't be censored, provided the comments aren't offensive.

Also, I do find it a bit hypocritical that BB has posted several entries on censorship relating to Google or Youtube, but when Boing Boing does it, we're told that they can do whatever they wish, and chew out those with an opposing opinion for having a sense of entitlement.

I also feel that the "disemvoweling" to be somewhat immature, as I saw this blog as a collection of professionals who wouldn't waste time doing such a thing.

Let's go back to AFK, that high-frequency poster who appeared after that high-frequency poster CeCe disappeared. AFK is coming to us via the very same IP address used by Nonesuch (43), who turned up in tandem with his buddy Yeago (44).

(Note: the two main disemvowelled posts at Boing Boing were by Yeago and Nutkin, who turned up there in tandem, writing in not terribly dissimilar styles. Yeago had first appeared on BB the day before; Nutkin was posting there for the first time. By itself, this doesn't prove anything. It's just a pointer.)

Nonesuch got disemvowelled here and on the thread in question at Boing Boing. Here's a reconstruction of his comment at Boing Boing:

It's funny, really. If YouTube threatens to revoke your ability to post, BB editors post about it like it's a violation of the constitution. Yet here they are, happily screening their own content for even less reason than YouTube. At least YouTube had an excuse: they can be sued over the stuff they're revoking. What's the excuse here?
For some time now I've increasingly suspected that Nonesuch is yet another avatar of a doofus who first posted at Boing Boing as TheCynic. He's fixated on Cory, uses mature/immature as a major condemnation when he's getting upset, and is forever calling for debate to take the place of disemvowelling. This isn't going to happen, not least because genuine debate is clearly outside his capabilities.

At the point that I suspended TC for two weeks on account of some serious bad behavior, he went spla and started spawning sockpuppets, among them CantStopTheSignal, FreeTibet, Mr.Universe, and TruthFriction. (By the way: in situations where TC was uncertain of himself, the sockpuppets tended to turn up in tandem to support each other.)

Whenever I identified another one of TC's sockpuppets, I'd take down all of that identity's comments. Here's one of them reacting:

Oh say, I noticed the moderator deleted my other posts, including the ones she replied to. Why can't you have a mature discussion without silencing anyone who disagrees with you? I am flabbergasted that such draconian censorship is occurring on BoingBoing, which features "DEFEAT CENSORWARE" as a prominent link on the main page!

He has no idea how I'm able to spot him.

Even if I identify a sockpuppet long after the period during which it was posting, I'll still go back and delete its comments. This will continue until I'm certain that there's been a two-week period during which TC did no sockpuppety posting at all.

People have understandably complained that this leaves holes in the discourse, and screws up the message numbers. I keep telling them to blame TheCynic and his sockpuppets. He's known almost from the start that that's what would happen if he ignored the suspension.

If trolls weren't slow learners, and earless to boot, they wouldn't be trolls.

#170 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 01:57 PM:

I think there's an important distinction to be made here, between the right to say whatever you like, and the right to somebody else's audience. Cory is a staunch defender of the former, but he's not censoring anyone if he doesn't let every angry moron share the attention of his audience.

Yes, his audience. Cory owns his readers' attention in a way that very few people in this world own any commodity. The reason so many people read him is a direct consequence of his hard work and the high quality of his writing. He is completely entitled to use that attention to make money by putting ads on his blog, or to promote his books, or to reward commenters who have something intelligent to contribute. But why should a troll who has done nothing to earn that attention get a share of it?

#171 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:10 PM:

#154, FungifromYuggoth (hope I got that right). It was an observation, not the opening premise in a tightly-reasoned argument.

I'm not understanding your objection. If I'm reading someone's message, or visiting their blog, and they seem interesting, of course I want to find out more about them. Even buy their books, if I want to. And P.R. people, critics, and journalists can get facts wrong. So why not push one's own stuff? Too many writers are far too modest.

#172 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Hiya, TheCynic, a.k.a. "never ending deletions" (155). It's bleepin' remarkable how often someone who's never been seen before in online discourse just happens to come along in time to read a short-lived comment in Boing Boing before I make it vanish.

I don't believe in you for a second. All you've done is reduce my belief in the reality of the person who posted that comment.

#173 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Teresa @169, quoting "TheCynic":

I am flabbergasted that such draconian censorship is occurring on BoingBoing, which features "DEFEAT CENSORWARE" as a prominent link on the main page!

Wow. It's been a while since I saw somebody missing the point quite that badly.

#174 ::: neverending_deletions ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:18 PM:

ctlly, ths r nly fw f my psts hr - d y hnstly thnk pst frm sngl ddrss? (Thgh t lks lk th P trckng s prtty gd - nd ntc 50% f my psts cncrn dt rtntn nd frdm.) hv bn pstng hr fr yrs - nd y cn nly fnd 4 f thm? Mst b prt f tht wrld fms mdrtn sklls whch r s n dmnd t hgh trffc sts tht fl thy hv mjr nflnc.

spclly msng ws th rply frm Hydn (s h nts ''m nt "Mr. Hydn."') t n f my psts, syng hw shld b lk nthr pst -

'Y'r nttld t fnd th mg lss ppst thn d, nd thr's plnty f rm fr snsbl dscssn f jst hw mch lrm r trrr w shld fl s w mv nt wrld f lss nd lss prvcy. s Tssrct bsrvs n #40, sm T rgnztns r lt lss blndrng thn th Strlng qt mpls.'

hv lwys wntd t pnt t tht lttl jxtpstn, nd thnks fr th chnc. s mttr f fct, pntd t tht lttl stry n n f th frst dltn fsts t bng-bng, whn t smd s f ll cmmnts crtcl f mdrtn wr dmd t b frm n r tw srcs - whch ws wrng.

d wndr f th crrnt #29 pst t th bng-bng thrd wll b dltd - lt m chck - np, 'tmk' s stll thr - wndr hw mch lngr?

gn, thnks fr lnkng t fw f my prvs psts - spclly th 'Thr r lt f fcts whch r smply nt dscssd n pblc - lk th fct tht vry sngl -ml snd hr s mntrd.' r n ths cs, vry P ddrss. Wh knws, y mght vn nt tht fct smwhr n th st - nt tht t wld mn nythng, nywys.

n th ntrnt, t s prtty sy t fgr t wh th dgs r.

#175 ::: neverending_deletions ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Trs-
y knw, ths sn't th frst tm y hvn't blvd tht smn ctlly xsts - nt th pnt bt th stry bv, whn y wr gn crtn tht ny pnt whch ddn't ft yr frmwrk ws wrthy f dltn, nd ths y gn dsmssd my cmmnts s bng fbrctd.

ctlly, t ws vgly dsppntng, nt tht dltng psts wtht cmmnt s xctly nknwn whn pstng cntrry pnns n th rght wng wrld - s ntd bv, bng-bng cld b mprvd by t lst ntng cmmnt ws dltd - thn ppl cld s hw ftn tht hppns.

My gss, t hppns lt mr thn mst ppl knw.

Bt s wht? 'm mch mr cyncl thn y, t lst n trms f dt ntwrks - pnt prvd bv - nd hv nvr hd ny nncnt dlsns whn t cms t hw ppl wh rn thm ct.

#176 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:32 PM:

One of the wonders of the modern age is the number of people who are proud of being utter jerks.

#177 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Jack Ruttan @149 "I'd be happy to see some counter-examples of discussions people here have participated in."

I started to try to answer this with some examples, but gave up due to lack of time. However, please note that threads on this site regularly reach into several hundred posts and sometimes pass a thousand. That's unlikely to be happening so frequently if people were not having discussions about the topics in question. The threads would get boring if everyone was just agreeing with one another, and would fizzle out much faster.

Of course, the wanderings into poetry, cookery, knitting etc. help as well!

#178 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:34 PM:

JDC, #162
I wish to put words in their mouths in a manner that reinforces my prejudices and is reasonably amusing. For example, Cory's would be some sort of Haunted Mansion-themed papercraft Metropolitan. Or something.

That sounds fascinating! Good lord, get started already, I want to read it!

alternatively...

Cory, if you are still reading this, I'd love for you to get/make a Haunted Mansion-themed papercraft Metropolitan, preferably life-size, and available for reproduction under a CC-SA-BY attribution.

#179 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:38 PM:

re:that 3th post prior to mine

Ugh. How vulgar.

#180 ::: neverending? ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:49 PM:

mdr -
vry tm smn cn't rfrnc ln nmbr, t 'rdcs my blf n th rlty f th prsn wh pstd tht cmmnt.'

s fr vlgr - dltn sn't vlgr, t sms t b vr mr n fshn. spclly whn th prsn n chrg f dltn nts 'nvr bn sn bfr n nln dscrs' whl nthr n f hr c-blggrs lnks t psts hr vr cpl f mnths frm n P ddrss.

trly clssy ct, n whch my vlgrty stnds t.

#181 ::: Nikki Jewell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Surely if Teresa (or other moderators) really wanted to suppress all dissent/debate/discussion, they would have to delete all subsequent comments that mentioned a deleted post, or stop comment threads, or I'm sure many other things that really would stifle debate. I certainly haven't seen anything like that happen here.

Making multiple posts under different names doesn't strike me as showcasing one's authenticity, either.

#182 ::: neverending? ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:50 PM:

mdr -
vry tm smn cn't rfrnc ln nmbr, t 'rdcs my blf n th rlty f th prsn wh pstd tht cmmnt.'

s fr vlgr - dltn sn't vlgr, t sms t b vr mr n fshn. spclly whn th prsn n chrg f dltn nts 'nvr bn sn bfr n nln dscrs' whl nthr n f hr c-blggrs lnks t psts hr vr cpl f mnths frm n P ddrss.

trly clssy ct, n whch my vlgrty stnds t.

#183 ::: neverending? ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:51 PM:

mdr -
vry tm smn cn't rfrnc ln nmbr, t 'rdcs my blf n th rlty f th prsn wh pstd tht cmmnt.'

s fr vlgr - dltn sn't vlgr, t sms t b vr mr n fshn. spclly whn th prsn n chrg f dltn nts 'nvr bn sn bfr n nln dscrs' whl nthr n f hr c-blggrs lnks t psts hr vr cpl f mnths frm n P ddrss.

trly clssy ct, n whch my vlgrty stnds t.

#184 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:51 PM:

TomB @ #164, I misread your suggestion as "John D" MacDonald, which made me wonder what Travis McGee would have thought about torture.

#185 ::: never_ending ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Nkk-
Jst gt Mvbl Typ rrr mssg bt rbldng pg, nd whn rldng ths pg, s th sm pst pprs mltpl tms - ths wld b nrml cs f dltng nntntnlly mltpl psts.

Bt n trms f tht bng-bng thrd - n, thr r ctlly psts stll lft (lst tm chckd) tlkng bt dltd psts.

Th whl thng lks mtrsh, s cmprd t my vlgrty.

#186 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Shorter "Neverending*"

Nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah nyah!

#187 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 02:56 PM:

James 122: Brilliant! Anybody else up for performing it at Worldcon? All I need is a hump to look like Riff-Raff, though making Greg look like Magenta would definitely be a chore, and Fragano looking like Columbia...not gonna happen.

JESR 176: I share your croggle at this phenomenon. I wonder if she/he/it (say that fast) realizes that she/he/it has just announced "Hey, everyone! Not only am I a total asshole, I'm an even bigger asshole than you realize!"

#188 ::: never_ending ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:05 PM:

nd t kp th vlgrty lv -
Tmr R, th prsn wh pstd dcnt mssg whch ws thn dltd hs wrttn t ll sx dtrs f bng-bng, cncldng -
' dn't wnt t blv th dtrs spprt th dltn f ll dssnt.'

lk sch blf n hmn dcncy, n prt bcs dn't rlly shr t. (Bt thn, dn't rlly xst, ccrdng t t lst n prsn, nd f d, 'm vlgr, ccrdng t nthr.) Hr cmmnt #29 bt hw dsppntd sh ws t bng-bng's dscnnct s nlkly t b rnsttd, snc sh dsn't xst, t lst n th ys f th nly ppl wh mttr - th ns wth th dlt ky.

Stll, cmmtng hr s bttr thn brkng th lw (s sggstd by n bng-bng wnr) nd dwnldng wrtchd psd f th T Crwd - thgh th d f svt cmmnt r sms lk brllnt strcl d t ths pnt.

#189 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Why is it that never_ending is reminding this fiendish writer of mrkyrk? Is it the neediness for attention? The ability to condense jerkitude into a few phrase? All of the above?

And having given the crumb of attention, I turn back to more interesting tasks. Ta.

#190 ::: Nikki Jewell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Never-ending @ 185: I'm not sure I understand your point. Or maybe mine wasn't clear.

What I meant to say was, I've never seen Teresa (or any other moderator) try to stifle debate or dissent on Making Light, and that if she wanted to, she could. So accusing her of doing that seems to me to be plain wrong.

Also, I don't think Teresa meant to say that the person posting your comments didn't exist, only that your various online personas don't exist as real people. At least that's how I understood it.

#191 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:21 PM:

I roll to disbelieve in "neverending?". He must be a parody of himself.

#192 ::: nevermore ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:22 PM:

shld dd, t hs bn fscntng wtchng th rvrs sd f th ntrnt - th crtnty tht ppl dn't xst.

Trs s lkly t rmmbr th stry bt pstng wth tw dffrnt thrl vcs, snc wrt t ftr sh dsmssd my cmmnts s bng trckry ftr bng-bng's frst dltn fst. McDnld mrly gv m chnc t brng t p n n pn frm. Jst lk rght wng blg ws s dsgstd wth my pntng t tht Grmns n lngr blv n mss slghtr s wy t mprv th wrld, h pstd th (fk - 'm nt dmb) -ml ddrss t pnt t hw cwrdly ws, ftr th sbmssn frm sd -ml ddrsss wld nvr b pblcly shrd. (Th rght wng s rlly tchy whn y brng p xmpls f scts tht rjct mss mrdr - g fgr, t b trt.)

Thgh hv n ccss t ny lgs, 'm prtty sr ths Tmr s rl prsn, f pssbly bt nv, nlk th sphsctd dnzns f th ntrnt hr. nd f wht sh wrt s tr (mght nt b, ftr ll - 'm nt n pstn t chck ny dt), thn t lst Trs wll b n pstn t s f sh md mltpl rrrs n dsmssng ndvdls wh sh thnks dsn't xst, bcs thy dn't sm t ft nt hr wrld vw. mght b cyncl, bt tht dsn't mk m th cync.

Gd ngh fr m.

Bsds, Slcktvst s lt mr fn. f y wnt rl prsn wh s bynd blf, chck t th wrld's mst Cmpssntly Whckd t Lbrl Lbrtrn (TM). t lst t Slcktvst, w ll thnk h s rl prsn - hrd s tht mght b t mgn t tms, h hs dstnctv styl ll hs wn.

#193 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Things have taken a turn for the surreal. It's like looking under the bridge and finding, not trolls, but eight year old kids dressed up in poorly made troll costumes, carrying, not an axe or club, but a large inflatable version of same.

I guess that's what happens when you turn the lights on.

Hm. Was it worth it? Yeah, I think Jim's little musical number at 122 made it worth it.

Only thing is, with little more than rugrats with conspiracy theories for opponents it seems like shooting fish in a barrel. Fish too stupid to know they've been shot. Ah well. It was fun.

#194 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:33 PM:

neverendingdeletions @ 174:
"Actually, those are only a few of my posts here - do you honestly think I post from a single address?"

Wow.

Someone who admits he posts under multiple identities, and not only seems to see nothing wrong with it, but to feel that it's normal.

That is... disturbed.

This is one of the most "EWWWW!!!" inducing comments I've ever read.

Seriously, it made me draw back from the keyboard with a "What the fuck...?" and the hackles rising on my neck.

I'm not using "disturbed" casually here. This is genuinely sociopathic behavior.

Patrick, remember that correspondence we had about a common acquaintance who you described as "a feral nut"? I think we can add another name (and a LOT of aliases) to the list.

Teresa, I'd be very happy to see this character not just disemvoweled, but deleted and banned.

Ewww. Just... ewwwww.

#195 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:34 PM:

...this sockpuppeting idiot posts on Slacktivist? Well, that does explain a lot about the endless flamewars over there. Much as I like that blog, I'm nearly ready to give up on reading the comments because there doesn't seem to be any moderation except to remove spam and HTML errors.

I'm still not sure what s/he means to achieve by proudly declaring the Sockpuppet Nature. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just say "Please, ignore all of my posts under these names" and give a list?

#196 ::: never_say_never ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:43 PM:

rlz ths s gttng cnfsng.

Ths thrd strtd t tlkng bt 'cnsrng' (dltn s bttr - nd sr, th ppl rnnng th st cn dlt whtvr thy lk, ny tm thy lk) t bng-bng, whr n f th blggrs hr t lctrlt (yh, mkng lght ws th nfrr blg - tht s hw lng 'v bn rdng hr) sms t hv dy jb.

hv lrdy hd sm xprnc t nt bng bl t cmmnt t bng-bng, nd th rny f thrd hr dscssng dltn wtht ctlly lnkng t llw ppl t rd th 'hrrbl' psts ws t mch t pss p.

Thn whn nthr blg wnr hr pstd lnks t my prvs psts t mkng lght (sm cncrnng hw sy t s t s ntwrkd dt fr thr prpss thn rgnlly gvn), t gv m chnc t pnt t hw ws th thr f tw psts, smthng hd cmmntd pn n nvr pblshd bng-bng pst - nt xctly dmnstrtng my xstnc, bt t lst prvdng crtn bss fr Trs t qstn hr crtnty tht ppl wh dn't gr wth hr dn't ctlly xst.

Sm f s r ctlly qt dstrbd t sm f bng-bng's rcnt ctns (rsl L Gn cms t mnd), thgh why w cr s prbbly nfthmbl - ftr ll, nlk th wnrs nd mplys, w dn't hv ny fnncl ntrsts.

Ths sms ncmprhnsbl t ths wh gt pd t b nvlvd, bt sm f s blv(d) n wht bng-bng smd t b spsng. Bt whch n prctc sms t hppn vr mr rrly. Lk t rl blg - ncldng ths n - hndrds f psts. Lk t bng-bng - Th Rgstr ds bttr, nd t lst n thr thr mcks mch f Cry's cncrns - nd th fct tht rlwsk dsn't llw cmmnts sn't dstrbng, s h sn't th n strdntly prclmng frdm s gd n nd f tslf.

Sdly, t sms s f bng-bng s slwly strtng t rprsnt wht s wrng wth th ntrnt, nd nt wht s rght wth t. nd d ntc tht th mst srs pstr, Pscvtz, hs prtty mch drppd ff - bng-bng sn't rlly plc t fnd mch n th wy f hrd scnc nymr, s t?

#197 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:48 PM:

#177 Dcb: "I started to try to answer this with some examples, but gave up due to lack of time."

That's okay. Silly request. I hang around here a bit, and there is interesting stuff. Sometimes, however, it gets a little like the bar in "Star Wars." Esp. when commenters do verse, or casually slip into ROT13.

I'm very sensitive, and the political topics can be dismaying, not to mention all the writing scam and bad "agent" stories. It's addicting, though, as you probably know! And the response time and rate is pretty phenomenal.

Still, I get too verbose in comments. Should save it for my own blog (or better yet, my 'real' writing), to avoid littering the internet with words I might not want to have hang around. Not that any of it's easy to control, but I haven't dropped too big a brick yet, that I'm aware of.

#198 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Ack. Totally blew the web address thing. I want to blow my own horn, or at least let people see a little of what I'm about, so am correcting it here.

#199 ::: never ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:01 PM:

'Smn wh dmts h psts ndr mltpl dntts, nd nt nly sms t s nthng wrng wth t, bt t fl tht t's nrml.

Tht s... dstrbd.'

Jst bt my bd tm, bt y knw, wht dstrbs m s smn wh thnks tht thy shld nt kp thmslvs prvt n th Nt, t th xtnt cslly pssbl. spclly s th thrw wy sr nms r mnt t b t lst ptntlly n xtr lvl f txtl cntxt.

My chldrn hv fr ntrnt ccss - n fltrs ('m lkly rlly bd prnt n yr ys t) - bt thy hv t drlld nt thm t nvr s thr wn nm, -ml tc. spclly t ny st tht ggrgts dt - s hs bn prvn tht ths st ds. nd thy shld nvr hv th sm 'dntty' - f nly t stp th mrktrs frm sly cllctng dt.

Smtms, t s dprssng t s hw mny ppl sm nwr f wht vst cmptr ntwrk/dtbs mns. Prsnlly, nvr s cks, mgs, Jvscrpt, r ny Mcrsft prdcts. vn mr dprssng s hw ld ths mks m fl. Ds cln nstll frm stndln systm n rglr bss mn nythng t y?

Lk t th lnkng f my P ddrss, s cslly md - nd thn lk t th rctn. pst frm hm, nd frm fw cmptrs t wrk - lk mst ppl, hv mr thn n P ddrss.

s fr dntts - hp my txts r wrth rdng by thmslvs, nt sm md p prsn. Why wld y pssbly ssm tht nythng prt frm th wrttn wrds n th scrn s 'rl?'

W wll vd th phlsphy, bt th d tht mst ppl wh sm t b mrcn hv n cncpt f th mprtnc f prvcy s trblng. t s smthng tht rpns dn't nd ny lssns n.

#200 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Just a couple of factual points which might be left dangling without referents:

1. Jon Pescovitz's most recent BoingBoing post was made just a little while before a comment here mentioning that Pescovitz had mostly stopped posting.

2. Ursula K. LeGuin's unhappiness seems to have been directed toward Cory Doctorow in particular, not BoingBoing in particular. The paragraph which refers to this unhappiness conflates it with the unhappiness of various persons whose reasons, such as they are, appear to have nothing to do with LeGuin's personal and legitimate response to the unrequested and unauthorized republication of her writing on BoingBoing.

People are certainly entitled to be disappointed when their hopes for (say) the way BoingBoing will operate are not fulfilled. This is not the same as an entitlement to have the angry, insulting, and moronic comments with which they respond to having their unjustified expectations not met preserved intact and presented as part of BoingBoing's content.

#201 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Bruce @ 194 I'm not using "disturbed" casually here. This is genuinely sociopathic behavior.

Speaking of sociopathic behavior... I have Google locked and loaded.

Who wants it?

never @ 196 Sadly, it seems as if boing-boing is slowly starting to represent what is wrong with the Internet, and not what is right with it.

Right, which goes back to what a very earlier commenter had to say: Start your own blog. You don't like boing-boing, that's fin --- move on. Boing-boing doesn't belong to you. It isn't a public free-for-all. Register your own domain and have a hay day. Just stand-by for the same dose of criticism you're happy to dish out.
Lastly, quit trolling about the internet for attention. Conduct unbecoming -10pts.

#202 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Guys,

I'm sure Teresa doesn't mind you having fun, but do remember to put the bat & blidfold away and tidy up afterward. Last time we had papier maché, little strips of tissue paper and candy wrappers all over the floor.

#203 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:24 PM:

My father used to say 'Yu put a fool in a mortar an' poun' him, him wi' come out di same fool'.

'Never....' is one more instance proving my father was a man of great wisdom.

#204 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:26 PM:

To tell the truth, abi, this pile of mouldy socks doesn't make a very good piñata. Not hard enough to make a satisfying sound when you hit it, no candy inside. They're just kind of vaguely obnoxious in a less than coherent way.

#205 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Trollolets:

I'm disemvoweled rather frequently,
but that's the lot of the iconoclast.
(My several dozen sockpuppets agree.)
I'm disemvoweled rather frequently
because I dare to say that none are free
when trolls like me are scorned, mocked, and outcast.
I'm disemvoweled rather frequently.
but that's the lot of the iconoclast.

I'm killfiled by everyone I meet
Which only serves to illustrate my point,
Since I'm so wise and handsome and discreet!
I'm killfiled by everyone I meet---
They're clearly nazi censors, who compete
to squash my eruditic embonpoint!
I'm killfiled by everyone I meet
Which only serves to illustrate my point.

I get banned from a blog or two a day.
It must be since I'm so mature and smart,
with grace and rhetoric both in my sway.
I get banned from a blog or two a day,
by jealous thugs who can't stand repartee,
or anybody who won't take their part!
I get banned from a blog or two a day:
It must be since I'm so mature and smart.

(Line 6 of stanza 2 is sic.)

#206 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:34 PM:

I find perspectives interesting. Me, Never-guy, I /don't/ use my (full) real name on the 'net. But on the other hand, having a, for lack of a better word, persona which I can hang my hat on, a presence in a community, seems reasonable to me.

So yeah, I don't hand out my full real name, or my main email address... But I do have a consistent personality and (when I choose to be part of a particular community) a consistent experience in that community.

You seem to have a stake in not fully participating in online communities. Is this accurate?

#207 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:37 PM:

never(whoever)@199
As for identities - I hope my texts are worth reading by themselves, not some made up persona.

I wouldn't be too hasty to make that assumption, if I were you.

Whoever you are.

This is the internet; you can call yourself anything you want. But if you're going to call yourself Little Bo-Peep one day, and SheepGirl the next, and Ms. Peep on the third, you can't expect readers to give your assortment of shifting identities the same good faith and credit that they would have done if you'd picked one name and stuck to it.

Well, actually, you could expect it all you wanted (and based on your past performance here, you probably would.)

Actually getting it, though . . . not so much.

#208 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:39 PM:

The neverending trollery....

The only voice worth hearing now is mine,
you have not said one thing to make me think
that in my argument there is a chink
since all you do is complain that I whine.
Of course, I could my words and sense refine
and take a pause to wash and eat and drink,
but then I might miss knowing nod or wink
and that would not be in any form fine.
I've got to force you all to suit my whim,
compel your awe, and see you all bow down
although i've never been an honest guest.
I'll shout and slobber in pretence of vim
disguise the fact that I'm another clown,
and not think for one second I'm a pest.

#209 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Jim @ 139
"[Name of person] a member of [name of denomination] in [city] came was approached by two sisters preaching God's end-time message. [Name of person] said "Take off, lusers!" or words to that effect, and later [Name of person] had a stroke! Whaddaya think about that, eh?"

And even later, [name of person who had a stroke] plagiarized David Gemmel and then was attacked in a Making Light thread!

Jack Ruttan @ 149:
"In the lone writers' workshop I've been to, I was told to stay positive in comments, and that's a good idea in the situation, because we don't want writers storming out of the room in tears."

Heh. I'm in a gradute writing program. The semester I started, I took a course called "Writing for Film" with Irvin Kerschner, and he made not one, not two, but three students cry. None of whom stormed out.

Now, whether or not that's good or bad . . . I've been on the receiving end of criticism. Kersch called one of my scenes "Nothing but 'As you know Bob' expository scientific gobbledygook," which I found amusing, coming as it did from the director of The Empire Strikes Back. In another class, Syd Field basically criticized ten pages of my screenplay for more than an hour, the moneyquote of which was "With all due respect, it's just bullshit," after which he continued to delineate all the ways it was, in point of fact, bullshit.

Wasn't fun, exactly, but I learned way more from those moments than I did when I got feedback like: "These were great pages. Keep writing. But add more subtext."

(my reaction to that is: "WTF is subtext, and can I blow it up?")

Positive comments can be encouraging, but you don't really learn much from "that was awesome." You can learn a bit more from "x worked, and y worked, and I think you should continue in that vein," but I think one learns most from "well, this worked and this worked, but this didn't work, and here's why." Or, anyway, I always have (and yes, of course I know different people learn different ways).

Waayupthread, Ian @ 18 said "that the referenced thread ... started out "My Nebula-award-nominated story...". That sounds self-congratulatory and is likely to attract adverse comment."

Which struck me as odd. "0wnz0red" was nominated for a Nebula (in 2003, for best novelette). Cory, more than congratulating himself, was really just stating a fact.

#210 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Fragano @203:
I was thinking more about the two reasons you don't mud-wrestle a pig. One, you just get muddy, and two, the pig enjoys it.

There is an interesting discussion to be had about moderation at the beginning of the life of a community, when one must be looking to both the short term (content of the thread) and the long term (tone of the community). Should one take a slightly lax tone to encourage more people to come in? Or a more stern tone, to weed the trolls out until the community can help police itself?

Unfortunately, we're not having that discussion, because we're indulging Quoth the Raven's self-absorption. Waste of bandwidth, IMHO, but I'm enjoying the poetry.

#211 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Jim:

Let's do the time warp again. What's your preference, Kingdom Hearts, or with ninjas?*

Note: see also Alice in Wonderland, Tiny Toons, chipmunk speed, Fullmetal Alchemist, Slayers, Sailor Moon (cosplay) Star Trek (classic & Voyager), and of course, The Doctor

Also, disturbed to find the number of music videos synched to "Fergalicious" - using Disney characters.

*honorable mention.

#212 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:50 PM:

abi #210: What amazes me is the degree of self-absorption some people seem to have. They constantly search the intertubes for references to themselves, since they can only be validated in their own minds if the World Wide Web knows that they can break wind on a variety of subjects.

The poetry is, I think, generally the best part of such discussions.

#213 ::: Gabriele Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 04:53 PM:

You should stop posting such interesting stuff, and people here should stop writing comments that make me laugh; it distracts me from my writing. I'm already behind on Nano.

:)

#214 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:06 PM:

#209 Will Entrekin: Come to think of it, the 'positive comment only' policy had us reading volumes into what was said, and we could still be as crazy as we would have been, if ripped into non-passive-aggressively.

I had a producer who would read and say to you "it's goo-od" but you had to watch out for the drawn-out dropping and rising tone, which meant there was a lot of work ahead.

#215 ::: Shannon ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:06 PM:

If you want a real person who is beyond belief, check out the world's most Compassionately Whacked Out Liberal Libertarian (TM). At least at Slacktivist, we all think he is a real person - hard as that might be to imagine at times, he has a distinctive style all his own.

Wait a minute! "Never," are you "Scott" on Slackivist? Because that explains a lot in terms of tone and attitude. And honestly, I can only imagine Scott calling Fred (Slackivist) by that sort of ridiculous title. (For those who don't read Slackivist, Scott is a mega-libertarian who brings up points completely irrelevant to the thread with a similar snide attitude.) Of course, Scott only seems to use one name, so perhaps not. But please don't pollute Making Light with your rudeness either way. Even if your points are valid, your attitude in making them is quite condescending, even to people outside of this thread. There was no reason to bring Fred into this.

#216 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:16 PM:

oooooooohhh....
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
But you can be happy if you've a mind to.

This, this, thing that is clogging up the thread with pointless blather is choosing to be miserable. I say give it the freedom to be miserable.

#217 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Jim @ 139 -

[Name of person] a member of [name of denomination] in [city] came was approached by two sisters preaching God's end-time message. [Name of person] said "Take off, lusers!" or words to that effect, and later [Name of person] had a stroke! Whaddaya think about that, eh?

Fred* wrote about that story in his Left Behind series a few weeks ago. Apparently it's one of the prime end-time signals for the dominionists.

*the, um, world's most Compassionately Whacked Out Liberal Libertarian (TM) - nevermore @ 192, announcing that you've managed to pick a fight at Fred's place is not really a great way to make the case that you're wandering around the internet with a lantern looking for reasoned debate.

#218 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Person cycling through handles: Blogspot and LiveJournal are still free. If you think there's an audience for what you want to write, go for it! People start up new blogs every single day.

It's just that you're not entitled to Cory's audience, or to Teresa and Patrick's, just because they're in some sense handy.

The rest is just self-justification for stupid bad behavior.

#219 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:28 PM:

two-hundred posts on this thread, half of which are from one or two people, and their sock puppets, whining endlessly about how they're being censored because their posts are being deleted.

That makes a good 50 or more posts in this thread that all are diligently fighting "the man" and shouting from the rooftops that their posts are being unfairly deleted, that they are suffering the slings and arrows of censorship because their posts are all being deleted for disagreeing.

At what point does irony set in?

I'm just asking, is all.

I mean, does it take a hundred posts that don't get deleted before these yayhoos figure out that they're not getting deleted?

Maybe when CeCe comes back, I'll ask what the ratio for this thread is of posts by people complaining that they're being censored versus total posts in the thread.

I mean seriously, you get some yayhoos who think that CNN suppresses criticism, so they get together and make a commercial that says CNN won't show criticism, then they get that ad played on CNN, and then don't get the irony that they just got criticism aired on CNN?

(at which point, all the trolls are covering their ears going "blah, blah, blah, you keep talking, but I'm not listening, blah, blah, blah")

I almost feel sad for the little creeps.

Almost.

#220 ::: Mary Lou Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:39 PM:

Never-whoever's comment @199 is sort of sociologically fascinating* (while also creepifying) as a glimpse at someone who sees the internet as a pool of potential enemies and predators to be thwarted rather than a community to join in. Forgive the hyperbole, but I wonder if such a diametric opposition of assumptions about the virtual space we inhabit renders Never-whoever and people like him conversationally varelse - no real communication possible.

*More fascinating than the review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret that I'm supposed to be writing for class tomorrow, anyway.

#221 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Rdng Dctrw's lng-wndd "nln cnrshp hrts s ll" ftr ths mshp s rlly n rny mst cn njy.

'm hnstly nt gng t b bl t hv lng cnvrstn wth th ppl t thr wh smhw dn't qt rmvng ll vwls wth cnsrshp. W dsgr t t fndmntl lvl.

T ths wh g n frthr nd cndmn cnsrshp xcpt whn ts ppld t "Scrd", "flms" r "bs", wll, f th cmmnts wr lft ntct rlly dbt y'd b bl t ssgn ny f ths dscrptns t thr tn. Thy wr vry rspctfl, blncd, nd wll-thght t. Vry dsppntng t b blwn t f th cnvrstn wth frhs. Sdly, s tht whn th srcs r fdgd, llgtns g lng wy.

Bt whn tblt th rspnss, vryn nvlvd wth BB r Cry ll sm t ln-p n dfns f t (wht r th dds...). ht t nvk Rmsfld bt t s jst ths srt f clbbshnss mxd wth ntlrnc f cntr-pnts tht mks ths whl ss s plrzng nd dststfl.

Typng knwng tht thr s gd chnc th thghts cmng frm yr hd--whch y fl r gnn, msrd, nd nt htfl--r gng t b dsmssd trght nd cnsrd / rndrd nr-nrdbl s nt nly dshrtnng bt vry txc t th bsc d f cllbrtv, pn, dmcrtc ntrnt, whch s strngly th sbjct f s mch dtrl n ths prts f t.

Sm f y tk strngly Cthlc stnc f "w cmmnt t th bhst f th ns mst hgh, nd w r ndsrvng". Tr ngh, sm blgs dn't ccpt cmmnts. T ths sy chs n, nd f smthng rlly vltl cms lng, by ll mns dlt t. Bt whn yr wn cmmnty gvs y lt f blwbck vr t, hv th dcncy t ntrtn thr cmplnts.

#222 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Mary Lou Klecha, 220,

I had never heard of The Invention of Hugo Cabret before. Thank you for bubbling something interesting to the surface. (Pity the official site is Flash encrusted.)

#223 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Yeago, you demonstrate a common fallacy well with "But when your own community gives you a lot of blowback over it, have the decency to entertain their complaints." There is a tremendous difference between one person saying something a hundred times and a hundred people each saying something similar once. Once the reasons, actually, for stable handles and against sock puppets is that the latter undermine the ability of bystanders to trust what they see. It's a form of ballot box stuffing, basically, from people unwilling to deal with being in the minority on a particular topic or exchange, and preferring the illusion of popularity to accepting reality.

Likewise, the ability to post again and again and again about a subject doesn't tell us what most people think, only that someone posted a lot.

#224 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Yeago, 221,
The U.S. Zipcode Database you have in your blog looks pretty interesting. Where did you find it, and what uses are you putting it to? (Seriously, this is a pretty neat bit of datapr0n.)

#225 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Once again, trollishness is made to serve a higher purpose as inspiration for poetry and satire. Thanks to all poets here, especially Fragano and Lighthill, and thanks for keyboard liquid-proofness testing to Jim Macdonald* and to Xopher for the rodents. I can't think of a better use for trolls, unless maybe it's to cut them up and make crazy quilts out of them.


* and for a new slant on my very favorite music video.

#226 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:01 PM:

#194 ::: Bruce Arthurs winced:
Someone who admits he posts under multiple identities, and not only seems to see nothing wrong with it, but to feel that it's normal.

Hm. I can't say that there's anything wrong with posting under multiple identities in different fora, -in general-. Posting under multiple identities to the same blog and thread, OTOH... that's well into WTF territory.

#227 ::: Mary Lou Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Midori @222,

Glad to be of help, or at least of interest! Hugo Cabret is the first book in a long time that I've randomly picked up at a bookstore, flipped through, and then been absolutely unable to walk away from - it's a pretty attractive piece of bookmaking, aside from the actual story. It honestly never occurred to me to look for an official website, though; I've just been looking at reviews on Amazon (sadly, it doesn't currently have a Search Inside option, which might give a better impression of what's so cool about this book).

#228 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:12 PM:

I was going to post this around the time of comment #157, but our (shared) server was having hiccups, and then I had to run off and attend the World Fantasy Awards banquet here in lovely Saratoga Springs.

There's been a certain amount of confusion inside Boing Boing over implementation details, resulting in cockups like the deletion of the first post in the thread about Cory's Swedish translation. This is inevitable when multiple people are using newly hand-rolled software. Also inevitable: people who think every stumble is an example of the violence inherent in the system, help help I'm being repressed. Anyone for whom an argument in a blog comment thread "feels like a middle ages mob in front of the pillory" has left reasonable perspective about six interstate exits behind.

#229 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:16 PM:

As for the rest of it, neverending and his or her many sockpuppet friends: oy gevalt. This is mental illness, and one thing I've learned in my long life is that mental illness is catching. You engage too much with crazy people, and the crazy rubs off. Bruce Arthurs and I have had many occasions to disagree over the years, but he's spot on as far as this particular kook-a-palooza is concerned.

#230 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Mary Lou Klecha, 227,

Well the description of the plot plus the length + lots of interior illustrations fills me with hope.* I'm a sucker for illustrated stories, which has led me to read almost exclusively manga (like Fullmetal Alchemist) or webcomics (like Girl Genius). I remember well my disappointment as a child that the older I got, the fewer (and often, worse) the pictures were in the books I read. I have a hunch that I wouldn't have read nearly so much SF in my youth if it hadn't been for the inevitable map a the front of each book.**

Now that I think about it, my delayed entry into hard SF probably had a lot to do with dull, uninformative illustrations. Have I mentioned, that as a reader, I despise inaccurate cover art? Sorry. Rant over.

*last February ‡, there was a rumor Sorsese was going to direct an adaptation(!)
**the imagination needs some seed to grow upon, aside from the text.
‡ I wonder why I don't pronounce the R in that month?

#231 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:25 PM:

Yeago@221: it is just this sort of clubbishness mixed with intolerance of counter-points that makes this whole issue so polarizing and distasteful.

Yes, we understand, you find us clubbish, intolerant, polarizing, and distasteful. Message received. The thread is full of posts by you saying how Making Light doesn't allow criticism, the irony of which still escapes you.

Anything else?

Unless you want us to throw ourselves on our swords or something, I think you've pretty much covered everything.

Must we confess to your accusations before you'll leave? Or can you tolerate dissent and allow us to disagree with your opinion of us?

#232 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:32 PM:

#209 (my reaction to that is: "WTF is subtext, and can I blow it up?")

Subtext is a vulgar heresy. The belief in the real existence of subtext is a sign of insanity.

Thus, no, you cannot blow it up. Only real things can be exploded.

Myths can be exploded. Therefore myths are real.

Subtext does not rise to the level of "myth."

#233 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:34 PM:

never-thing 199: My children have free Internet access - no filters (I'm likely a really bad parent in your eyes too) - but they have it drilled into them to never use their own name, e-mail etc. Especially at any site that aggregates data - as has been proven that this site does. And they should never have the same 'identity' - if only to stop the marketers from easily collecting data.

O my gods.

Yeah, you're a bad parent in my eyes, but not because you don't filter the internet from your kids. I think you're a bad parent because you're teaching your kids to be paranoid nutbars like you.

But then, I guess it would be pretty unusual for an abusive, obnoxious, troublemaking, rude fugghead troll like you to be a good parent, so I'm not surprised.

But seriously...you're in tinfoil-hat land. I hope your kids eventually recover from the damage you're doing them every day.

#234 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Sockpuppets are a foe the like which Hercules would know;
a Hydra-headed monster looking for a place to crow.
What nonsense comes from many mouths they hold to be a truth.
But those who have to listen just feel that it's uncouth.

"Stay thy sword!" the heads all shout, "do not my posts delete!"
"You must allow the multitude to hear my grand conceit!"
"Removing all the vowels as well would be just immature."
"Besides," they say, "without them, I'll lose my bingo score."

The Moderator takes no note, she's heard it in the past.
It all comes down to trollishness, impoliteness unsurpassed.
So many heads have reared up now the point is hard to see.
She'll cut off one or two of them to be replaced by three.

Eventually the socks run out or get lost in the wash;
'Cause no one's even listening to all the puppet tosh.
The threads have turned the trollery to poems and to song,
The monsters all have gone away, their act has got the gong.

#235 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Never-whatever,

Let me help you out for a second. Every webpage, blog, forum, etc. you visit has the potential to collect and aggregate data regarding the visitors and commentors to the site. Every server has access logs, which collect the IP addresses of everyone who has visited the website. You see, the site must have your IP address in order to push out content to you. Most of the blog and forum software I've dealt with records the IP address of each poster, specifically for moderation and preventing abuse.

So I don't really see your point about using multiple identities. How does this help? 'They' are still going to know who you are and what you said. You cannot hide from 'Them'.

If you are really worried about blog owners collecting data about you and selling it to marketers or the government or whoever, the only 100% effective method is to STFU. Otherwise, you may as well give them your name and address, because they can get that info without your consent, anyway.

What you said smells like a steaming pile of crap anyway, but I figured I'd help out, just in case online security is an actual concern of yours.

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Shorter CosmicDog: "Never-whatever...STFU...you steaming pile of crap."

#237 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Oops. Should be an ellipsis between 'you' and 'steaming'. Xopher regrets the error.

#238 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Hey, by the way, the disemvowelled post, the one that started it all from Flying Squid, is back up on BB.

BngBng sms t hv bcm fr y mstly PR vhcl fr yr strs. 'm sr y r bsltly thrlld vry tm n f yr strs gts trnsltd nt nthr lngg, bt t m, t jst sms lk ndlss slf-ggrndzng.

"...but to me, it seems like endless self-aggrandizing."

Calling someone self-aggrandizing in his own blog is not polite, calm, reasonable, or any other of the words used to defend the comment and fight against censorship. It's not criticism, either. It's just a rude comment. The fact that the commentor calls it 'honest criticism' does not make it so.

Why not just send Cory an e-mail, instead of posting it for everyone to read, if not to build support for your perspective and/or start some shit. Neither of which falls under the umbrella of 'criticism'.

#239 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:26 PM:

There once was a troll from Nantucket,
whose posts were as vile as a muck bucket.
He posted far and wide.
The moderators he would deride:
Don't censor my sock puppets!

#240 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:27 PM:

There once was a troll from Nantucket,
whose posts were as vile as a muck bucket.
He posted far and wide.
The moderators he would deride:
Don't censor my sock puppets!

#241 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Greg #165: You can't say Making Light has an issue with disagreement, then point to a thread where I disagreed and was never disemvoweled or deleted and say that's proof of intolerance, and say that's an example of a minority opinion being disallowed.

That's not what I meant to say. I meant that the disagreement seemed to dominate the thread in that one case. People were trying to get back on track, but it certainly killed my enjoyment, at least.

And seeing this going on, one is a little less eager to venture into the conversation, for fear of getting singled out, too.

#242 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 07:38 PM:

There once was a troll from Nantucket,
whose posts were as vile as a muck bucket.
He posted far and wide.
The moderators he would deride:
Don't censor my sock puppets!

#243 ::: Lisa Spadafora ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Terribly off-topic for Mary Lou and Midori:

Hugo Cabret looks wonderful-- I recently had that same experience Mary Lou described with The City of Dreaming Books . It's whimsical and gruesome and all about loving books and words and reading. It also has many fabulous illustrations, so I thought I should share, just in case you haven't encountered it yet!

#244 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:20 PM:

#170 (Individ-ewe-al) and some following point out a contradiction that had been bothering me; the analogy between visiting/speaking at a blog, and at a home, breaks down when the blog is selling advertising, which gains an iota of its worth from my presence.

(At least, I have never considered invitations to be sold plasticware/timeshares/Landmark anything but shaky imitations of social life. Of course it's natural to have one's professional and personal lives intersect, but it's also naturally fraught and vexed.)

So semi-professional blogs are veering, more or less weakly depending on their success, into a different patch of the "Voice, choice, or exit" continuum. No party involved should be allowed to hop between definitions to gain advantage; most humans will try to instinctively; and we'll usually disagree about where on the continuum a blog is, let alone what OK behavior is.

#245 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:21 PM:

'endless' could also be 'needless'.

It doesn't really change the tone of the comment or my point, but I just noticed that and figured I'd call myself on it before someone else did.

#246 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:35 PM:

221: to take that article on online censorship as an 'irony' when viewed in the light of this thread is a bit absurd, I think. That article referred to artists and their work, which is quite pointedly not what is occurring here (although never-whatever's sock-puppetry and most of the posts in this thread do seem to nearly elevate trolling to an art [for varying defintions of 'art'. Seems it's really like that Virgin Mary painted with dung fiasco a few years back; you can call it art if you like, but it still doesn't make it any good]).

I've reread the BoingBoing post several times, and I can't for the life of me think of it as self-congratulatory nor self-aggrandizing. I'm not familiar with Cory's work save Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, but characterizing him as an 'enthusiast' seems terrifically appropriate. The tone I got from the post was nothing so much as "Hey, this neat-o story I wrote just got translated! How rad is that?"

To which I say: rock on. Rock on indeed.

But there's something else: given the sock-puppetry, I wonder if this is all the work of one troll named Scott who posted first as "FlyingSquid" and who also frequents the Slacktivist. It seems that much of the argument in the comments section of the original BoingBoing post cites "honest" or "balanced" criticism, as if calling someone "self-aggrandizing" is actually either. I know the IP addresses mightn't match, but given the comments made here by never-whoever, I'm not sure it matters.

Jim @ 232:

Posts like that are precisely the reason I've convinced at least half of the USC writing program to read Making Light. The other half; well, I think our program is unique in that the work is so divided and just about anyone can find a home. Sure, there are the smaller, more "literary" stories one might find in MFA programs, but me, I've been writing about time machines and vampires and things that go boom in the night as long as I've been there.

Jack @ 241:

I understand the sentiment, but one guest to another, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm often intimidated by the sheer number of distinctly intelligent people who frequent this site (to be honest, I sometimes feel like the kid who scored a place at the adult table), but rarely do I feel unwelcome to contribute (and heck, even the moments I lodge my foot in my mouth [which doesn't happen often only because I don't post often], people are generally pretty understanding). I think it's at least partially because the one thing that gets singled out is not ignorance but rather rudeness. Everyone's ignorant about something, but not everybody feels the need to be an asshole about it.

#247 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:42 PM:

CosmicDog 238: I agree with your analysis, but I doubt the steaming piles of crap will.

#248 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 08:56 PM:

"neverending_deletions" (174):

Actually, those are only a few of my posts here - do you honestly think I post from a single address? (Though it looks like the IP tracking is pretty good - and notice 50% of my posts concern data retention and freedom.) I have been posting here for years - and you can only find 4 of them?
Given who you are, and what I already know about your general ineptitude with anonymity, if you don't stop patting yourself on the back I'm going to die of a fit of the giggles. What you saw there was about ninety seconds of Yog's time.

I have to leave right now. Yog, Avram -- if either of you feel like disemvowelling yon self-confessed liar, do please.

#249 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:12 PM:

Yee gawds. Sorry about the triplicate post! It was maybe funny enough for half a posting. No where near as good as the Time Warp revamp.

My internet exhaust port seems to be packed with lint and I haven't cleaned the trap lately.

#250 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Greg 249:


(Christopher, remembering that Greg is straight, thinks better of making "tailpipe" jokes.)

#252 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Will @ #246

I wrote that, decided not to post it, then pushed the wrong button after previewing because something was neglected on the stove. Oh, well.

Something I shouldn't do, which I did on the old usenet "writing" group was to write in and complain the discussion wasn't to my liking.

Well, back to poetry, cats, and knitting for me (at least the first two).

#253 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:39 PM:

Nevereverwhatever @ 199: My children have free Internet access - no filters (I'm likely a really bad parent in your eyes too) - but they have it drilled into them to never use their own name, e-mail etc. Especially at any site that aggregates data - as has been proven that this site does. And they should never have the same 'identity' - if only to stop the marketers from easily collecting data.

Try this instead; it's quicker:

Ingredients

2 cups packed brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
4 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups dried mixed fruit
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 3/4 cups brandy

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Grease and flour a tube pan.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, soda, spices, eggs, lemon rind, vanilla, 1/2 cup brandy, fruit, nuts, and melted butter or margarine. Mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Wrap cooled cake in foil. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons brandy over the cake everyday for 2 weeks.

#254 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Paul 253: Elegant.

#255 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Lisa Spadafora, 243
Terribly off-topic for Mary Lou and Midori:
Off topic? This is Sparrrtaaaaa!, er, Making Light. Nothing's off topic, it is merely exposition!

I recently had that same experience Mary Lou described with The City of Dreaming Books . It's whimsical and gruesome and all about loving books and words and reading. It also has many fabulous illustrations, so I thought I should share, just in case you haven't encountered it yet!
I had not yet. Now it is on my Amazon wishlist, as a reminder to find it. (Hmm. I wonder if my new library has a wishlist function. That would be a useful bit of Web 2.0)*


*Question for copy editors: I think the construction "Web 2.0." with the period arriving after the 0 due to the end of the sentence looks awkward. Is there a preferred usage other than rewriting?

#256 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Midori: nothing helps but rewriting.

#257 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:15 PM:

midori (#255): Since in my opinion "Web 2.0" should always have the scare quotes, and because I use logical punctuation rather than typesetters' style, I'd write that as:

That would be a useful bit of "Web 2.0".

Of course, I'm not a copy editor. This may be a good thing.

#258 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:18 PM:

Greg London, 249,
My internet exhaust port seems to be packed with lint and I haven't cleaned the trap lately.

Midori: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are snub limericks going to be against that?

Greg: Well, the Piñata doesn't consider a small one-man posts to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. An analysis of the ip addresses provided by Princess Nielsen Hayden has demonstrated a weakness in the battle station.

The approach will not be easy. You are required to maneuver straight down this thread and skim the text to this point. The target area is only two paragraphs wide. It's a small internet exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the humor system. A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should
destroy the keyboard.

A murmer* of disbelief runs through the room.

#259 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Midori @ 258: That's impossible, even for a man from Nantucket.

#260 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:29 PM:

There's an impression I get from the rants of some fans who feel a strong sense of entitlement, more a vibe I guess, that disturbs me deeply. It may be just that my antennae are a little too sensitive, and it's just my imagination running away with me, so I'd like to describe it and see if anyone else gets the same feeling, or if I need an antenna realignment. Pardon me if this description isn't as clear as it might be; I'm trying to translate a feeling I've gotten into words that make sense, for the first time, and I might get it a bit confused.

ISTM that the reaction of such a fan to a blogger or other writer who doesn't jump through hoops to provide whatever content the fan wants is very similar to the reaction of some customers of prostitutes when the prostitute tries to place limits on the kind of services provided or acts performed. The thinking, as I see it, is that anyone who provides pleasure or entertainment to another is in some sense selling themselves, and such a sale cannot, by its nature, have any limits.

Similarly, if you give something away, you're in some sense submitting yourself to the recipient, maybe subjugating would be a better word, and they have the right to demand more and better. I want to be clear that I think this notion is outright batshit lunacy, but I know it exists in the case of some customers of prostitutes*, and I get the impression of it in some of the things that this sort of fan says.

So, am I overly sensitive or maybe in need of a new foil hat, or has someone else felt this too?

* and sexual predators and criminals of other sorts, too.

#261 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:33 PM:

midori@258, now that's funny.

;)

#262 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:38 PM:

Paul Duncanson, 259:
It's not impossible. I used to bull's-eye BBS Π-rats in my TRS-eighty back home. They're not much bigger than two paragraphs.

#263 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:46 PM:

Pyre: I got my Medal (w/ V device) for Sino-Nasal Liquid Retention when I was about 20.

My girlfriend (with whom the sexual aspects of our relationship had recently begun) told me her father wanted to meet me, and so we went to his place for dinner.

Over the course of same various stories were told, one of which was my girldfriend telling him (a few years earlier, when she was about 16) that she was going to her boyfriends place, and wouldn't be back until morning.

He then said, "I knew, when the doctor handed me a baby girl that someday she was gonna get laid."

I damn near shot '79 bordeaux across the table cloth. I think he may have timed the comment to just when I was drinking on purpose.

That training is the only reason I've not lost a couple of keyboards.

#264 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:49 PM:

Some notes before I quit tonight:
A murmer* of disbelief runs through the room.
is [sic]. The spelling, and the mental image.

Greg, 261
Thank you!

Bruce Cohen, 260,
I agree with the general thrust of your argument. If you haven't read it yet, check out the essay I linked early on in the discussion. Precisely this kind of problem of entitlement has been a problem for the webcomics community for many years. I would love to discuss it further, and I can provide examples. Just not now :)

257, Chris Davis,
Thank you for the example, that was interesting. Do scare quotes always take "double" quotes, or do you sometime use 'single' ones? I would have thought single was more akin to how quotes are used to delineate an example of a word rather than a verbatim quote.

256, Teresa Nielsen Hayden,
Ah, that's what I thought. Thank you.

#265 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2007, 11:49 PM:

258 - 262

I'd say y'all owed me a new keyboard, but in fact I'd swallowed before I got to that point in the thread. [LOL!]

#266 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:02 AM:

#265 ::: P J Evans, 265,
Yay! I wins teh internets!

Well, you know, you could continue the theme...a reference text to abuse exists here

...I mean, we haven't gotten anywhere near "Evacuate now? In our moment of triumph?"

#267 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Midori @ 266: The exact same link is open here in another window... but I am supposed to be working right now.

Good luck, and may the Verse be with you.

#268 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:19 AM:

Why the disemvowellings? Not because we don't allow criticism. Really, what pushed it over the line was the hydra casually confessing that he constantly posts under false names.

Does anyone here need an explanation for why that makes me feel like I neither need nor want to read his comments?

#269 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:31 AM:

#260: I think it's "The customer's always right" gone amok. It's become a case of "I'm paying you money, therefore I should get whatever I want." (This is as opposed to whatever the person has actually contracted for.)

My parents first opened up a restaurant when I was 7. They finally sold the business and retired when I was 25. This means I'd been doing service sector work since around the age of 10 or so. I like to think I have some experience behind me when I say this:

The customer is not always right.

Just because you're paying money in exchange for goods or services does not suddenly make you incapable of being unreasonable. However, there are people who think precisely this. That they have handed over their coin allows them to have their way with whom they've paid.

These are people who get righteously angry because Apple has the gall to lower the price of iPhone, even though they bought it at what they had considered a fair price. (If they hadn't considered it a fair price, then why did they choose to pay that much for a cell phone?)

So, yes, these are the people who get angry because a blogger didn't blog about what they wanted to read. (Wouldn't it be more sensible just to read a blogger who is blogging about what you want to read instead? It's not like there is a shortage of blogs.)

Interestingly, this ties into the discussion about who owns the characters in published works. Lots of fans clearly feel they do. So they get annoyed at the author for going in directions they would not have. (Again, in that case, wouldn't it be less stressful just to ignore the author and go on your own alternate path? Or read works which don't annoy you?)

I don't have the historical perspective to know if it has always been like this. However, I do see it everywhere.

[BTW, just so I don't get taken as espousing an extreme position: Obviously, if you are poorly served, or the other side doesn't live up to its end of the contract, complain away and get restitution. I'm talking about people who've gotten what they've asked for, what they said they wanted, then it suddenly turns out not to be enough. I said the customer is not always right, not that the customer is always wrong.]

#270 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:53 AM:

Midori @ 255: my first question as a copy editor would've been "What's Web 2.0? So far as I know, the Internet isn't software, and can't come with a latest version. Was there a beta, and can we expect a version 2.1, or perhaps Web 2.0 SP1? If not, please use more specific terminology."

But then again, I was copy editor for a psychiatric nursing journal, which just goes to further show what do I know, anyway?

Teresa @ 268: can I speak for lots of people to say "'Course not"?

#271 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:01 AM:

This thread is muy disturbing.

The notion that all this is due to one guy, posting from different IPs with different names -- that's just kinda scary. And I've been around the Internet for a long time now (not, like, since BBS days, just since 1994 on a professional basis) and I've seen some scary, but this guy makes me shudder. Reminds me a lot of my dad when he's drinking, the weave-and-bob and changing the subject without saying so, and crap like that.

My kids have free Net access, too, and no filters, and nothing except their word that they won't give contact information without asking me first. And they do. But frankly? I don't worry about it, because the Internet is not actually that dangerous -- physically. But Patrick, you're right about the crazy rubbing off. I can feel a little slick coating on my neurons tonight.

Anyway. Entertaining! Not always the way you imagined it, but ... entertaining.

#272 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:07 AM:

Teresa @ 268: Does anyone here need an explanation for why that makes me feel like I neither need nor want to read his comments?
Of course not. Alas, that doesn't mean some jerk won't come along and demand one with a side of undeserved apology.

Previous hydra comments cause me to have this strange vision of you pulling the sock off Neverwhatsit's hand to reveal five fingerpuppets, all babbling the same nonsense.

#273 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:10 AM:

That they have handed over their coin allows them to have their way with whom they've paid.

Absolutely. What you said. "I bought your book/saw your film/played with your action figures - you therefore owe your success to me, and I am The Piper, so dance to my tune, you pixel stained techno-peasant."

It's bollocks, of course. What next? Should Cory take a poll on what book should write? How the plot unfolds? Or is he simply obliged to refrain from telling his fans, via the medium of his blog, when cool things are happening to his work?

#274 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:15 AM:

Wow, that has to have been one of the most surreal exchanges I've ever seen on the SoT, even on the fabled veldt of Making Light. A truly dramatic troll unveiling. It's not the revelation of puppetry or the successive vomitus that shocked me, just the sheer abandon with which the Crusader mask was dropped and the Fiendish Puppeteer mask was taken up.
This Never-babble persona isn't particularly impressive or creepy as far as trolls go. It's only disturbing to see the same vice and fervor applied to the new cause of self-congratulatory assholery as had been evident in the post after post of wounded priggishness.
Just because we know you're a troll doesn't mean you then have to cackle and rub your palms together, friend.

Also, Paul@253, that was hilarious.

#275 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:34 AM:

This is mostly unrelated to anything else, but I just noticed that on the Post In Question at BB, there are a few comments from someone named Ethan! Does BB's registration allow multiple people to have the same name? Because I totally had first dibs on that one.

The other Ethan seems pretty reasonable, at least.

#276 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:45 AM:

#271 ::: Michael Roberts winced:
This thread is muy disturbing.

The notion that all this is due to one guy, posting from different IPs with different names -- that's just kinda scary. And I've been around the Internet for a long time now (not, like, since BBS days, just since 1994 on a professional basis) and I've seen some scary, but this guy makes me shudder. Reminds me a lot of my dad when he's drinking, the weave-and-bob and changing the subject without saying so, and crap like that.

It's not -quite- a Sybil attack, but it's pretty close, yes ;)

#277 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:58 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 253:

Took me a bit to figure out why total quantity of brandy listed in the recipe didn't match the amount added to the batter. (Well, maybe it goes into the cook?)

I've saved the recipe, and may try it (I like fruitcake, if home-made and not full of citron and other artificially flavored and colored substances).

#278 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:20 AM:

Glinda: Some of the brandy has to go into the cook. That's the quantity that isn't listed in the recipe. it's for quality control purposes.

I should point out that I have not actually tried that recipe and cannot vouch for it. I was at work, nowhere near my recipes, had an idea for a joke and had to go with the first one I could find that sounded decent... but it does sound good, it's simple and it doesn't contain anything I don't like in a cake or anything notably fake.

#279 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:26 AM:

Glinda,

Completely off topic, but I've been meaning to ask you: you've been switching back and forth between "not necessarily good" and "occasionally good". Do these involve different levels of good, i.e. are you getting better or worse? Or are you just getting bored with the same old monicker?

#280 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:31 AM:

Fragano @208, even when you're not explicitly writing verse, your prose has impeccable meter.

"The neverending trollery"
results in great hilarity:
''The greatest jerkwad, that is me!
Along with my sockpuppets three
(or more; it's all the same to me)
There's more to me than what you see
Which proves my cleverosity.''
Before we can cry "woe is me,"
Madam Hospitality
makes posts go disemvowelly.
Rule for aye, civility!


If I dream tonight in iambic tetrameter, it's your fault.

--

Xopher @ 247: Given the going hypothesis that the troll hydra du jour has a connection to that one Scott who plagues Slacktivist, I think the phrase "steaming pile of crap" will need to be rewritten as "steaming piles of produce, drenched in butter" in future.

Mind you, when I read his post, I couldn't decide whether he was Scott, or was talking about Scott, when he referred to "th wrld's mst Cmpssntly Whckd t Lbrl Lbrtrn (TM)" whom we all believe "is a real person." Scott wouldn't call Fred a Libertarian, but someone making fun of Scott wouldn't call Scott "Compassionate" (though they might make reference to his use of the term Compassionate™ that's become his--no pun--trademark).

--

Paul @253, that was *wonderful* and I may have to try that one this year rather than my usual procedure. Too, the wonderfulness only increased when I tried to pass it on. I only chuckled when I read it, but when I tried to say to my husband, "Any blog can call a troll a fruitcake, but only at Making Light do they hand you the recipe," I broke down into squeals of laughter with tears running down my face. Now my husband thinks I'm a fruitcake. (He's thought this for some years, mind you. But thanks to you he now has additional evidence.)

#281 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:48 AM:

Teresa #268: Why the disemvowellings? Not because we don't allow criticism. Really, what pushed it over the line was the hydra casually confessing that he constantly posts under false names.

I think you'll find that an increasing cause for posting from different accounts (but in this case, usually from different IP addresses) will be people who post from home, from public libraries, from work sneaking around a nanny filter, and from mobile devices while commuting (hopefully not while driving, though). Not sure the "view all by" feature can handle all that yet, though. I wouldn't mind a future upgrade to ML where we just logged in to the website before viewing and posting. That might give you a better database resource for sock puppet outing analysis.

#282 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:52 AM:

Earl, I can attest to posting from my laptop at home, at cafes all over the Boulder area, and at work, and from the desktop computer at work. I'm sure my posts show up with many different IPs therefore. But my (view all by) remains, as far as I can tell, without gaps.

I am guessing that (view all by) mainly works on similarity of what I put in the three text inputs. I would presume that not being taken for a troll masquerading as me works on the stylistic similarity of what I put in the textfield box. (I'd say, "works by the virtue of", but that sounds a little self-congratulatory. For all I know, all my posts read as stylistically similar and consistently non-virtuous.)

#283 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:01 AM:

...I take it back. Looking at my (view all by), specifically the ones on Open Thread 93, I do not in fact see all posts by me from that thread. I see the one that starts, "Can I vent a bit?" but not the follow-up to the responses to that.

But I do see posts I could swear I remember posting from work alongside posts I know I posted from home. So there you go: confusion!

#284 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:07 AM:

Wait, no, they are all there, just not all together in one "Open Thread 93" block, which is why I missed 'em. Nevermind, I revert/retreat to my first theory and retract my admission of confusion!

Good night, all, before I eat my toes again!

#285 ::: never ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:35 AM:

Shnnn -
'm Scttbt (nd Scttbt Mk , , tc, lng wth Scttbt_wth_th_flty_dd, tc - nt tht sbtxt hs ny mnng hr) t Slcktvst, nd ls nt_scttbt - jst md cpl f rcnt psts cncrnng ntrsts f mn - th dvlpmnt f th .S. nt trtr stt, lng wth hw mrcn scty s grwng ncrsngly dmntd by mb thnkng - th rctns t my fw psts hr bng n ntrstng xmpl.

Fr th wnrs f ths blg -
snc ths s Grmn T-nln ccnt, t s lkly tht th P ddrss chngs vry 24 hrs, bt pls, d lnk t ny f my ldr psts tht cm frm t - lkly, thy wll b cncrnd wth trtr, dt prvcy, nd th cntrsts btwn Grmny nd th .S.

s fr fw gnrl cmmnts -
my chldrns' ntrnt PC s n th sm rm s r PC - dn't hv ny fltrs bcs thr ntrnt s s pblc (nd bcs thy nly s Lnx). Strng hw sm ppl thnk th ntrnt s prvt spc n trms f th wrds n scrn, whl n trth, t s th lrgst dt cllctn systm vr crtd. Cll m prnd - bt thn, t s prn whch s cnsdrd hstrclly wll fndd n Grmny.

nd s fr nttlmnt - thgh cmmnty s nttld t dfn tslf s t wshs, why r th mmbrs nttld t nfrmtn whch s nt thrs?

s hv wrttn n nthr st dply cncrnd bt ts cmmnty mg, my vwpnt hs bn qt cnsstnt - ppl wll frm thr wn pnns, rgrdlss f th fcts r trth, nd wrryng bt wht thrs thnk s gnrlly wst f tm. (nd tht st ss th 'm' tchnq fr trblsm pstrs, whch sms t m t b mr cmmnty bsd, nd nt sbjct t th whms f 'sftwr prblms.')

wll rfrn frm dng mr thn mrly ntng tht th dltns t bng-bng cntn, wth t lst 2 ppl nw hvng cmmnts 'ncrrctly' dltd, th scnd ftr bng ccsd f bng sck pppt f th sm drk nd mystrs ntrnt frc t whch sppsdly blng.

t mst b fscntng t lv n wrld whr nyn tht sms t rsmbl sm drdd nmss/fl s prt f vst ffrt t dstry wht s rght nd gd. Lckly, th clsst cm t tht xprnc n dly lf s rdng mrcn bsd wb sts. My wf thnks ths s prtty sck hbt, nd s vry trd f hrng bt llgl mprsnmnt, trtr, wrtppng, gvrmnt bss nd ncmptnc - s sh sys, w dn't lv n th .S., s why shld sh cr?

Sh hs gd pnt. Tschs.

#286 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:19 AM:

Jack Ruttan @ 149: "But I wish the level of discussion in comments threads or fora here and elsewhere could take some dissenting opinions without hurting people's feelings, or feeling like a football pile-up.

Thinking of this summer's Harry Potter #7 thread on Making Light, where I was interested to look at the book with some people who had more experience with speculative writing than I, to read about what it did well, and what it might have done better. But someone jumped in with a negative opinion at the beginning, and the discussion came to be all about him, and whether he had the right to do it. Left the book behind."

I understand your frustration with the HP7 thread--it's irritating when neat discussions get side-tracked into nit-picking or point-wrangling. But discussions aren't about what 'you' want to talk about. They're about what 'we' want to talk about. So when you say they left the book behind, what you mean is they left what you wanted to talk about behind. From what I could tell they were still talking about Harry Potter, albeit an esoteric facet. There's nothing wrong with being irritated by that, but there is potentially something wrong with thinking that that's our problem, and not yours. The people on the HP7 thread manifestly wanted to discuss Greg's arguments, viz. they were doing so. Why should your desires weigh more heavily than theirs?

"Anyhow, my point is that it seems to me that groups don't handle minority points of view, or dissent very well."

Depends on what you mean by dissent. There are a great variety of opinions expressed on ML regarding the quality of various sf and fantasy stories. There's a lot less variety of opinion on, say, the moral worth of the Iraq war. Venturing an opposing view regarding one will meet a lot more, ah, blowback than the other. This has nothing to do with a Fascist-like adulation of the party line, but with the basic fact that people who enjoy discussion with each other, and thus end up hanging out at the same website, tend to have similar views on subjects of importance.

One subject of importance to MLers is forum moderation. It's frequently discussed here, and our hostess TNH is something of an expert on it (so good that Boing Boing hired her to moderate their comments, don'tcha know!). So when someone blows in and starts talking nonsense, they'll be smacked down pretty hard. We have zillions of hours of discussing moderation under our collective belt, and as a result, we're pretty well-equipped to tear apart a troll's half-formed bloviating. It's kind of like going to Ezra Klein's blog and saying, "Well, but is single-payer healthcare REALLY any better?," or going to Pharyngula and voicing doubts about the merits of evolutionary "theory." You'd be lucky to even receive the privilege of being ripped a new one: far more likely you'd just get banned. Because they have better things to do, far more meaningful arguments to have, than rehashing their basic precepts for the zillionth time just because some clueless idiot popped up. So are we hostile to dissent? Only when we perceive that dissent as being primarily an attempt to waste our time.

#287 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:35 AM:

Xopher@48: Interesting that you should use that example. The woodchuck question has been a joke between me and my SO for a while, and I sometimes throw in references to woodchucks in other contexts. I consider this amusing surrealism, she considers it an annoying tic that sometimes eats my brain.

I in fact once filked a Christmas carol thus:

Woodchucks we have heard on high,
Cordwood flinging o'er the plains.
And the ferrets in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains:

Lignum, jacentes marmotae!

#288 ::: Nikki Jewell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:58 AM:

Never-ending: I think that you are now deliberately trying to be offensive. How you've managed to drag this into a debate on how bad America is is utterly beyond me.

Generally, it doesn't seem to be what you're saying that annoys people, but how you're saying it. You sound accusing, defensive, rude and whining - and you have sounded this way, to me, in every comment you or your sockpuppets have made in this thread and on Boing Boing.

If you at least made some attempt at politeness and manners, I think you would find that your comments did not get deleted or disemvowelled and that you would not find commenting privileges suspended. You would also find that people wanted to engage with your opinions instead of your behaviour.

Try it and see.

#289 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:24 AM:

Ethan, that wasn't you at BB?

Onward.

Consider Never (285): I'm starting to agree with the people who think it's a sociopath. Notice how it makes its motives sound almost reasonable? What it's actually talking about is massively selfish and disruptive behavior. This thing tells lies as naturally as it breathes.

This weekend, it launched a vicious, spiteful attack on Cory Doctorow that appeared to be coming from multiple readers of Boing Boing. In form, it was the kind of emotionally crushing nastiness that takes all the joy out of having a weblog; and because it appeared to be spontaneously coming from several different commenters at once, the attack had extra impact and apparent credibility.

This isn't just some guy who doesn't want to give out his true identity.

#290 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf Little #280: It was completely accidental, I assure you. But that's a nice little piece of verse you've got there.

#291 ::: Gabriele Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:22 AM:

never #285

Being German has nothing to do with being paranoid. None in my extended family is, and we're all online.

#292 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Teresa @ 289

Sociopath? I'm not too sure that I would call it APD, but it does feel like Cluster B. Like most toxic trolls I would lean more toward narcissism that's well on the way to NPD. High functioning and way too much like some people I am dealing with these days.

#293 ::: never ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Gbrl- s y wll hnd smn yr Prsnlsws th nxt tm y ntr pblc bldng smply bcs n rmd grd stndng t th dr dmnds t? Y knw, th nxt tm y g t yr twn's rdnngsmt fr smthng? Ths s rtn n n vr grwng nmbr f mrcn lctns - ddly, ll th Grmns knw wh hv xprncd ths n th .S. n th pst yrs r shckd t sch rtn mrcn prcdr. Ths Grmns r thn cnsdrd prnd by th mrcns rnd thm, spclly whn th Grmn rfss t shw thr sws t mrly ntr bldng t t lnch wth smn t pblc rstrnt.

Bttr s th nw frly cmmn prctc f sng mgnt strp rdr t gthr nfrmtn frm drvr's lcns bfr cstmr s llwd nt br - ths nfrmtn s nt prtctd by ny dt prvcy lws (Dtnschtz s frgn wrd n th .S., f nt dngrsly n-mrcn), nd yt, f y dcd nt t hnd vr th lcns, y cnnt ntr th br.

wn't vn gt nt th fct tht f yr mplyr pys fr yr hlth nsrnc, ll mdcl nfrmtn cncrnng y nd yr hlthcr blngs t yr mplyr, nt yrslf.

r th fct tht s n prvcy t n mrcn wrkplc cncrnng tlphn cnvrstns r -mls. Snc th tlphn r PC blngs t yr mplyr, yr mplyr hs th lgl rght t mntr ll yr cmmnctns - whch s nthnkbl hr, f crs, nlss y rmmbr wht Sts ws lk.

cld g n, nd n - bt why bthr? n mrcn wh bjcts t sch dly ftrs f lvng n th lnd f th fr s gnrlly cnsdrd prnd. s th thngs hv dscrbd r ctlly nt lgl n Grmny (wll, f y hnd yr sws t smn s yr chc - bt n n wll fl th plc shld b nvlvd f y dn't shw t whn ntrng pblc bldng), 'm nt sr wht y mn bt Grmns nt bng prnd. Grmny frbds mny cmmnplc prctcs n th .S., gss bcs Grmns cn't mgn why sch prctcs shld b llwd.

s fnl xmpl - th sländr-/rdnngsmt dsn't rlly kp cmptr rcrds (thy r bgnnng t, thgh), nd ths s n prps, t lst ccrdng t n prsn spk t, svrl yrs g. f th plc nd prtclr fl plld t 3m, Bmt s clld, bt thr s n rsn fr th gvrnmnt t hv trly ffcnt rcrds cncrnng ctzns - Rstrfhndngn r stll cnsdrd prblm n Rchtsstt, ftr ll. dn't knw hw mch lngr tht wll b tr - Schbl s prtty mrcn n hs dtrmntn t wrtp vryn nytm, fr r wn gd, f crs.

#294 ::: lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:59 AM:

John Chu @ 269

The formulation I've heard was, "The customer is always right. Logically, this means that if you are sufficiently wrong, you are no longer a customer."

#295 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Our Ethan's linked site is less flashy (or Shockwave-ey, I suppose) and a thousand times more endearing.

#296 ::: Gabriele Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:17 AM:

never #293
I fail to see what your paranoia about using online identities has to do with showing yor driving license if you want to enter a public building in the US. Since you said you have a German T-online account, I assume you live here, so what's the problem?

If you don't like how things are handled in the US, don't go there. It's the same as with blogs. :)

#297 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:17 AM:

I quite liked Rebecca Ore's depiction of the character of a Usenet troll who finds himself living in the future in Time's Child. That character's combination of cowardice, aggression, intelligence, self-interest, and self-stupidity has come to mind quite often over the last couple of days. A sick, sad, frightening (and frightened) mind.

#298 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:17 AM:

Midori @ 264

I'd like to discuss it too, but also not now. Right now I need to dip my brain in dilute hydrofluoric acid to get the slime from neverhydra off it.

#299 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:30 AM:

it@285: why are the members entitled to information which is not theirs?

That you're a troll? We could pretty much figure that out. That you're a multi-headed sockpuppet? I was going to suggest that a few hours before you were officially outed. You're a troll. And if a troll puts on a pointed hat one moment, and then a bowler the next moment, you're still a fricken troll.

Seriously. You. Are. A. Troll.

people will form their own opinions, regardless of the facts or truth

Right. Back. At. You. Babe.

Whatever opinion you've formed about BoingBoing or MakingLight, they werent based on observation. We've already established that. You've got some burr under your saddle about Cory, and you just won't let it go.

#300 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:36 AM:

There are some people -- me, for instance -- who are occasionally driven mad by their fellow human beings. In the old days, we could flee into the desert or some other suitable wilderness where we could clear out whatever had gotten up our mental and/or spiritual noses.

The great advantage of the old days was that once you were in the desert, it took some considerable effort to come back out of it. There were serpentine arroyos to be followed, water holes to be found, small rodents to be caught and cooked. Plus humping everything out you humped in.

This made it harder to head back to civilization than it was to stay in the desert engaging in contemplation, spiritual-renewal, and all the rest of it. In short, going into a real desert was far more likely to lead to enlightenment than going into the fake desert of swearing off the internet for a while.

These days, it actually requires will power, for heaven's sake, to stay in the desert. The horror is: all you have to do is read one comment thread and you are instantly removed from the therapeutic wilderness. No heavy humping required. It's a breeze to never have to look at yourself in a spiritually intimate way.

It's great that the web has brought humanity together in a new way. Now all we need is a way to reliably pry ourselves apart again.

#301 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Yes, indeed, Datenschutz is a foreign word in the US, I'll give you that.

However, employers do not own health records here, and indeed there are health record privacy laws in the US (though handled with the usual American sloppiness in practice).

The requirement for presentation of a government-issued identification to enter various places of business is indeed onerous and for the most part of no practical use. As a friend of mine pointed out to me recently, most people in this country had never given a thought to their security from terror attacks and are at best catching up with what's needful and useful. I have some hope that practicality and the need for security from corporate data collection will occur to more of the population as time goes by.

ID checking at bars is related to astoundingly draconian laws regarding liquor licensing and the way the burden of keeping out the under-aged is placed on the proprietors in the US. Card readers are an easy technological fix and raises the bar on ID forgery while shifting some of the burden of liability for letting children become inebriated away from bar owners.

Really, every society has to explore the consequences of social control decisions for itself. The DDR (no, not "Dance Dance Revolution!") learned, among other things, that a full-blown Stasi has costs far beyond its benefits and far more than German society could afford. The US and post-reintegration Germany have lessons to learn about the cost of data collection and integration and we're still working though the early part of the curriculum.

The actual exam will be a snap quiz, not scheduled ahead of time. Our test in the US will be written differently from yours in Germany, and may be given on a different day.

#302 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:50 AM:

#293 ::: never was unsurprisingly confused:
Better is the now fairly common practice of using a magnet strip reader to gather information from a driver's license before a customer is allowed into a bar.

I have to admit to deep curiousity about what a 'magnet strip reader' is. I've recently discovered how lovely welding magnets are as a fence for my drill press - are magnet strip readers similar?

#303 ::: never ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Th lnk s frm S Tdy, 2002 - http://www.stdy.cm/mny/jbcntr/wrkplc/rls/2002-11-07-prvcy-rghts_x.htm

'"Mdcl prvcy s jk n th wrld f mplymnt," Mltby sys.

Bcs mplyrs nrmlly prvd mdcl nsrnc, thy ftn hv ccss t yr cmplt mdcl rcrds. Thy r, hwvr, rqrd t kp yr mdcl rcrds sprt frm yr prsnnl fl, nd yr sprvsr shld nt hv ccss t thm.

mplyrs my ls rdr crdt chcks n mplys r jb cnddts nd, n mny css, gthr bckgrnd nfrmtn ncldng rcrd f th lwsts y'v bn nvlvd n, yr crmnl hstry, vn yr prscrptn rcrds.'

f crs, ths s ld nfrmtn. m sr tht sch dt prtctn lws hv bn mprvd ndr th Bsh dmnstrtn.

Jst lk th fngrprntng t th brdr fr ll nn-ctzns ntrng th .S. s mttr f fct, n prsn wrk wth dcdd n 2004 t n lngr trvl t th .S., mch lss by rtrmnt hm, smply bcs f hw nn-ctzns wr bng trtd.

r th dt ntry f ll nfrmtn prtnng t ll ndvdls flyng wthn .S. rspc, vn f th flght s btwn ttw nd Mxc Cty - tht's rght, crtn mscl prfrmr wll nt b bl t fly btwn ths pnts, bcs h s n th lst whch ds nt spk ts nm.

dn't hv ny plns t trvl bck t th .S. ny tm n th ftr - twc n th pst 8 yrs ws ngh. Nthng hr mks m mss th plc.

#304 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:12 AM:

#286 Heresiarch: My apologies. See my note #252 about criticising other people's fora. (I feel like a librarian keeping up with all these reference numbers)

P.s. Was that Martin Luther King in the "Stand Up" speech in your "blowback" link? Being dead in 1968, how could he have been talking about Afghanistan?

#305 ::: Gabriele Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Bob #301
And the flip side is that in Germany often enough 12 year old kids get away with buying the hard stuff like vodka, and that's definitely not good. A bit more control won't hurt.

#306 ::: Manny Olds ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:00 AM:

As I read all this criticism of supposed editors editing, I find myself wondering what all those complainers think editors are supposed to do? (I mean, putting aside the little problem that moderators are not really editors and that the blog is not a magazine or similar.)


MAO

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:29 AM:

David 287: That is nothing short of brilliant. I will be singing that come Solstice. One thing though...would it be equally correct to say "Lignum, marmotae jacentes"? It sings a little better, but I don't want to be singing incorrect Latin.

#308 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Bob #301: The DDR learned, among other things, that a full-blown Stasi has costs far beyond its benefits and far more than German society could afford. The US and post-reintegration Germany have lessons to learn about the cost of data collection and integration and we're still working though the early part of the curriculum.

AFAIK the Stasi did it with bits of paper - costly in manpower and difficult to search. What's happening now is totally different. The Land of the 'Free', and similar advanced societies, are doing it with computers which, as Google has demonstrated, can collect vast amounts of data very easily and very cheaply. Google, however, is an unstructured collection of data linked by a very smart search mechanism. Surveillance data is more structured because it includes 'keys', like SSN, ID card number, driver's license number, credit card number, etc., which link together data from different sources. This enables mass surveillance on a scale that the Stasi could not have dreamt of, though they would have loved it.

#309 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:57 AM:

never @293: Schäuble is pretty American in his determination to wiretap everyone anytime, for our own good, of course.

Yeah, right. As if evil, or just plain wrong-headed, practices couldn't possibly be conceived independently by people of other nationalities. Must be the water or something.

In case anyone's interested in what he meant with the Schäuble reference, you can read a couple of articles in Spiegel Online here or here.

Yes, data collection, ownership and privacy are issues everyone is facing, and definitely worth discussion. That's the point. Discuss the issues, don't sidetrack a legitimate debate with accusations of censorship and ill-will. Especially when the accusations are unfounded.

#310 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Heseriarch @ 286:

I understand your frustration with the HP7 thread--it's irritating when neat discussions get side-tracked into nit-picking or point-wrangling. But discussions aren't about what 'you' want to talk about. They're about what 'we' want to talk about. So when you say they left the book behind, what you mean is they left what you wanted to talk about behind. From what I could tell they were still talking about Harry Potter, albeit an esoteric facet. There's nothing wrong with being irritated by that, but there is potentially something wrong with thinking that that's our problem, and not yours. The people on the HP7 thread manifestly wanted to discuss Greg's arguments, viz. they were doing so. Why should your desires weigh more heavily than theirs?

I weigh in on Jack Ruttan's side here. Multiple people in that thread expressed a desire to have a conversation that wasn't about Greg's arguments, and some of us tried very hard to post about other things. But when every time I go back to see what's new on the thread, and there's one response to "Wasn't this cool?" and seventeen posts of people being very articulate about something that makes me angry...

Well, even if I really want to talk about what's cool in the book, and Jack Ruttan wants to talk about it, and a few other people want to talk about it, it's hard to continue happily doing so when three people have seventeen posts that are all about something that's making me angry.

At which point I either:

1) Respond to the what's making me angry and bury the thread further in the snarl;
2) Try to continue responding to something eighteen posts earlier and hope that other people haven't given up, which seems unlikely by the time I've repeated this process a few times;
3) or give up myself, in frustration.

I don't think that the people on the HP7 thread "manifestly" wanted to discuss that argument; I think that a very aggressive argument was made, people responded emotionally, and people who can and want to post very, very quickly made it impossible for anyone who didn't want to discuss that argument to hold a conversation.

It may well be a fact of internet life that all threads will belong to those who post most often and most quickly. It's sort of how in real life, conversations tend to belong to whoever talks the most loudly over everyone else. But I still find it very frustrating that one person with an emotional argument can remove the fun from a thread. It takes exactly two people to get into an argument that's heated enough that twenty people who wanted to talk about other things will leave rather than trying to work around the angry. And usually there's more than two people willing to argue, if one person's willing to keep poking until they do.

I suppose someone can point out that it's a moral failing on my part to not be able to ignore posts that make me angry and respond to ones I like. They're probably right. I do not have the zen calm necessary to read through eighteen posts that make me angry and then post a happy little "And I liked this too!" at the end.

But I'm still frustrated by it, and still annoyed by the implication that if a thread devolves into angry nitpicking, it's because "The people on [any particular thread] manifestly wanted to discuss" the angry nitpicking.

#311 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Fade Manley at 310: you make an interesting point. At what point does dealing with such an issue as you describe become the job of a moderator? Should a moderator jump in and redirect conversation, or should the thread be allowed to continue as it is going as long as posters remain reasonably polite and are clearly not abusing privilege?

#312 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Or, in a less tl;dr fashion, let me try that again:

The people on the HP7 thread manifestly wanted to discuss Greg's arguments, viz. they were doing so. Why should your desires weigh more heavily than theirs?

Just because the torture thread turned into everyone arguing with CRV, it doesn't mean that everyone who read that thread and wanted to participate in it really wanted to discuss CRV's views on torture.

And some of us who post more slowly than others do get frustrated when it seems all threads belong to the first person to express a sufficiently controversial opinion to turn the thread into the Story About Them.

#313 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Lizzy L @ 310:

I honestly don't know. I'm a moderator on one forum elsewhere, and I have occasionally stepped in to tell people that they're getting too hostile, and they can either take a breather or get the thread locked. Or that if they want to discuss Item X, when the thread is explicitly about Item Y and there are people still trying to talk about Item Y through the midst of all the X, they can go start their own new thread on Item X and take the conversation there.

But that's a set of official company forums, which is a very different thing from a personal blog. And I don't know how much of my frustration here might come from having different cultural expectations.

#314 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Gursky #295: Aw, shucks. Thanks. I like you too.

TNH #289: Nope, not me. I was just surprised, as I had assumed (based on no information at all) that only unique names were allowed in the BB registration system. Not a big deal. On, as you say, ward.

#315 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 12:30 PM:

As I read it, the point against jumping into a thread and making a general complaint that it gets people defensive. The topic becomes more about you saying they don't measure up, and obloquy results. Especially if people are already irritated.

It's a matter of etiquette, like announcing "this party sucks," turning off the host's tunes and putting on your own music. You might think it's what's needed to liven things up, but more likely than not, you'll get kicked out.

Better in such a case to ignore the fight, and just post your opinion as if the badness was never happening. If it's interesting, people will take it up, and the argument will peter out on its own.

If not, well, there's nothing you can do about it, and you may as well not draw attention to yourself, because you'll start having rotten cabbages thrown at you.

#316 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 01:39 PM:

I'll give a lot more latitude to someone who's been an engaged and thoughtful participant in conversations, even if they're currently bending a conversation way out of shape. If it persists, I'll say something. If they persist, I'll say something more. After that, it's on a case-by-case basis.

Anyone who wants to save vowelled copies of Never's comments should do it now.

#317 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:00 PM:

I'm surprised this entity is also Slacktivist's Scottbot. Scottbot is a usually-funny, transparently-pseudononymous response to a persistent and disruptive troll (Scott) in that community. I don't read the comments there as often as I do here, but the impression I had was that Scottbot's presence had taken much of the damage out of Scott's presence -- people were now able to laugh at him rather than finding it necessary to argue with him to the point of derailing the threads.

#318 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Todd, we don't know it's the same troll. What we know is that this guy says he is -- but then, we also know that this guy is a chronic and habitual liar.

#319 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:17 PM:

277: I believe some (if not most) is poured over the cake after (often WELL after) it is baked. If this counts as "Grief Counseling", it explains much of GladOS's behavior, to say nothing of "her" descriptions of the cake (obviously fruitcake or a relative). And yet, I still read bb, and am happy that he posts about these things, because while the content of the post may be skim or roll-worthy, the existence of the post is quite informative.

As to the actual thrust of the discussion:

No one can accuse me of being an uncritical Cory Supporter, but count me boggled as to the complaint of the trolls. I read Overclocked, and liked it, ditto about 60% of Cory's output, but I still skim over the "X translated into Y" or "X as a Z" (where X is a Cory Doctorow-authored writing, Y is a language, and Z is a format) posts. Even more apropos, I just roll my eyes at much of his IPLaw posting, as I've made my views known (here and on my own LJ, mostly), and I (unlike these Trolls) don't feel the need to freak out and spawn a score of sockpuppets every time Mr. Doctorow prophesies the doom of scientific innovation, or the western critical tradition, or radio.

Also, if that comment by TNH with the sockpuppet-tracking analysis is a preview of The Book on Comment Moderation, I'm even more looking forward to it than I was before.

#320 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Todd @ #317:

Well, while I'm quiet sure that Scottbot is very often not the person posting as "Scott" at Slactivist or the multi-named-idiot-of-the-day-who-may-or-may-not-be-Scott here, it wouldn't surprise me if it/either occasionally posted as Scottbot as well.

This type of name-swapping is really messing with my head - how can one be sure that the name I recognize isn't this idiot posting under the name? Is Teresa really Teresa? Am I really me?

Help!

#321 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Bruce Cohen, 260;

Well, your metaphor is a really visceral, button-pushing example of the general issue I was trying to bring up; I would say, blurred distinctions between gift transfers and paid ones. (And in your example, it is my assumption that submission and helplessness are the actual thing being paid for; there's a horrifying SF short about genegeneered living ...muffs... in a boarding school, and I can't remember the title or author; Willis? Tiptree?)

#322 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:24 PM:

clew: If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's Willis. Don't remember the title, though, I'm afraid.

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:25 PM:

277/278

I didn't notice any extra brandy, beyound what would be left in the bottle. The numbers all balanced for me. (1 3/4 cups is, um, 28 tablespoons, divide by 14 days ... yup, nothing left over but what's in the bottle. I wonder about basting it with Triple Sec instead, a few times.)

#324 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:34 PM:

clew 321, Jennifer 322: "All My Darling Daughters," perhaps?

#325 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Ursula: yes, you're you. If you're ever in doubt, click the "view all by" link on your latest post and see whether it's all stuff you'd say.

#326 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Xopher@307; Your word order is absolutely as valid; that's the wonderful thing about Latin - it's so carefully constructed that any word order at all is fine, as long as they're the right words.

Somewhere ... (rummage rummage ... ah, here) there's a paper on turning Perl into Latin from my favorite mad scientist, Damian Conway; word order doesn't matter there either - the programs still run.

I told you he was mad.


#327 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:20 PM:

clew: can't remember author or title, but it was the first story in the "Future on Fire" anthology edited by Orson Scott Card, IIRC. It looks like I gave away my copy in my last move.

Was the last line "naq vg fpernzrq?"

#328 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Xopher, 324:

*heads to Google*

Looks like that's the one I was thinking of, yes. Thanks.

#329 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Jennifer Barber, Xopher, Rikibeth; yes, thank you. Ew that story gives me the creeps.

Joe McMahon, that is an interesting example of why treating code and speech as legally distinct is so illogical.

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Joe McMahon @ 326... I told you he was mad

"They laughed at me at the University! But I'll show them. Bwahahah!!!"

#331 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Xopher: If the rules of latin word order (which I never really mastered. I can decipher it but I don't think in it), the shuffle will change some of the connotation, but not the "absolute" meaning.

In russian "ya ne znaiyu" = I don't know.

"Ne znaiyu ya" = it is unknown to me.

#332 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:47 PM:

There are plenty of shocking things the German government does, never, if you want to be a jerk about it. I'm a proud expat, too, and I don't like what's become of the US, but if you say that that is why Boing Boing and Making Light won't let you be a jerk, well, you're one of the stupidest freaking morons I've ever seen who still manages to put words together.

Please stop. You're just embarrassing yourself and giving the rest of us the heebie-jeebies. Go get offline. Spend some time with your kids, take them outside, for God's sake, while the weather still permits it. Instead, you're spending time trying in vain to convince a bunch of people that you have the right to be a jerk in at least three venues you don't own, that we know of. Twenty years from now, when your kids are grown and gone, you'll say, what the hell was I thinking, wasting their entire childhood trying to convince other people I had the right to be a jerk?

Note to all: yeah, I know don't feed the troll. But that's because of the Usenet trollery-for-fun thing. Real people with psychological problems, like this prize case, deserve heartfelt replies, I think. But Nielsen Haydens, feel free (ha) to correct me if you think otherwise.

Hmm. But then -- if he is a sociopath, then nothing I say will make him change his mind, right? Can anybody with some notion of psychology clue me in on this? Am I being too much a softy when I respond to this kind of person?

Incidentally, in re entitlement of the fannish. Yes. I once had a Web comic (and may once again) with a readership of, oh, at least ten people. One of them was such a fan. Big time. Two, actually, come to think of it, because the one I wasn't thinking of complained that I was too disdainful of his conservatism and never came back. Wow.

Teresa, if this isn't Too Much Info, is the FlyingSquid also one of never's puppets? I'm thinking no, but it's hard to say.

#333 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:57 PM:

xeger@302: s/strip/stripe/ will make the sense a little more clear.

If you found your way here: http://stripesnoop.sourceforge.net/ , for example, you might be reassured to know that there's a community of people who want to defensively read their own magnetic stripe info to find out what they're revealing when they let someone else "swipe" their driver's license.

#334 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 03:57 PM:

The funny thing is, I didn't have to Google that. I read that story as a result (IIRC) of Patrick bemusedly commenting (after someone called Connie Willis a "wimp") "The author of 'All My Darling Daughters' a wimp?" (Blatant fucktardity still had the power to surprise a little, back then. These were the old days, before the internet, when you had to blow smoke signals into your modem to communicate. Uphill, both ways, in the snow.)

Anyway, I went and read the story, and never forgot it. Creeped me the hell out.

#335 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:02 PM:

clew @ 321

As I said, I may be too sensitive, and am seeing more than is really there. Some of the ranting I've seen seems to me to go beyond a mis-evaluation of the importance of one's own desires, to a denigration of the humanity of the provider relative to the consumer. As if the very act of providing were an admission of lesser worth. And I'm wondering if the common denominator is that what is being provided is entertainment, or pleasure in some sense, as if that's less dignified than providing physical goods or more abstract services.

It may very well be that you are right, and what I'm talking about is simply an example of the type of entitlement thinking that pushed my buttons and led me to see a connection that's not deep as I thought. I'm just curious if anyone else saw that connection.

#336 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 04:43 PM:

How interesting - "Nebula" and "Nobel" disemvowel to the same thing.

#337 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:11 PM:

That confused me too!

#338 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:18 PM:

In re the discussion of Latin and Marmota monax. I was under the impression that the usual form of this was:
"Quantum materiae materietur Marmota monax si Marmota monax materiam possit materiari?"

I think materiae is used instead of, say, lignum to retain the idea of the rhyme & alliteration of the original; one of those translation issues.

BTW the standard for biological Latin binomials is for the first word to be capitalized and the second and others, whether or not they are based on a proper name, to be lower case. Named hybrid varieties or cultivars, put in quotes, get their registered capitalization, like Pandorea jasminoides "Bower of Beauty"

#339 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Eleanor #336/ethan #337:

Mr/Ms never is very unlikely to receive either.

#340 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Fragano @ 339... Mr/Ms never is very unlikely to receive either.

Never?
Well, hardly ever.

#341 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Terry 331: Yes, there are differences in emphasis. I had understood that in Latin last is the least marked position for the verb (that is, putting the verb in the final position in the sentence carries the least meaning).

Russian is more inflected than English, but word order matters MUCH more in Russian than in Latin. "P'at dollarov," five dollars, but "Dollarov p'at," about five dollars.

Epacris 338: Yes, I have that on a t-shirt. That's what made me think of using it. So is "Materiae Marmotae jacentes" correct too? That would sing even better!

#342 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:06 PM:

@Grg Lndn Ys, w ndrstnd, y fnd s clbbsh, ntlrnt, plrzng, nd dststfl. Mssg rcvd. Th thrd s fll f psts by y syng hw Mkng Lght dsn't llw crtcsm, th rny f whch stll scps y.nythng ls?

Ys, lts t sy... bt t nly gts mr trrfyng =). nd vn sng plt tn rnd hr s ngh t gt yr vwls rmvd. Th rny stll scps m, nd s ds th rsn fr my cnsstnt cnsr.

Bt 'm nt rlly n fr hstl cnvrstns, nd ths thrd s ssntlly bst-frnds gng-bng f smrm nd cndscnsn. f y hv rl qstn, y'r fr t ml m bt f crs tht's prvt mdm, nd y wll gt n grndstndng pnts.... =(

#343 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Call Orkin.

#344 ::: Nikki Jewell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Yeago -

On the assumption that you have a faulty understanding of politeness:

Making threats (Yes, lots to say... but it only gets more terrifying) is not polite.

Making accusations without evidence (And even using a polite tone around here is enough to get yer vowels removed) is not polite.

Being dismissive (around here, yer vowels removed) is not polite.

Name-calling (best friends gang of smarm and condescension) is not polite.

Assigning suspect motives to people (grandstanding) is not polite.

I don't understand how you can possibly think you're using a polite tone. If you do think you are being polite, then I'm afraid you're just wrong.

Also, did you notice that Flying Squid's polite and genuine sounding posts - apologising for causing offence - on Boing Boing were left alone?

#345 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Yeago @ 342

Why, if this place treats you so badly, do you keep coming back?

#346 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Is it actually a magnetic stripe on drivers' licenses? My CT license has what looks like a Magic Eye puzzle, bracketed by a bit of barcode.

I don't mind it. It's cut down on the "out of state license, more likely to be fake, let's delay the line" trouble for me.

And, knowing the thin operating margin some of these clubs have, i doubt they can spare the effort to do data mining.

#347 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:17 PM:

"Ya ain't just here for the huntin', are ya?"

#348 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:36 PM:

I knew it. None of you people are real.

#349 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Rikibeth@346: That would be a two-dimensional barcode. (Of PDF 417 format perhaps?) I was working on a similar project many years ago, and so am guessing yours contains all your license text and maybe even part of the photo, compressed, encrypted, and encoded.

#350 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Rikibeth@346: That would be a two-dimensional barcode. (Of PDF 417 format perhaps?) I was working on a similar project many years ago, and so am guessing yours contains all your license text and maybe even part of the photo, compressed, encrypted, and encoded.

#351 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Although I am intrigued by the use of the essentially English slang word `wanker.' I've come across it elsewhere, if you'll excuse the expression, and if any of the people I'm obviously imagining right now could give me some background on how it managed to cross the Pond I would be honestly grateful.

#352 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:48 PM:

*curses fiendish self for double-posting*

#353 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:49 PM:

I knew it. None of you people are real.

Of course, if we're all figments, then we are all equally real to each other, and therefore, relativistically, we're ALL real.
Now if only I had tangible hands with which to make that fruitcake...

#354 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:49 PM:

Why, f ths plc trts y s bdly, d y kp cmng bck?

dn't t trts m 's bdly.' Crtnly, cn hrdly pprct hvng my vwls rmvd bt ll-n-ll y sm lk gd ppl wh hppn t dsgr.

@nkk

Mkng thrts (Ys, lts t sy... bt t nly gts mr trrfyng) s nt plt.

Thrts? Y msrd m. (whch s why ws ds'mv'd n th frst plc).

Bng dsmssv (rnd hr, yr vwls rmvd) s nt plt.

Rmvng vwls s k, bt hvng prblm wth yr vwls bng rmvd s mplt? Gtch.

Nm-cllng (bst frnds gng f smrm nd cndscnsn) s nt plt.

Y'r rght. m srry. tk tht bck. Lt's s f th zlln-r-s thr stbs tkn p tp r ls tkn bck. r f Thrs vr plgzs fr wrngly ccsng m f sck-ppptry[sc] nd dl'ng my ccnt.

ssgnng sspct mtvs t ppl (grndstndng) s nt plt.

W'll s bt ths n. f h shts m prsnl pn-ndd dscssv[sc] ml, 'll tk ths n bck.

dn't ndrstnd hw y cn pssbly thnk y'r sng plt tn. f y d thnk y r bng plt, thn 'm frd y'r jst wrng.

lrdy ndrstnd th crrltn y nd mny mk btwn th ds f 'dsgr' nd 'mplt'. hppn t dsgr ( gss tht mns 'm mplt t).

ls, dd y ntc tht Flyng Sqd's plt nd gnn sndng psts - plgsng fr csng ffnc - n Bng Bng wr lft ln?

nly hs sbmssv, slf-dsmssv psts wr lft ln.

#355 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Greg, #104: Just because there's a box marked "Suggestions", doesn't mean you can drop your drawers, take a dump in it, and call it "input".

That's wisdom which should be inscribed on a marble plaque and inlaid with gold. Bravo!

Pyre, #119 & James, #122: SPLORFLE!

Wesley, #132: Not only that, but it's perfectly possible to disagree without debating at all. Sometimes, for example, all I want to say is some version of, "I don't agree with that statement because of X," and (having added my datapoint) go on to other things.

Emma, #144: "It would be interesting if X did Y" is one of the mainsprings of fanfic.

Individ-ewe-al, #170: Yes, exactly. If J. Random Kook stood up at the Hugo Awards ceremony and tried to trash-talk Cory (or anyone else) -- they'd be shown the door in short order, because they don't own that audience. The fact that the same principal holds online seems to be lost on a surprising number of people.

There's also a disturbing tendency, increasingly frequent in recent years, to conflate "the right to say what you like" with "the right to MAKE other people listen to you, in any venue, whether they want to or not." Correlation != causation, but I do notice that this seems to correlate very strongly with the rise of Christofascism in American society.

Lighthill, #205: Brilliant! Triolets -- er, Trollolets -- are even harder to do well than villanelles.

Midori, #230: I believe that whether or not to pronounce the first "r" in February is a dialectical distinction in America -- some linguistic subgroups do, while others don't.

Jack, #241: What you're describing here is a good example of "thread drift". It happens -- and if you're a Usenet veteran, you should be accustomed to it by now!

John Chu, #269: Well said. The fact that bad service does happen does not mean that there aren't sucky customers as well. Question: Have you ever known it to occur that the owner or manager of a business establishment finally lost their patience and said something to the effect of, "Having your business isn't worth putting up with your attitude -- there's the door"?

Epacris, #338: That's the form we use on our bumper sticker.

#356 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Lee #355, I've worked for large corporations that have written policies that precisely delineate at which point a customer isn't worth the trouble, and which door they are to be shown.

#357 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Bill@353 - Of course, if we're all figments, then we are all equally real to each other, and therefore, relativistically, we're ALL real.

NO!!! *Puts aching head in hands. Goes to bed.*

#358 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Have I ever explained my theory of trollishness as a hardwired cognitive disorder?

Michael Roberts -- and goodness, I enjoyed that -- if Flying Squid turns out to be another sockpuppet I'll be very disappointed. He's one of the most reliable posters on Boing Boing.

Bruce Cohen (335), I think you're on to something. In the game wherein one undertakes to assign relative rank to all human artwork along a single linear scale of respectable to disreputable, one of the strongest determinants is whether the art form acknowledges that it gives a damn whether you enjoy it. Ballet is thus more respectable than Broadway musicals, and Gainsborough is more respectable than Hogarth and Rowlandson.

Columbina (who writes an interesting journal) wrote about the recent dustup. I only disagreed with her a little bit. Later, I went on to disagree quite a lot with one of her other commenters. Here's what I said to Columbina:

I don't think it's inarguable that people have a right to hold celebrities to some higher standard; but whether or not they have that right, the fact is that they do it, so those who are on the receiving end have to cope with it.

My take -- and in my experience, what I'm about to say holds true even down to the tunneling electron microscope-gauge celebrity of fandom -- is that as soon as you're perceived as a celebrity, there will be people out there who believe you can't be hurt. To them, you're now an action figure, not a human being.

If you decide a writer is a celebrity and can therefore be held to some kind of higher standard, what you say to or about them in pursuit of said higher standard will hurt just as much as it would if you were dealing with a non-celebrity writer. Celebrity has no analgesic value whatsoever.

An excerpt from somewhere around the middle of my remarks to one of her commenters:
I gather the thing that started this was a fan complaining that Doctorow was trying to sell carpets from his free ice cream truck.
No. It was an extremely nasty multipart attack by one sockpuppeting troll who's fixated on Cory, pretending to be a half-dozen people at once. Saying that Cory was doing self-promotion was just the excuse for the attack.
... the flipside of saying to the fan, "If you don't like it, don't read it," is saying to the professional blogger, "If you don't like criticism, turn off the comments field."
Would you say that to any of your friends on LJ if the same thing were happening in their comments?
When one seeks celebrity, one can't simply turn it off when it becomes inconvenient. Princess Diana could have lived a perfectly anonymous existence, but instead chose to take a very public job as Princess of Wales, used that position to advance her agenda, and then got all unhappy when she couldn't turn off the paparazzi spigot. Boo hoo. If you seek celebrity but don't want fans bothering you or criticizing you, become Thomas Pynchon and/or get a thicker skin.
I've known a number of people who became celebrities. None of them were seeking it. They were trying to write good books or good comics, or play baseball well. They wanted to be good at what they did, and succeed in their chosen field. That's not the same thing as wanting to be a celebrity.

What you don't understand is that celebrity is a function of the way the celebrated person is perceived. It doesn't inhere in that person. The status is bestowed by the people who see them as a celebrity. It's the ones doing the perceiving who are in control of it, though they don't like admitting that because it spoils the illusion for them.

I can prove this. Let's go back to that phenomenon I mentioned earlier, where people who perceive someone as a celebrity will lose track of the fact that they're still vulnerable and human. Here's the proof: it's completely unnecessary for the "celebrity" to have any real fame or prominence or privilege in order for this to happen. All it takes is for people to perceive them as a celebrity, and the effect kicks in. That's got nothing to do with the supposed celebrity. It's 100% simon-pure fairy gold.

Look at the way you're talking about celebrity. You're envious of a gift which you've bestowed, which you control; and you think it gives you the right to be unkind. It doesn't. That permission to be unkind is a gift you've given yourself. If that's what you truly want, then that's what you'll do; but don't pretend there's anything but your own desires at work.

Is there any chance that the word we're groping for here is objectification?

#359 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Yeago, you do understand that even when you change pseudonyms, we can still tell it's you?

Dork.

#360 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Yeago@332: this thread is essentially a best-friends gang-bang of smarm and condescension. If you have a real question, you're free to email me but of course that's a private medium, and you will get no grandstanding points.... =(

This from the guy who invented a bunch of sockpuppets to grandstand how important his opinion of someone else is? It wasn't anonymity, or some fear of privacy, you nutball, you were trying to stuff the ballot box, you were trying to make your opinion have far more weight than it really did.

You're a lone nutcase, and you have a gaggle of imaginary friends to keep you company. And when you use these imaginary friends to reinforce your sole opinion, you really are doing nothing more than an electronic version of self-gratification. The British might call you an internet wanker. "Why, yes, I do agree with myself."

Just to make it really clear so that you'll have to block your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth to keep this from getting in:

Did you publicly post your criticism to Cory?
Or did you email it privately?
Did you publicly criticize everyone on this blog?
Or did you email them privately?

Exactly, you grandstanding fool, you made your complaints public. And you continue to make them public. Because the game you're playing is to see how many imaginary friends you can get to agree with you on a public forum, so as to make you look more important to yourself.

It's called Narcissism. Look it up.

#361 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 08:56 PM:

#333 ::: John Aspinall wrote:
xeger@302: s/strip/stripe/ will make the sense a little more clear.

I'm clearly hoist by my own dry sarcasm here :)

If you found your way here: http://stripesnoop.sourceforge.net/ , for example, you might be reassured to know that there's a community of people who want to defensively read their own magnetic stripe info to find out what they're revealing when they let someone else "swipe" their driver's license.

... or the interesting collection of cards from various hotels, to see what the hotel shouldn't be storing on the magstripe in question, or any number of other cards with magnetic stripes on the back :)

This is reminding me that I need to get a USBgame port dongle so I can get my reader going again...

#362 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Teresa@358: one of the strongest determinants is whether the art form acknowledges that it gives a damn whether you enjoy it. Ballet is thus more respectable than Broadway musicals

not to sidetrack, but my parser jams due to a lack of contextual experience with either ballet or musicals. Ballet gives a damn if you enjoy it and musicals don't?

The immediate question that follows is what to do if you give a damn, but no one seems to enjoy that art you created? Because at that point, not giving a damn might actually feel better, if you could somehow make it true.

#363 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Teresa @ 358

Is there any chance that the word we're groping for here is objectification?

Yes, indeed, that's exactly where I was going, without quite knowing it. Not only is it turning people into objects, it's considering those objects as important for only one attribute, in this case whatever product the fan wants from the celebrity. All else is invisible to the fan. So even if the celebrity produces other things, if they're not part of the obsession, they really don't exist for the fan.

There is another thing going on here, though. There's the need to punish the celebrity for being or having more than the fan. That's a phase change like the one Remus Shepherd was talking about @ 55. At some point, even if the celebrity continues to produce what's wanted, it isn't enough, or it's too much, or something, and it becomes necessary for the celebrity to be taken down a peg or two. Hence the cycle of praise and criticism that writers and other artists get from critics: at first, if accepted, they can do no wrong, after awhile it becomes their turn in the barrel and they can do no right.

#364 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:13 PM:

What I learned from the best of my art teachers was that art is communication, which is I suppose another way of saying that you give a damn what people get from what you create. Ballet vs broadway - ballet is trying to communicate something. Broadway is trying to get your money out of your pocket.
It's a pretty big generalization across a genre, but it could be argued that generally some art, and some art forms, are more about money than talk, and vice versa.

#365 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Teresa @358: I'm reminded by Columbina's remarks about fame of Stephen Fry's recent blessay on the subject, mostly the bit in the middle about how the famous are treated by the public. In fact, this whole affair put me in mind of it, though perhaps the connection is oblique.

#366 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Yeago, 342,
What the heck? What did I ever do to you? See comment 224.

Rikibeth, 346, et al.
re: magnetic stripe driver's licenses
And, knowing the thin operating margin some of these clubs have, i doubt they can spare the effort to do data mining.
Sue Grafton used that very bit as a plot device in one of her more recent* books. Does anyone recall which one?

Dave Hutchinson, 351,
...I am intrigued by the use of the essentially English slang word `wanker.'...could give me some background on how it managed to cross the Pond I would be honestly grateful.

A huge part of the U.S. trade imbalance with the UK is due to the import of British Humor by local PBS affiliates. I don't know for sure, but I bet we can blame Red Dwarf and East Enders. (Possibly Chef, The Vicar of Dibley and Ballykissangel.) A more parsimonious explanation would be to just blame Hugh Grant.

Unless you mean, why it became popular? That's easy. Imported swear words sound silly more than threatening. I suspect the increased awareness of the 'incorrectness' of conventional swear words - that it's now obvious that they can easily be harassing, something not permitted as much in the workplace - leaves an void that must be filled with something that at least sounds vulgar. A bloody bunch of sodding hypocritical buggers, if you ask me.

*er, post 1995?

#367 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Yeago: What I see in your most recent comments is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works.

You want everyone here to agree to play the game by your rules, most notably that you get to define who it is who is "sincere" by demanding they step to your tune and send you a private e-mail. That will prove their good faith.

That's a sucker play. You get to make points, and the only dispute you will accept is that which is invisible. Silence = assent and you are dismissing all those who won't let you have the last, public, word, as being possessed of dishonest motives.

I call that impolite (I also call it rude, and it borders on trollish; but that's my opinion)

Me, I don't have much of a dog in this fight. I don't think dis-emvowelling is evil. I happen to think it a good thing. I've borrowed it, when possible, to show disapproval, without actually censoring. Part of it defensive. No one can come along and say I refused to admit there were those who disagreed.

I think your assertions about the level of debate allowed here are risible. We just had a couple of threads which were full of heat. There was some fairly snippy commentary. In none of those threads was there the need for anyone to suffer the lost of vowels.

Most telling, when the heat spilled from one thread to another we (the denizens, not the hosts) took each other to task, for letting baser emotion bleed into places it wasn't deserved.

The thing I see most here, is that each post is treated sui generis (though in a given thread it may be that one is trying to dig out of a hole, and that colors the starting value). I've disagreed. Been told I was being an idjit. I've been part of a "dogpile", and usually hold some spot in the middle.

Of the places I hang out, this is probably the one I like best. People who have ripped into me for one thing, have supported me (both qua me and in argument) in other threads, at the same time.

So, from my personal experience, your claims of narrow mindedness are nonsense (literally, they make no sense to me). Your assertions that we, as a group, insist on things being in accord... well that's either wilfull ignorance (given that you have had some days to poke around), inability to digest the facts, or mendacity.

None of those option speak well for you; but that's how it looks to me.

#368 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:53 PM:

No, I take it back, it's not bordering on trollish, it's worse than that.

It's more than just impolite. It violates the social contract of interactive discussion; establishes a double standard, and is, fundamentally immorral.

So all in all, I'd say you've gotten far kinder treatment than such behavior warrants, not least from me.

#369 ::: TruthFriction ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Hll,

ws lnkd t ths cnvrstn v Bng Bng. m n f th ppl wh hs bn ccsd f bng sck pppt t Bng. m nt nd d nt lg n s mltpl ppl n BB r hr.

Lt m ssr y tht ths s th frst tm hv pstd n ths st, nd hv n dsr t rgstr mlln nms t try t mk pnt. f cn't d ths n fw prgrphs, thn wht wll b th rslt f hndrds f mssgs?

nly sk tht y, th mdrtr, gv m jst ths mssg t pst my pc wtht t bng dltd r grbld.

hv bn wrngly ccsd f bng sck pppt. Th rsn s mst lkly d t th fct tht my frst fw psts n BngBng wr md sng th Tr ntwrk. hv sttd my rsns fr sng Tr n Bng s t prtct my P ddrss.

Snc ws nmd sckpppt hv trd t d vrythng t prv tht m nt t n vl. hv ffrd t snd y cpy f my d, t gv y phn cnvrstn, nd hv vn stppd sng Tr s tht y cn s th cty nd stt pst frm.

hv n dsr t b trll. jst wnt t b bl t pst. Nn f my psts hv bn ffnsv, mn-sprtd, r bltnt cnjctr.

smply sk tht y drp whtvr y hv gnst m. Whtvr dd, r wht y thnk dd, dd nt d. m nt mltpl ppl. brly vn pst t Bng nlss hv slw dy t wrk.

Pls tll m why y cntn t thnk m smn ls? thght tht whn strtd pstng wth my rl P tht y wld sly s tht m rl, lv, nd brthng prsn. vn thght tht w hd tht ndrstndng s y llwd m t pst s TrthFrctn, nd vn rpld t my psts?

Wht chngd, nd why? D y wnt m t scn n d nd ml t t y?

m n f th cslts f y wr n trlls, nd m dng my bst t rmn clm nd crdl dspt th rspnss hv bn gvn.

f y nswr s n t gvng m th chnc t prv myslf, thn pls t lst gv m nd xplntn s t why.

thnk tht Yg nd sm thrs gt dltd bcs f my lst psts dfndng thm, nd wnt t ssr y tht m nt ffltd wth ny f thm.

Thnk fr yr tm nd th spc t wrt ths.

#370 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:05 PM:

midori 366: Yeago, 342, What the heck? What did I ever do to you? See comment 224.

midori, with respect, which part of the word 'troll' don't you understand? Yeago doesn't need any provocation at all to attack someone, because he's a troll.

#371 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Greg London, 362

Teresa@358: one of the strongest determinants is whether the art form acknowledges that it gives a damn whether you enjoy it. Ballet is thus more respectable than Broadway musicals

not to sidetrack, but my parser jams due to a lack of contextual experience with either ballet or musicals. Ballet gives a damn if you enjoy it and musicals don't?

No, the other way around. It's like the old argument about literary fiction vs. common genre fiction. Genre fiction usually has two things going for it: a frame of expectations for what kind of story it is (mystery, romance, etc.) AND a focus on storytelling that pulls you in. If you don't enjoy it, chances are the author screwed up.

Literary fiction means you have to bring your own frame, set it up, check if it's level, and carefully usher the experience through. Storytelling chops became more or less optional over time, as the storytellers became more dependent on the frame manufacturers (the literary-industrial collegiate complex) than a close relationship with fans. In other words, if you don't enjoy it, it's your fault.

Note: the preceding two paragraphs are a parody of reality, presented strictly for illustrative purposes, and not intended to reawaken that flame-winged strawBalrog of lit vs. genre arguement.

Anyway, ballet is accessible if you know how to decode what you are looking at - or if it's really, really, good - human beings moving around to music can be pretty neat. Once upon a time, the genres in ballet were commonplace enough that you didn't need lots of training or experience to decode it - still true for some people, in much the same way the original Star Trek series is still watchable to people my age, but not my younger cousins.

The genres in musicals are pretty accessible to us - most of the tropes are still in use in modern sitcoms and romantic comedies. Really hummable tunes, clever wordplay, and spectacle are the equivalent element to the focus on storytelling in genre fiction. Those properties are transitive when musicals are filmed, unlike ballet.

#372 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 10:48 PM:

TruthFriction,

Start your own blog. Write clever interesting things and build a following, and you will then be able to communicate with as many people as you would on BoingBoing. Quit crying about being banned and quit trying to get around it. It may be unfair, though I highly doubt it, Teresa's powers of observation are not to be underestimated.

Moreover, this is really not the right place to make your appeal. If Teresa will not respond favorably to an e-mail from you, why on earth would she respond to an off topic post on her personal blog?

If you are trying to build support for your case over here at ML, then you are really barking up the wrong tree. We guests at Making Light may disagree over a great many topics, however we all respect Teresa (and Patrick, Jim, and Avram), otherwise we wouldn't hang out here.

So, I tell you what. Start a blog. Post the address here or go to my blog and leave a comment with the address, and I will come over and read it and engage in discussions with you.

Other than that, you need to knock it off. Seriously. I've seen you on BB, and you really need to stop.

#373 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:10 PM:

mdr 366 - Thr's sm msndrstndng, wsn't tlkng t y. trd t ml y bt my dtpr0n. ml m, w'll tlk =)

#374 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:28 PM:

^^ ppnd bv: wld tlk t y bt t hr bt vrythng 'v pstd s fr hs ts vwls mssng.

#375 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Gabriele Campbell, #305: Some degree of regulation definitely seems like a good thing to me. What I see happening in the US, though, is that vendors are expected to be better about securing liquor sales than the airport screeners are about finding weapons. When the inspectors smuggle a fake bomb or imitation gun past a security checkpoint in an airport, it does not seem that the screeners are dismissed from their jobs or heavily fined. Selling to a mature-looking 20 year old in a liquor control test easily costs employees their jobs, and the fines to the establishments where the liquor was sold seem frequently to be huge.

John Stanning, #308: The costs I had in mind go far beyond the implementation costs. There are less immediately obvious costs associated with massive surveillance: for the HUMINT part you have a lot of indirect costs due to making everyone worry that everyone else is an informant. Me, I just inform on myself and cut out the middleman.

Teresa, #318: Cue Fred Astaire singing, "How can you believe me when I said I trolled you, when you know I've been a liar all my life?"

Shorter recent comments on BoingBoing generally and from TruthFriction here, "I am NOT Spartacus!"

One of the lessons about data security is that identity can't lift itself by its bootstraps: source IPs, postmarks, copies of identity papers sent by fax or in the mail, none of these are worth anything. Plausible content and stylistic markers are probably as good as it gets and more than good enough for blog comments. Unfortunately, a nose for stylistic markers is probably not something that Teresa can give anyone through a book, though she has a superabundance of nose for style herself.

N.B. I'm nobody's sock puppet but my own.

#376 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:21 AM:

*sigh*

I keep trying to post comments on BB. I'm registered. I just keep getting redirected to some weird page with what looks like a comments log.

Ah, well. I shall try again tomorrow or so.

#377 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:23 AM:

I'm wondering if we've been using the wrong analogy for blogs such as Making Light.

I think they may be more like restaurants or bars than living rooms, in that anyone can wander in, and anything you say may be overheard by complete strangers. (In general I don't let just anybody into my living room.)

A blog owner determines the menu of ideas and the commentators can pick and choose among them, or in the case of open threads, make suggestions as to interestiing topics.

At the same time however, a minimum of polite behavior to the other diners is required and those not meeting it will be escorted to the door. Those with a history of bad behavior may be requested not to darken that door again.

What constitutes bad behavior is determined by the owner and is subject to their whims and fancies. (This is a haute cuisine restaurant! Do not discuss novelle cuisine here!)

If you don't like what the restaurant serves or how it's decorated you're not required to go there.

I'm thinking that this analogy is a little more workable than the living room one, in that it's my perception that people behave a little bit better in public spaces (Yes, I realize that this shouldn't be true, but it's my opinion that it is.) and a little more likely to remember that their behavior is witnessed.

I also think that people might find it a little less raw to be tossed out of a restaurant than out of someone's living room. On the other hand, would a troll care? Probably not.

And the thing that started this all? A restaurant/bar/coffee house is expected to advertise; behavior that some people find grating in a living room. (Grating or not, it does not excuse subsequent bad behavior.)

Of course, analogies are suspect, and I may be whistling in the wind.

#378 ::: TruthFriction ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:42 AM:

CosmicDog, you're right. There is no way for me to make my situation right, or to prevent my situation from happening to others, which makes me wrong. You can never confront power directly, you must find more creative ways to effect change in this world.

I have been whining and it serves no purpose.

Goodbye.

#379 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:53 AM:

For the sake of disambiguation, the Tor that TruthFriction mentions in #369 is an anonymity product supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and not meant to refer to Tor the publishing house.

#380 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Bill @ 364

generally some art, and some art forms, are more about money than talk, and vice versa.

I don't agree with this statement at all. I will agree that some artists, and some impresarios, patrons, whatever are more about money, or talk, than art, but an art form is an end product of human work; it has no bias towards any purpose beyond that of the creator or the user. There are Broadway plays and musicals written and produced strictly for money, and there are others* done for the love of the work.

* Julie Taymor's plays, and Bob Fosse's musicals to give just two examples.

#381 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:17 AM:

Margaret Organ-Kean @377, in many ways it doesn't matter if one is at a private party or in public: as long as one is in company, there are expectations of consideration and, for want of a better word, modesty- or at least being open to discovering that others have better skills than oneself. The guy that walks in and assembles his three piece custom made pool cue and beats all comers may be sung of in legend, but in the bars where I used to play it was the guy who shared his a pitcher and waited for a table to open up who was considered an asset.

#382 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Bill, #364: Art is a form of communication. Sometimes all it says is, "Don't quit your day job."

(Not original with me, but I don't know who said it.)

Midori, #371: That's a good description of the difference between "literary" and "genre" fiction. The point at which we disagree is that I believe "literary" is now a genre, subject to its own tropes and stereotypes -- one of which is that the story no longer matters. And I'm very much an elitist about that; if the author can't write a decent story, then I refuse to accept the blame when I fail to enjoy it. IMO, that author is not living up to the terms of the (implicit) contract between author and reader.

Note that "decent story" != "my enjoying it". It's quite possible for an author to write good, solid stories that simply aren't to my personal taste, but that's not what I'm talking about.

Secondary note: I don't know how old you are (and I'm not asking!), but I'm over 50 and most ClassicTrek episodes aren't very watchable for me either. Way too much outdated sexual stereotyping.

Margaret, #377: I think of my LJ as the online equivalent of my living room; more precisely, of my living room in which I'm having a party. My friends are all welcome, and they can bring their friends, and I get the occasional drop-in from someone who just thinks it looks like an interesting place to be, and that's a lot like my annual Chocolate Decadence party. OTOH, I don't allow anonymous posting on my journal, and I've thrown a couple of people off (permanent ban) for bad behavior, just as I would out of my home. I think, however, that the structure of LJ is more conducive to that approach than the structure of most blogging software. For example, I can make locked LJ posts which are not open to the public, but can only be seen by a group of people I select; I don't think that can be done on most blogs.

#383 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:38 AM:

midori @ 371

Those properties are transitive when musicals are filmed, unlike ballet.

If you're saying that ballet can't be filmed so that all of its interesting properties are apparent, I'd say instead that it's very hard to film ballet (or modern dance, as opposed to show dance) well, but it can be done. It's not the same experience as seeing it live, any more than a live production of a Busby Berkeley musical could capture all the spectacle of a film. But I can think of one or two films that were reasonably, if not greatly, successful. The Royal Ballet Company production of the Tales of Beatrix Potter was one of them, I think.

#384 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:57 AM:

Lee @ 382

Ever since I had to request some people leave a party, I've been more careful about who I invited in the first place.

And my home is a very personal space. I may be more private than some, but I don't want all and sundry dropping by, even if I'm having a party. I'm not saying this is good or bad, or better than how you do it; it's just how I am.

This may be why I'm more comfortable with the restuarant analogy.

#385 ::: tamara r. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:39 AM:

I have been banned from boingboing. I think that means I have been accused of not being a person. I think when she talks about sockpuppets on mobile devices, she is speaking of me. I connect via a sidekick and do not have any other home access.

I assure you, I am a person.

A minimal amount of research on teresa's part would have turned that fact up. Had she looked up my boingboing login name, "mecenday," or my email, she would have seen my path splashed across the internet. I'm a recently outted mtf transsexual so she would have only seen 6 months of my current name, but had she really wanted she could have traced me back further via associated names.

I don't get why she doesn't think I'm a person, and she won't tell me via private email.

#386 ::: scottbot_guest_appearance ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:30 AM:

Scttbt s sd t nt bng trtd s prsn, bt tht s bcs Scttbt s fgmnt f rl prsn's mgntn.

Th sm wy nthr rl prsn sms t trt nmbr f ppl wh r (lkly - sh hs th srvr lgs, whl Scttbt s nt prgrmmd t rspnd n tht r) rl s prt f hr mgnry drk sd f th ntrnt, whthr t s hydr r scpth. Th smpl nswr tht myb fw ndvdls hv bn flsly grpd nt tht rl prsn's wn mgnry wrld s th srt f rny tht Scttbt cld nvr mng n ts wn.

Scttbt ssms prt f th prblm s tht n dbt t nthr frm, Scttbt nt nly vgrsly spk t gnst Wb 2.0 (nt t mntn prvcy cncrns, pt pv f Scttbt's fmbl fngrd bldr), bt md fltng rfrnc t ts pln fr ntrnt dmntn - lng wth shwng Scttbt's wn ptntd(TM) ntrnt shrkng. Mrcflly, Scttbt wll rfrn frm dmnstrtn hr.

Nnthlss, Scttbt ndrstnds hw sm ppl jst cn't chng thr vw f thngs - fn rfrnc s wht hppnd t Jms ngltn t th C, wh ftr bng srsly brnd by Km Phlby, strtd sng hs wn nghtmr vsns vrywhr - http://n.wkpd.rg/wk/Jms_Jss_ngltn#ncrsng_prn
(Bt y ddn't knw tht th hd f th C cntr-ntllgnc blvd Kssngr cld hv bn KGB gnt f nflnc - wr crmnl, sr, bt KGB?)

Scttbt s nt ll tht cncrnd bt whthr nyn blvs n ts mgnry xstnc, nd cnsdrs ll ths prtty phmrl, t pt t mldly. Thgh ths dt wll b strd n vrs dtbss fr lng tm, n n wll cr bt t n th lst, ncldng Scttbt. nd s nly mkng gst pprnc bcs t sm pnt, t lks t sy 'tld y s.'

Bt Scttbt s nvs t th xtnt tht y t lst pprd, f fr mr thn yr 15 mnts f Wrhl tm, snc nn f th psts Scttbt's bldr md (myb 5? 8? mst n Sptmbr - nd dmttdly wtht rgstrng s sr) hv vr bn pblshd t bng-bng, snc rmrkng t hw hvy hndd th nw mdl mdrtn ws. Scttbt s prd f tht nw phrs, vn thgh n Grmny, w rn't brnng ny ffgs f nyn.

#387 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:41 AM:

Tamara and others...

This is getting tedious. What do you hope to accomplish by coming here and bitching about being banned or disemvowelled on BoingBoing? If TNH is the ogre you think she is, how exactly are you helping your situation by complaining about her on her own website? I don't know why you were banned and I don't care.

Fucking. Get. Over. It. Already.

I see you have a LiveJournal account, why don't you talk about it there? You can post whatever you want there, with no fear of the evil Teresa or any other of the monstrous BB'ers trying to block or censor you.

I still your think that you are a sock-puppet whose hijacked a real person's online identity for your own twisted ends. I've bookmarked your LJ page, if an entry about this shows up there, I'll be suprised. I still won't feel sorry for you being banned from BB, since you clearly have your own forum for communicating your ideas. Use it.

never-scottbot-whatever: You are obviously mentally ill. Please seek help before one of your delusions causes you to hurt yourself or others. I thought you were leaving this thread anyway. Who asked you to come back?

#388 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:05 AM:

Bruce (StM): There are Broadway plays and musicals written and produced strictly for money, and there are others done for the love of the work.

Not to mention the fact that those two things can quite easily go together. People can have more than one reason for doing the things they do, and there is no reason that a desire to make money can't go hand in hand with a love of the work.

#389 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:21 AM:

Lee@355:

I used to work for a full-service financial planner who used client tracking software designed specifically for his line of work. You could call each record a Prospect, Green Cherry, Red Cherry, Client, etc. There was also a special category called Jerk.

#390 ::: S.W.Erdnase ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:31 AM:

CeCe: "Cm pn ths thrd frm lnk t th rgnl BB stry. my nt cntn t ths blg, ths s my frst tm hr nd cn't sy f 'll b rnd lng. f tht dscrdts m smhw, s b t. s my cmmnt t BB ws cnsrd by nn-pblctn, thght mght cmmnt hr, whr m nt rqrd t sgn p fr nythng. Cnvrs wy, my r my nt rspnd, f tht mks dffrnc n yr dcsn t vc yr pnn."

Sorry to go OT. Lurked on this blog a long time, drifted away and just came back, but...

When did we stop using English in here?

Sorry if I'm tragically unhip and so 20th century, but wtf?

#391 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:45 AM:

Latecomer to the thread, ah well...

This guy and his interaction style reminds me very much of the run-ins I've had with various Usenet kooks in past years. It's not the good-natured trolls or even the petty vandals you have to worry about, it was the ones who would create endless subterfuges and identities because they saw themselves as vengeful freedom fighters out to protect the Internet from anything that would get in the way of, well, themselves, creating endless subterfuges and identities to spew vengeful venom from. I was stalked all over the Internet for quite a while by one character who called himself Jai Maharaj, because I'd helped create a moderated newsgroup, and that was an intolerable restriction on his freedom to spew random lunacy onto all newsgroups, not just some.

So, harking back to Bob Webber's comment @ 297, I think he's certainly nailed the personality connection. I believe Rebecca's said that character in Time's Child (a very fine book) was modeled closely on a real person she got to know through her anti-spam activity.

Teresa @ 289 & Claude @ 292: The current thinking seems to be that the major personality disorders are never really distinct conditions; rather, they fall into clusters and blur together. You'll rarely find someone who has pure antisocial personality disorder without strong narcissistic tendencies; the narcissistic form may be blended with borderline personality or histrionic, etc. I believe my wife (professional psychologist) said they're thinking of lumping them into much broader diagnostic groups in the next DSM release.

The kind of people who are attracted to disrupting online fora, while fervently believing that they're making it all better and liberating it, I think inevitably combine some narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial aspects. Fundamentally what CeCe, Yeago, never, and aliases object to is that BoingBoing is not about him, and that's deeply offensive to him. (And it is usually a him, in my experience.)

#392 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:49 AM:

S.W.E: Teresa disemvowelled the earlier posts after they'd been up for a while; it's her preferred penalty for severe offensiveness, sock-puppetting, etc. It leaves them in a form where you can still read them, if you really want to, but the meaning doesn't jump out at you.

Personally, I think it's a great invention. Some of the recipients disagree. (Not all and not always; I've seen some people here occasionally ask if one of their posts could be disemvowelled, because they'd said something intemperate and regretted it.)

#393 ::: S.W.Erdnase ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:55 AM:

Thanks for explaining it to me. I just got back from a stint in the middle east, bought "Old Man's War", saw PNH had edited it and thought, "Hey, that's that hep blog I used to read."

I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Won't happen again.

#394 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:57 AM:

Tamara @ 385: I assure you, I am a person.

Perhaps you are a person, but you are not a particularly polite one. I haven't seen what you might have posted at Boing Boing and I don't care why you were banned or whether the reason has any basis in reality. I say you're impolite because you, having been banned at Boing Boing, have chosen to follow one of the employees there back to her home to bitch about it. If this were happening in the physical world, police would be en route right about now.

SW Erdnase: See Disemvowelling .

Oddly, while Googling for an explanation of disemvowelling I came across How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community. The people who still want to sputter about Cory and Boing Boing and censorship and alleged hypocrisy should probably read it, note the author's name and the fact that it predates this current kerfuffle and realise that they had it coming.

#395 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:08 AM:

A huge part of the U.S. trade imbalance with the UK is due to the import of British Humor by local PBS affiliates. I don't know for sure, but I bet we can blame Red Dwarf and East Enders.

Eastenders would be a lot more enjoyable if it had a laugh track.

#396 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:44 AM:

Xopher@307: Thank you! As others have noted, there's no problem with reversing the wording if you think it sounds better. Do remember that the "j" is really a "y" sound -- "yahkenteez".

#397 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:50 AM:

Xopher@341: "Materiam" not "materiae" (in the original context "materiae" is okay -- I could explain why, but anyone interested probably knows already -- but here it needs to be "materiam"). That doesn't seem easier to sing to me: it's easier to stretch the two-syllable "lignum" out to fit the space occupied by a three-syllable "gloria" than to squeeze "materiam"'s four in, isn't it? I guess you could make it "ma-ter-yam".

#398 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:28 AM:

I believe my wife (professional psychologist) said they're thinking of lumping them into much broader diagnostic groups in the next DSM release.

Is the next DSM going to include MIPD (Modem-Induced Personality Disorder)? I've been observing it in the field since the late '80s.

#399 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Tamara (385), yes, I deleted your comments and temporarily banned you. No, you're not a sockpuppet. Here's what happened:

Over the weekend, Cory got hit with a really vicious multipart attack in one of the BB comment threads. I wound up spending most of the World Fantasy Convention in my hotel room, dealing with the mess.

What I eventually sorted out was that almost all of the initial attacks, and almost all of the protests over the actions I took to deal with those attacks, were the work of one person. He's a sockpuppet-generating troll, and has been making a pest of himself at BB for some time now.

I knew there was a chance you were real. There was also a chance that you weren't. Troll Sockpuppet Guy puts a lot of work into generating false identities. Also: (1.) you instantly assumed that any moderation was censorship and therefore oppression and hypocrisy; (2.) you kept insisting that this had happened solely because the commenter had "disagreed with the moderators"; and (3.) you suggested I be replaced with a Slashdot-style rating system. Those responses are all characteristic of this troll.

(Of course Troll Sockpuppet Guy favors a Slashdot-style system: it would never detect him.)

I made your comments disappear because they were inextricably part of a larger and uglier mess I was cleaning up. I temporarily banned you until I could figure out whether you were one of the sockpuppets. You would have received a note telling you it was a temporary ban, but the WiFi service at the hotel didn't connect with my mail account.

I've seen your denunciatory letter to Boing Boing. My entirely sincere advice to you is to always remember to spellcheck your flames before you send them.

#400 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Here's the scoop: I don't know of a single online forum worth reading that doesn't have a firm moderation policy. (I except the forums that are so difficult to access, or focus on such specialized subjects, that even the idiots stay away.)

As far as I'm concerned, most of the people who complain about moderation want to simultaneously have the behavioral latitude they enjoy on junk message boards, and the kind of audience that only exists on moderated boards.

In short, they're making the not-grown-up-yet wish: I want to stay exactly like I am, and do exactly what I want to do, and have that get me the results I desire.

#401 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Picking up on Ethan's #388:

It's very unusual for people capable of and inclined to do commercial work at all to have precisely one viable idea for whatever their field of work is. Usually there's a whole spread of things you and whoever you need to work with might do, and a big part of the creative process is figuring out which one you want to try next, whether it might pick up pieces of works that overall seem not so good for right now but have these elements you'd hate to leave behind, and so on. At least among those of us who have commercial and artistic ambitions, "What can I do that there's an audience for and will satisfy me?" is the stock question. It's basically the same impulse as having fun cooking for a mixed crowd or hosting a successful party - you want it to be rewarding to all involved, creators and audience alike, whether the reward is laughter, cathartic tears, stimulation to fresh ideas, or whatever.

When money's involved, there are times when it's more important to satisfy the customer than to have fun just for oneself along the way...but a lot of the best work does reward people on both sides of the creative and commercial process. It is certainly a thing to hope for, and to work to achieve whenever possible.


#402 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Mr. Yeago has emailed me offline with more insults. The one that stood out was "smarmy". As an added bonus, he's going to review my book Hunger Pangs.

What's the emoticon for rolling your eyes? All I can do is wink.

;)

#403 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Teresa, I just wanted you to know that I am having a sordid intense relationship with the phrasing "In short, they're making the not-grown-up-yet wish: I want to stay exactly like I am, and do exactly what I want to do, and have that get me the results I desire." What would be appropriate procurer's compensation?

#404 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:01 AM:

Greg London, 402
Try: 0_o

#405 ::: tamara r. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:25 AM:

CosmicDog,

I stumbled in here to find some sort of explanation of why I might have been removed. Y'all were talking about me here, so I posted a reply. I hope that can be understood.

I was going to leave BB after my third comment. That comment was retracted by the mod. So I stuck around slightly longer trying to be heard. I'm not some vindictive monster... I'm just someone trying to get their voice heard where it is most relevant to the conversation, and where I don't really make the rules.

I'm sorry if I'm out of line to bring my discusion here. But teresa how now given me at least some sort of explanation and that's enough for me to be satisfied.

Teresa,

You've bullet pointed my views pretty fairly. I think they're valid, you think they constitute trollery. It's a difference in opinion that's unlikely to be resolved.

But I guess I've always been taught that trollery is personal attacks, and griping without explanation. Sure, I've been griping. But I thought I was reasonable in my explanations.

As to the spellcheck... I noticed some of the errors too after I sent it off, "hypocracy," lol. But understand, I *am* on a mobile device without integrated spellcheck or easy access to a 3rd party spellcheck. Also understand, I was quite upset when I wrote the message and wasn't at my best. I missed some things.

It's been typical of your tone to pick at something like spelling. That was one of my complaints, as you have read, that the tone isn't the issue, only the viewpoint. My tone probably did get out of line at times, but you and the others matched me blow for blow, yet those posts stand.

It is almost universally accepted that griping over someone's typo, spelling, or grammar is the emptiest and pettiest of flames. And now you've thrown that out there. I hope it doesn't reflect the dialog behind the scenes at BB, because that's a weak defense against what I had charged.

#406 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:31 AM:

I've mainly been skimming this discussion, but can't resist one bad pun (that *isn't* about bread): We're making a mountain out of a troll-hill. Feels more like an ant-hill, though.

#407 ::: Trey ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Amazing, its like watching a recapitulation of the metamorphosis of rpg.net's forums from a free wheeling anything goes place (which was pretty nice and entertaining - until the trolls and wreckers showed up) to the regulated place it is today. To get an idea of the current set up http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=90683

#408 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:40 AM:

tamara r @405:
You've bullet pointed my views pretty fairly. I think they're valid, you think they constitute trollery.

I am not Teresa, but I'd just point out that that is not what she said. She said, "Those responses are all characteristic of this troll." (emphasis added)

You came up with a set of arguments and opinions that made you sound like a particular troll who was active in the thread at the time. It's like if I dressed up in the uniform of a football team and wandered onto a football field, then wondered why everyone assumed I was on the team.

-----
* I hereby promise to pay Xopher a kudo every time I use the term

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:43 AM:

At long last, Faren, have you no shame?

#410 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:43 AM:

f y cn rd ths, y'v bn hngng t n Mkng Lght!

#411 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:50 AM:

Lee 382: I'm with you on Star Trek TOS. I can't stand to watch it. The sexual stereotyping hits you in the face, but add to that the terrible acting, the ham-handed writing, and the cardboard-and-silver-spraypaint sets, and it's really intolerable.

David 396: I was thinking of using Church Latin pronunciation to match the original: "yah-chen-tes."

David 397: In the original, you sing a long melisma on the 'glo' in 'gloria', with a long stressed note at the end (still on 'o'), then you sing the 'i' and 'a'. I would sing the melisma on 'ma', but the long stressed note on 'ter'. Then the 'i' and 'am' match the 'i' and 'a' of the original exactly.

The best filks are assonant with the original text, don't you agree?

Teresa 400: That reminds me of the place most Americans want to vacation: lush vegetation, no rain, low humidity. Such places do exist (unlike totally free but moderation-quality fora), but they're completely artificial and waste important resources in an unconscionable way.

It also reminds me of what Judy Harrow has called the "last house in Staten Island" syndrome: many people in Staten Island certainly thought THEY should have a house, but then they wanted all further development to stop, so they could have their house on the edge of undeveloped land.

A friend of mine was once working the door at a WorldCon art show. Up came Famous Guy, who my friend had heard of but never seen, not displaying his badge. She asked to see it and he lost his temper and became abusive. I don't know whether he just thought his name recognition should translate automatically into face recognition, or whether he just thought badge-checking was for everyone except him, but either way he was being a jerk.

abi 408: I hereby promise to pay Xopher a kudo every time I use the term

The term...? Which term? Or are you just trying to make me shiver with anticip

#412 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:51 AM:

abi @ 408... What are you asterisking back to? And what's the exchange rate for kudos and qwatloos?

#413 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:01 AM:

I think I heard a live troll on the radio this afternoon. You may have heard about the toxic shock over Bindeez? It's a craft toy involving beads which have been found to generate a harmful chemical in stomach acid, and hospitalized a few children. They were recalled and banned from sale in a few Oz States this morning. There was some difficulty about different stores – large or local – not hearing about it, and there being quarrels with customers saying they shouldn't be selling it. (Not helped by it being a public holiday in some areas for Melbourne Cup.)

I don't listen to the "shock jock" and confrontational talkback stations, but someone rang up the local ABC radio in Sydney claiming to be a shopkeeper with Bindeez in stock, and proceeded to very loudly and forcefully deploy "it's the customer's responsibility to look after themselves" and "I have to feed my family" and "I haven't received any official notification" and a few others in a hectoring and contemptuous tone. He really got a rise out of the Radio Guy, and was successful in getting himself cut off because (the radio guy claimed) he started swearing. His voice seemed a bit familiar, and his whole attitude reminded me of one I've heard propagated at different times across my local ABC radio listening. My impression was shared, 'cos RG later on said a number of people had called/emailed/SMS'd to say they thought it was a "prank call".

#414 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:04 AM:

...pation

But seriously.

I deleted the paragraph using the term "jackhole"*, but left the footnote. Oops.

-----
Xopher.kudo++

#415 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Tamara,

I know that you think that picking on spelling is petty, but you need to realize that you are dealing with an Editor. In particular, a well-known and respected Editor. Spelling, grammar, logic...this is their world. If you had done the same amount of research on TNH as you expected her to do of you, you would have seen this. I misspelled Nielsen earlier in the thread and was called on it almost immediately. My response, and what I feel is the most appropriate response, was 'oops', not 'you better have something better than that if you want to go against me'. See the difference.

Now it's time for us, at least for me, to unclench. This discussion is bothering me more than usual. At least it's inspired me to start writing in my own blog again. Apparently, I still have some thoughts and ideas in this pretty little head of mine that want to come out. Who knew?

#416 ::: tamara r. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Abi @ 408 -

The effect is the same. If you see BB's moderation system as overeaching and suggest a community based solution would be a better fit, (a natural argument that makes sense together,) you're labeled one more avatar of some unknown troll. Your comments are deleted as well as the comments of anyone else who agrees with you... because they're obviously also part of some shadowy conspiracy that probably doesn't exist.

The final effect is that all those who disagree are silenced.

I don't care if she thinks I'm my own troll or someone elses. She thinks I'm a troll. She thinks I'm a troll because of my viewpoint, not my tone. Therefore I think that means she thinks the whole viewpoint is trollery.

::shrug::

Oops I commented again. I was supposed to be done. =). Aw well.

#417 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Twinkle, twinkle, asterisk,
How I wonder how I missed
Using you when posting here.
(Shows my carelessness, I fear!)
Twinkle, twinkle, asterisk,
Vanished once again, oh fsk.

                                                                                     *

#418 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:36 AM:

tamara @416:

You're ignoring the time-based element. You posted during an active sockpuppet attack; the puppeteer admitted he* was doing it right here in this very thread. I could wander onto my metaphorical football field at any time when there was no game on and not be mistaken for a player.

It is perfectly possible to see BB's moderation system as overreaching, to prefer Slashdot's system, and to say it on the blog. You might consider doing it when there isn't an active flamewar, and maybe use a more calm, persuasive approach**.

-----
* assumption
** for the avoidance of doubt, that includes not calling any of the people you're trying to persuade a hypocrite. Even in situations when it's true, it's hardly effective.

#419 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Yes, "All My Darling Daughters" is one of the squickier stories I've ever read, particularly in Firewatch where it's collected beside a gee-whiz piece about young motherhood and the cosmic coincidence of the moon's diameter vs. the AU.

Also, even if Teresa didn't say it, I will. Tamara, you are now a troll. Get off of this site, step away from your keyboard, and give your budding tusks a chance to stop aching. Go eat some goat if you think it'll help. I know a good Ethiopian place in SoHo you should try. Just please grow out of the wounded "Who me?" phase of your newfound vice as soon as possible, for the benefit of everyone on tha intranets.

#420 ::: why_bother ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Srr, bt 'm th n wh dmttd t sng mr thn n PC - n t wrk (XP, Mzll, lkl chngng T-nln ddrss) nd th hm n (fxd P). M psts fllw nrml Grmn schdl - gt p rnd -m, g t wrk, thn pst gn frm hm. Ths mks m hydr?

Thgh wh bthr, prt frm wtchng hw mb frms, s bynd m. t s bt s bd s bng t hsng bbbl blg whr th cmmntrs r crtn tht llgls r th rt f ll vl.

nd ntc th clm tht n 'ld' trll ddrss ws bng rctvtd. cmmntd n th frst dlt fst t bng-bng, nd m P ddrss hs vr snc bn n lst, n tht Snt wll nvr rd.

Sm f s gt md t bng slncd, r wtchng thr ppl gt slncd, thgh crtnl grnt th rght f frm's wnrs t d prtt mch s th pls. Whch th d.

Wh bthr? wndr bt tht t, xcpt t s tld y s, xcpt tht lkl, th grcs hsts nd cmmntrs f ths wb st, wh sm t thnk 'm scpth nd sffrng ll srts f psychlgcl prblms bcs kp nsstng tht m m, nd nt sm vst fgmnt f thr mgntn, r lkl t trt t wth s mch grc s th d wth smn wh mrl cmmntd tht pstng dssntng pnns t st smngl dvtd t frdm sms prtt dststfl.

[Posted from 212.86.201.242]

#421 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:56 AM:

abi 414: I did not invent the word! I may have been the first to use it here (I wouldn't vouch for even that), but I found it somewhere else (can't remember where).

It has a W!k!pedia page, unless someone decided it was not notable.

#422 ::: Nikki Jewell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:14 PM:

"Why bother? I wonder about that too, except to say told you so, except that likely, the gracious hosts and commenters of this web site, who seem to think I'm a sociopath and suffering all sorts of psychological problems because I keep insisting that I am me, and not some vast figment of their imagination, are likely to treat it with as much grace as they do with someone who merely commented that posting dissenting opinions at a site seemingly devoted to freedom seems pretty distasteful."

I can't make any sense out of this paragraph at all.

#423 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:14 PM:

troll @ 420

It isn't the multiple IP addresses. It's the multiple usernames that are clearly the same person.
Not to mention the repeated claims of 'I'm innocent and I'm being banned because nobody likes me.' (Banning is, in my experience, the remedy used when nothing else gets through the solid-steel ego-encasement.)

#424 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Shorter Spelling reference:
Tlkn. Mnscl. Gndh. Mllnnm. Dlny. mbrrssmnt. Pblshrs Wkly. ccrrnc. smv. Wrd. Cnnssr. ccmmdt. Hrrchy. Dty. tqtt. Phrh. Trs. ts. Mcdnld. Nlsn Hydn. t's. Flrsphr.

More here:

bzr, bzrr, ccd, prcd, sprsd, brbc, cqnt, ccssry, ncssry, dscct, Cncnnt, ccrrnc, nclt, ccmmdt, rcmmnd, hrssmnt, sprss, mbrrss, crllry, grmmr, hmrrhg, rtllry, bttln, brccl, grrll, rdscnt, bttr, mscllns, mllnnm, vrmln, mllnrn, dlttnt, mnscl, prlllsm, cppll, cmmtmnt, cmmttd, cmmtt, stllt, pnstt, cnslr, clndr, cmtry, strtgm, srcrr, rstrtr, srgnt, prphsy, phrh, cmflg, prnnctn, flrscnt, sd, lgy, psdpd, brcrcy, prphcy, fchs, fd, slhtt, jdhprs, lsn, hrrchy, svrgnty, scrlgs, dty, sv, frz, rcv, sz, sg, wrd

#425 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:18 PM:

why_bother @ #420 has clearly been the victim of Making Light's latest censorship technique. Instead of having all its vowels removed, this post has had its grammar and sentence structure mangled so that the poster's original point is indecipherable.

#426 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:27 PM:

why_bother 420 (apt): You keep posting over and over and over. You're not wanted here. Why are you unable to stop? And yes, I mean you are not ABLE to, that you are following a compulsion that you are too weak-willed to resist.

You haven't said anything new, or even come up with new insults, in your last several posts, or even your last several guises. Do you really enjoy this that much? If you were certain that your rude and obnoxious posts being disemvoweled proved you were right, you'd've been satisfied a while ago. That you are not is just increasing evidence of a serious personality disorder.

And no, you're not a hydra because of the multiple IP addresses. You're a hydra because of the multiple names under which you post, many of which are from different IPs, making it harder to whack all those moles. The hydra of classical myth grew two heads for every one that was chopped off. It thus had multiple identities (heads) but only one personality (monstrous). The analogy to you is obvious.

No, I don't like you. No one here likes you, except other sockpuppets you've created yourself. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is tragic for the person who has it, but worse for the people who are unfortunate enough to interact with them.

Why DO you bother coming here, where everyone hates you? Can't you go among people who love, or at least like, or at any rate are willing to tolerate you? We don't, don't, and aren't.

If you still think you can convince any of us that we're wrong about you, give it up. You're as familiar as a mosquito in Michigan, and just as likely to persuade anyone to your point of view. You used up all the tentative credit given to newcomers here, persisted in being obnoxious after multiple warnings, and keep coming back even though you KNOW that anything that can be identified as coming from you will be disemvoweled, and that NO ONE will care what you have to say now. And that's even if you start being reasonable. It's way too late.

If, instead, you're still trying to prove something to yourself (that is, that we're wrong about you), I can suggest a better method. You've said you have children; go hug one of them and say "I love you." If you can do that, even if you're just going through the motion to make a point, you're a better person than I currently think you are. If you can do it with genuine love in your heart, I'm wrong about you. If your kid hugs you back and says "I love you too," then you must be a completely different person in meatspace than you are online.

But DON'T come back here and tell me about it. I won't believe you anyway, and neither will anyone else.

#427 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Troll is clearly thriving on the negative attention showed upon him.

Why are we continuing to provide it?

#428 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Alex 427: Touché, and good question. While they're two different horses, they're equally dead, and in my last post I was beating mine in the process of berating nevernothing for beating his. I'm no more likely to get through to an incorrigible troll than he is to convince us that he's sane and reasonable and Teresa is just being mean. Or that snow comes up out of the ground like grass.

OTOH, I have to admit that I really enjoyed writing that.

#429 ::: Gabriele Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Bob #375
Looks like the US throws the kids out with the bathwater. I haven't been there so I don't know any details, but in Germany 12 year olds get alcohol too easily. The legal age is 16 for beer and wine, 18 for stronger stuff.

Teresa #399
Wow, you have more patience than I. I simply locked a forum over a weekend when I had no time to deal with a troll invasion. The regular members understood, and the trolls found some other place to play. They have a short attention span when life gets boring. :)

#430 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Gabriele @ #429, I think most of us are endowed with far less patience than Teresa. Or perhaps she's afflicted with far more patience than the rest of us.

#431 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Bill @ 364: What I learned from the best of my art teachers was that art is communication....

What I learned from James Branch Cabell is that art is a game of solitaire.

These are two parts of the same elephant, but the latter is what's under my fingers.

One of the best songwriters I know can only work when he feels he's learned something that people should hear about, and when he feels people are in fact listening. But when I try to write that way, it's a disaster--the way I get good results is to say "hey, I feel like playing in the studio today," or "I wonder what it would sound like if I did this..."

Brian Eno famously writes his lyrics by pacing around the studio singing nonsense syllables over the backing track until something congeals. I don't think he's any better or worse a lyricist than Leonard Cohen, who painstakingly distills hard-won life lessons.

In the end, you have to dance with the muse what brung ya.

#432 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Tim @ 431: Well, that's what I get for over-simplifying. The discussion with that teacher was actually about the use of symbology, and the main point of the lesson was that art (well, visual art in this case) is an expression of an idea you have had; if you don't take common interpretations of symbolic elements into consideration, but use them because they have very specific meanings to you, then you will have to suck it up when other people misunderstand your idea.
That's a bit of a tangent, but it was the moment at which I started thinking of art as not just expression, but communication of expression, and how remembering that you are communicating with other people can play a part in your choices; which isn't really the same thing as saying that you should make art for other people and not yourself.

#433 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Bill 432: ...remembering that you are communicating with other people can play a part in your choices; which isn't really the same thing as saying that you should make art for other people and not yourself.

It can, however, be a difficult distinction to make sometimes. Especially if you make your living by your art, the temptation to "play to the market" can be irresistable, and not necessarily conscious. And if you DO resist it, it can be crushing to watch other artists become successful as you starve in a garret or, worse, live in your parents' basement.

#434 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Wow. First time posting on Making Light, I followed the link in from the BoingBoing "metacommentary" about a troll-hydra bashing Cory.

I moderate a meatspace discussion group - see my url link above - and have been doing so for a few months shy of 6 years (the group turned 6 on the 1st). I am humbled by the patience shown by TNH and her fellow moderators, both here and at BoingBoing. I look forward to "The Book on Comment Moderation" (thanks BSD #319, quoted that from you), I think it'd be a great read. Even if I can't emulate even a quarter of the "troll whispering" techniques hinted at here, it'll likely be at least entertaining.

We have had a troll or two show up to our meatspace group. Usually, if they are of the "my beliefs are sacrosanct and any challenges to the ideas my beliefs are based on will be interpreted as an attack on myself" type, they don't come back after a while. I make it plain that "we have no sacred cows here, any topic is open for discussion" and if they can't handle it, they usually leave. Generally with minimal disruption to the group.

We don't have any hydra or similar (that I know of...) - very difficult to pull that off in meatspace - but there are trolls and there are trolls. We had to engage the host building's (combination public library and gov't center) security policy in one instance. Restraining order. Messy. Not fun. When it gets to the point that other people who have been regular attendees are telling me that they are leaving because the troll is there, and new people are being scared off, the welcome mat has suffered a blowout and is in danger of causing a major derailment. (how's that for mixing metaphors?) 'Tis a fine line, and I'm more patient than some of my fellow moderators... It can be painful to tell someone "no" when they obviously need help...

I don't think I have anything else to add to this discussion - looks like any point I'd make has already been made, and more eloquently to boot.

As for this here Making Light place, looks nice, maybe I'll get a chance to read more from time to time, and occasionally I may have something post-worthy. I like TNH's style - and that she recognized me felt rather interesting. (Found that out via private e-mail exchange where I asked about a thread that had many disemvowellings.) My own internet micro-celebrity moment, as I told my wife: "Honey, I've been noticed by the blogosphere!". Trez cool.

Later,
-cajun
P.S. I engineer are, grammar my strong point ain't. Verbose, I tend to be...

#435 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Tamara #405, if you continue to read this - posting from a mobile device, in the heat of the moment, not only makes it much more likely that there will be embarrassing typos in your post, but that the post itself is entirely ill-conceived. People don't respond well to angry ranting, on the internet or in person. Taking whatever time is necessary - even if it's a week - to get to an actual computer, and think things over, and breathe, is much more likely to lead to people taking you seriously.

(N.B. I post on the internet for a living. I take this sort of discourse quite seriously.)

#436 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:46 PM:

cajunfj40: Welcome. I the squee effect of being noticed is high. My moment of real squee came from Neil Gaiman pointing to something I wrote here.

Greg: I got a piece of e-mail too. I stopped a short way into it. The chummy tone of condscension I got was most off-putting.

Bill(#432): That's one of the best explations of the Comminications Theory aphorism, "The meaning of the message is the message that's received." If the audience can't make out what you meant to say, you; effectively, didn't say it.

#437 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Tim Walters #431: Brian Eno famously writes his lyrics by pacing around the studio singing nonsense syllables over the backing track until something congeals.

What I remember Brian Eno for is that he's the one who composed the Windows 95 Startup sound. I did tier two tech support for one of the Windows 95 launch teams and I still shudder every time I hear that sound (lots and lots of reboots under my belt on that particular operating system). So, of course, I hammered myself just now by firing up WinAmp and listening to that sound over and over again until I couldn't stand it any more. "Congeal" is right; perhaps even "clot"....

#438 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 02:55 PM:

#435

Or the die-rolling method, which was suggested some months back as a method of reducing unthinking-reaction posting. (Use a die of at least 10, and only post if you can roll a 1, or other one-number-of-your-choice.)

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Didn't Eno also do the music for the movie version of A Brief History of Time?

#440 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Regarding the above troll and hydras (hydrae?)... What do you get if a hydra mates with a dragon?

#441 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Something which works for an Australian bookseller?

#442 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:23 PM:

A smeghead?

#443 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:29 PM:

#440: The D&D geek answer is Tiamat.

#444 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:31 PM:

re 408: "You came up with a set of arguments and opinions that made you sound like a particular troll who was active in the thread at the time. It's like if I dressed up in the uniform of a football team and wandered onto a football field, then wondered why everyone assumed I was on the team."

Well, that's a big problem, because there aren't any teams. So what's really happening here is stereotyping.

#445 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:32 PM:

Bill @ 364: "Musicals are like opera except that they make money", to paraphrase Pratchett. (There is, of course, a complete ordering on art as on everything else in our society: how much it costs.)

midori @ 371: As, apparently, one of the few people posting on this whose experience of Reputable Literature wasn't ruined by school (good teachers? math major? YMMV??), I will point out the inverse view: that genre literature is required to facilitate a known story and its expected pleasures; reputable literature is supposed to play better poker, and not tell you what pleasure to expect. Hence the great surprise that Austen and Melville are funny. In literature, you find your own adventure. (All complicated by the greats that started genres.)

Margaret Organ-Kean, #377: I really like your metaphor of blogs-with-monetization as restaurants. Further analogies: most of them lose money; the backrooms are untidy and exhausting. Also, it plays into the ambiguous-systems thing I was thinking of, that a successful pairing of restaurants and customers can often play 'gift economy' all night long (hosts' greetings, favorite table, chef's compliments amuse-bouche), but they aren't really. I imagine the game breaks down unpleasantly sometimes.

Anyone bored or obsessive enough to still be reading; one of the particularly odd things about the fannish outrage against the current troll is that the troll is, to fandom, a lot like fandom is to reputable literature. I don't mean that the troll is right, or fandom wrong, or even that reputable literature is more right than fandom; the goodness-function of this peculiar social variable is anfractuous.

But remember a while ago when a ?linguist? reported that SF fans have speech and body-language patterns wildly unlike, sometimes opposite, those of most other people? To the others, fans send conflicting and often insulting signals, and are convinced they're right, and insist on making their own versions of everything (often on grounds of If This Goes On millenarianism), and are just generally an exhausting confusion of a system that worked well enough. And the general feeling about this, at ML, was of happiness and self-recognition.

So we have a cosy dinner restaurant on a not-quite-gentrified block of L-space, run by surpassingly genial superbly professional hosts; and there's a leering face slobbering on the window. But out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was my reflection against the dark.


#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:37 PM:

441-442-443... A fire hydra, of course.

#447 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Serge @440: What do you get if a hydra mates with a dragon?

A... hydragon? (I don't think I remember how to count up to hydra.) I suppose higher-order hybrids would be hydrahedra and hydratopes....

#448 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:47 PM:

cajunfj40 #434:

Welcome to Making Light!

I find the idea of dealing with meatspace trolls pretty intimidating. Well done you for managing it.

You don't, by any chance, write poetry, do you?

#449 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Serge, I can say this with all sincerity, considering your Canadian heritage.

You, sir, are a hoser. I hope you don't feel the need to flame back at me.

#450 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Serge @440: What do you get if a hydra mates with a dragon?

Hydrogen?

#451 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 03:58 PM:

C. Wingate @444:
Well, that's a big problem, because there aren't any teams. So what's really happening here is stereotyping.

Assuming arguendo that there is a genuine hamper of sock puppets in a thread, acting in a co-ordinated way because they're all the same set of fingers on the keyboard, then yes, there is a distinguishable "team".

Stereotyping* would be the belief that tamara was a separate person, but still a troll. Maybe her actions show that; I'm not convinced, myself. But Teresa's initial belief that she was an assumed identity of our rather verbose guest was not stereotyping.

The litmus test is whether someone could post the set of views that tamara espouses on a thread not packed with sock puppets and still be considered a troll. I suspect that someone who posted a well-thought out and not unpleasant argument in that direction would not be so labeled. (Someone who harrangued and ranted probably would be, but that would be based on tone and not content.)

-----
* It is really, really difficult for me to talk about stereotyping and sock puppets without making some kind of pun about typing comments for two different puppets in stereo.**

** Actually, clearly, it's impossible.

#452 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:03 PM:

@abi#448:
Poetry? Umm, I wrote a short one on a valentine for my wife once... Otherwise, not really.

My vein is technological stuff, I guess one would call it prose. Try this one: Nuclear Parking Brake.

The bit near the end, about the green glow? Yeah, I know that isn't true. Though if you use an unshielded source, and paint the truck with a phosphor-based pigment (like the stuff they used to mix with radium to make watch hands and the like glow green) you can create the effect...

Yah, that has my name in it, but all the other contact info is woefully out of date. And I don't have the trucks anymore. {sniff} :-(

Later,
-cajun

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Abi @ 451... really difficult for me to talk about stereotyping and sock puppets without making some kind of pun about typing comments for two different puppets in stereo

C'mon. You know wanna.

#454 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Abi @ 451... really difficult for me to talk about stereotyping and sock puppets without making some kind of pun about typing comments for two different puppets in stereo

C'mon. You know you wanna.

#455 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Abi... Aren't Pearson's Puppeteers able to sing with two different voices, since they have two heads?

#456 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Serge @455:
Aren't Pearson's Puppeteers able to sing with two different voices, since they have two heads?

I don't know. They keep running away every time I try to get near enough to hear them.

(And if 453 & 454 aren't intentional, they're the most fortuitous double-post EVAR!)

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Tania @ 449... Wise gal, eh?

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Abi... True. Like Sir Robin, they tend to bravely run away. (And the double post was accidental, but it became appropriate, for once.)

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Ursula L @ 450... Hydrogen?

And fiery flatulence? Now, that's a kind of flame war I'd stay away from.

#460 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:28 PM:

abi, the problem with your litmus test is that it is all too obviously susceptible to being based on stereotypes. Identifying trolling requires identification of motive, which is notoriously subjective and frequently self-serving. After twenty years of this, my inevitable conclusion is that true trolls are quite rare. Committed partisans are far more common and are typically labelled trolls when they post in an unfriendly venue-- and this blog is hostile to anyone who doesn't take the correct line on a long list of issues. These people either get banned as dissenters or stomp off on their own; their censoring isn't usually that great a loss because it's really impossible to have discourse with them anyway. People whose views don't fit into the standard pigeonholes or who otherwise aren't committed partisans get accused of being trolls too when their first appearance is on the wrong side of an argument.

Sockpuppetry as a tactic is overstated; the masses of real people with concurrent views are inevitably louder. It's more valuable as a tag to hang on someone in order to dismiss them, since right or wrong it is irrefutable.

Moderation is of course necessary. Those of us who remember back to the pre-internet know that, back when we all had kill files to filter out obnoxious subjects and posters. But just as clearly Lord Acton's statement about absolute power applies.

#461 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Midori, 346:

I've been a fan of Sue Grafton pretty much since the first Kinsey Millhone was published -- perhaps I didn't discover them until she'd reached D, I forget, but all the rest I remember eagerly awaiting as they came out, and I'm having trouble placing "club does data mining" as a plot feature.

Maybe in "O is for Outlaw?" Something about big boxes of stuff in the back rooms of a club?

If this feels like a spoiler to our hosts, please feel free to ROT-13 me. I haven't got all of the novels to hand (one loses some books when households split) and can't just look it up.

#462 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 04:55 PM:

C. Wingate @460: Identifying trolling requires identification of motive, which is notoriously subjective and frequently self-serving.

I dunno whether proof of deliberate motive is nec'ly required (frex, I don't think CRV/PRV was just coldly amusing himself by poking ML with sticks without any real interest in the topics at hand) as long as the effective interaction remains identical: egregious repetition of the same arguments as statements of dogma, seldom acknowledging any merits of logic/evidence from the other side except by rhetorically weaselling out of the way for a moment or two.

These people either get banned as dissenters or stomp off on their own; their censoring isn't usually that great a loss because it's really impossible to have discourse with them anyway.

And I think that's really the key question-- regardless of motive, are they amenable to a true exchange of discourse, or are they mainly fixated on their own unchanging monologues?

#463 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:11 PM:

I'd like to say a little bit about the HP7 thread, if I may. I was pretty active in and involved with that thread, and what happened there is a picture perfect example of the discussion/argument and normal person/troll barrier. So much of what happened there is in those shades of grey.

The thread started with a lot of praise and some discussion, with a thread of dissent running through it. The dissent itself wasn't the problem; the irritant in that discussion, the thing that pushed it toward the unpleasant side of argument, was that some people were giving the impression that their likes equaled a superior value judgment... that one kind of story was more mature or more 'real' than another.

If someone had simply said "I'm not a huge fan of the Harry Potter books," that would have attracted little comment. If someone had said "I'm not a huge fan of the Harry Potter books because the writing is amateurish" you likely would have gotten a good amount of support on either side... people saying they liked the books despite the writing, some saying they disliked the books for the same reason, some saying they found nothing wrong with the writing (I say this because I've seen it happen before in threads where a book/movie is discussed, and HP books specifically).

But the problem was when someone said "I don't like the Harry Potter books because they use Plot Device A and that is [something perjorative... silly, illogical, immature, what have you].

That's when people started to be turned off. Now during the discussion of this point, some explanations were offered and eventually people agreed to disagree and all was civil again. I'd like to make something clear though, as this example is especially illustrative:

What you like or dislike is not rude in most cases. Implying that a dissenting opinion is a sign of greater logic/intelligence/ethics/toughness... that's what gets people angry.

It's an easy road to go down... hell the ML community as a whole has had some fun with our communal distaste for and mockery of the DaVinci Code. However if you read those threads, you'll notice something very specific: when someone does comment in them that they actually don't understand why the DaVinci code is so hated, they read it as a popcorn book in three hours one day, no one responds by mocking that person.

Basically you have to realize that while noticing, thinking, or believing something may make you feel smart and superior, that doesn't mean people who don't feel the same are inferior or stupid.

Sometimes a normal, usually humble person gives that sort of impression accidentally, and people turn on them. I think that's what happened in the old HP7 thread... a lot of people originally thought the dissenter was condescending, and thus responded in attack mode. The thread devolved for a while because of this conflict, but it wasn't because of the disagreement. It was because people felt the dissenter was saying they were wrong/foolish for liking things they liked.

That's what trolls DO. Professionally. They try to make you feel guilty or wrong or bad. And if you let them do that, they've won.

They try to make others feel bad for not sharing every little opinion of theirs. They never listen, they never concede, they never truly respond. Sometimes there is carnage when someone who is well meaning and humble most of the time accidentally makes people feel that s/he is putting them down because of their opinions, and people will lash out like wild beasts. Hopefully some troll whisperer comes in, tells the confused normal person what they did wrong, and all is mended with compromise and daisies.

That's the difference between a real troll and a normal person who is too passionate or having a bad day. A normal person will say "oh hey. I guess I might have implied that stuff. Sorry, let me rephrase." Or a normal person will back off.

A troll will just keep posting the same opinion, over and over again. They don't want to understand. All they want is to make anyone who doesn't share their opinion feel wrong and stupid and evil.

#464 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Midori@366 - Thank you. Of course. I keep forgetting all those shows have been on US television. Although I'm not sure we can blame it on The Vicar Of Dibley. It just seems strange to see the word used in phrases like `thou wanker wind' or `fandom wank.' Good point about foreign swearwords seeming less threatening; I hadn't thought of it like that.

#465 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:12 PM:

#460: Hmm... people disagreeing with each other amicably is typical enough here, that those rare cases when someone stomps off or gets disemvowelled stand out. Disemvowelling tends to happen when someone has been rude. Stomping off tends to happen when someone figures out that merely repeating an argument over and over again doesn't actually net the argument any traction. Merely asserting something over and over again doesn't suddenly make it true.

#466 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Serge #440: I dunno, but I think that if you mated a hydra with an angel you'd get a hydrangea.

#467 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Fragano... And a hydra with a camel, hydromel?

#468 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:34 PM:

abi, the problem with your litmus test is that it is all too obviously susceptible to being based on stereotypes.

I'm not abi *or* Teresa, and both of them can look after themselves, but I think you are missing the context here. (It may help to re-read Teresa's post at #399.) Teresa was in the middle of dealing with a known attack by a known troll who was known to be using sock puppets. Tamara walked into the middle of this and happened (entirely innocently) to use arguments characteristic of this known troll - so Teresa temporarily banned her as well as a kind of quarantine measure. Once it was clear what had happened she restored Tamara's rights and explained the situation. All a bit unfortunate, but I don't think really evidence of intolerance or malice.

Nobody (as far as I can see) is advocating that trolls should generally be recognised by their particular views. On the other hand, trolling is a form of behaviour, and so there is no way to recognise a troll except by their habit of engaging in unacceptable behaviour. Admittedly this can sometimes lead to intemperate accusations of trolling against the well-meaning. Just as often - here at least - it seems to me to result in surprisingly patient invitations to obvious trolls to join in the debate. And admittedly there is the occasional dogpile.

Social life is difficult, even on the internet. It tends to need patience and goodwill all round. And inevitably we don't always get it. That can lead to unsatisfactory exchanges, and can even extend to whole threads. But sometimes my conversations in the real world go wrong too. Sometimes it's even my fault. (But very rarely, obviously, me being so extremely well-adjusted.)

Mind you, I don't know where you are going with the Acton. Discretionary powers in a very limited field (ie. comment moderation) are hardly likely to corrupt, and, even if they do, the worst that can happen is that people stop posting. It's hardly a threat to civilisation.

#469 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Serge #459: And fiery flatulence? Now, that's a kind of flame war I'd stay away from.

Behold the bonacon, a bull-like heraldic monster with horns that curve inward, making them not particularly useful for defense. To compensate, the bonacon ejects either flaming excrement or flaming and/or noxious gas from it's hinder regions (accounts vary). This feature was first descrined by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.

#470 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:39 PM:

re 462: And I think that's really the key question-- regardless of motive, are they amenable to a true exchange of discourse, or are they mainly fixated on their own unchanging monologues?

Well, the reciprocal question is, how much are we fixated on our own unchanging monologues? The temptation when faced with an opposing statement is to categorize it as something already known and simply repeat back at it the Standard Argument. And more subtly, one is likely to harbor others who agree with one, but who are not amenable to rational discussion either. Suppressing one's own dittoheads is quite a bit harder, because the tactic of simply driving them off through obstinancy isn't available; it's their obstinancy that powers chasing the opposing hardheads off.

#471 ::: vito excalibur ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Identifying trolling requires identification of motive, which is notoriously subjective and frequently self-serving.

That's simply not true. Trolling is a behavior; whether it's caused by the desire to piss people off, a mental disorder, or a bet the commenter lost, is not only unknowable but irrelevant. The question isn't whether you're being an asshole in your own mind, you know. The question is whether you're being an asshole in your outside voice.

#472 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Tracie @ 469... bonacon ejects either flaming excrement

"Pliny, man, this stuff is hot sh*t!"

#473 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:41 PM:

C Wingate @460:
abi, the problem with your litmus test is that it is all too obviously susceptible to being based on stereotypes. Identifying trolling requires identification of motive, which is notoriously subjective and frequently self-serving.

For my part, I would disagree. It doesn't really matter what someone's motives are. If they post things that weary the spirit to read, if they call other people names and argue points into the ground, if they generate more heat than light, then I tend to look at them askance. If they continue to do so when it is pointed out that they're behaving poorly, then I reckon that they're trolling.

But I also think trolling is something people do, not something they are, as a rule.* The same person can foam at the mouth and go all irrational on one subject, and be perfectly pleasing on another.

this blog is hostile to anyone who doesn't take the correct line on a long list of issues. These people either get banned as dissenters or stomp off on their own; their censoring isn't usually that great a loss because it's really impossible to have discourse with them anyway.

Agreed. One way to avoid that and still enjoy the community is simply not to post in certain threads. There are areas I venture into with great caution, if at all.

People whose views don't fit into the standard pigeonholes or who otherwise aren't committed partisans get accused of being trolls too when their first appearance is on the wrong side of an argument.

I've been really trying to get people to stop doing that, but I'm just a backseat moderator. I often think that, in online communities, the best thing to do is start bland and get interesting later**. But not everyone is of a character to do that†.

Sockpuppetry as a tactic is overstated; the masses of real people with concurrent views are inevitably louder. It's more valuable as a tag to hang on someone in order to dismiss them, since right or wrong it is irrefutable.

I was under the impression Teresa had a reason to use the tag. And our friend with the names like Raven quotes was certainly very open about socking here, there and everywhere.

- o0o -

I would point out that no matter what I think about moderation, of course, this is not my blog. My blog doesn't have the kind of interesting and strange community that Making Light does, for whatever reason. So I don't really have the long experience as a moderator to back up my hopelessly naive and hideously Polyanna-ish views.

-----
* I have less patience for sock puppeting, because I think the matter of identity online is tenuous enough.
** My first comment here was about Culture Club. There was nothing to do from that but improve.
† By which I mean that not everyone starts bland. Very few people aren't interesting, in the right context.

#474 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:48 PM:

re 468: Comment moderation is limited in scope but absolute in power. That's one of the motivating forces behind sockpuppetry: people who feel that they have been unreasonably censored and feel that they must speak out simply have no other tactic available to them.

I haven't read the whole thread (and it seems unedifying to do so), but I had the gist of the situation in hand. Perhaps you underestimate the frustration involved. Tamara, (apparently) innocent, found her words here entirely at the mercy of Teresa, who could say more or less anything she wanted against Tamara without significant risk of penalty. It's not the sort of situation that inspires calm delliberation, on either part.

#475 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Serge #467: Quite possibly.

#476 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Fragano 466: A hydra mated with an electric eel from Hell would be a hydroelectric dam(n)?

#477 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Teresa, you said here

"13. If someone you’ve disemvowelled comes back and behaves, forgive and forget their earlier gaffes. You’re acting in the service of civility, not abstract justice."

Anyway, I am merely responding to questions about my USPS Zip database argument to an fellow-interested techie.

If someone reads this before the vowels are gone, could you please tell Midori I am attempting to answer his questions (since my comments have no vowels, I'm effectively censored as he's not catching that I am referring to him. I'd email him directly, but he's using a bunk email).

#478 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Yeago, there are only a limited number of times that forgiving and forgetting is appropriate. Besides, you're not "behaving." Here is what 477 would look like if you were behaving:

Midori, please email me (or contact me through my website) regarding my USPS ZIP database. I tried to email you about it but the address you give does not work.
See the difference? If you could stop snarking about your earlier disemvowelments in each post, Miss Teresa MIGHT be more tolerant. However, I'm not Miss Teresa, and she might just be too exasperated with you to allow you to post anything here (see above re the limits of patience after repeated infractions).

At any rate, I feel confident that the current comment (mine) will keep its vowels, so your message (minus the offensive part) will be read if Midori looks at this part of the thread.

People will do all sorts of things for you if you ask nicely.

#479 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:19 PM:

I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but Tamara was not the only innocent bystander to get wacked in that thread. TKNO, a vibrant enthusiast of BB for 4 years, was also banned in the same melee.

I don't think anyone is objecting to the mistakes that Teressa made in her moderation so much as how she dealt with the complaints afterwards. Innocent people were shouted down, stereotyped, deleted, and ignored.

When you read the pruned thread now you might get the impression that indeed there were several sock puppets who all sounded the same and were causing problems... Though, if one were to look at a pristine version of the thread they would see that the deleted posts were clearly from many different people with different writing styles and voices.

The appearance, if not the actual fact, is that those posts were deleted to cover up the mistake that was made. Since all of those who were deleted were dissenting voices, many of them civil, one has to question the motives of the moderator in this instance.

#480 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Xopher. Excellent advice. I'm sorry you missed my trying that =)

#481 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:31 PM:

C.Wingate: I think your arguments have a number of problems that all stem from faulty definitions.

Others have disagreed with your argument that motive is required for "true" trollery. I don't think that sockpuppetry stems from a desire to avoid some sort of ban or censorship. The classic Mary Rosh and sprezzatura case studies are a strong argument

If you're trying to evade a ban to complain about the unfairness of that ban, sockpuppetry (pretending to multiple identities to create support for your position) is precisely what you aren't doing.

Finally, anyone who believes that comment moderation is absolute in power needs to embiggen themselves and embrace the larger Internet. Sadly, No does an excellent job mocking right-wing lunacy without being allowed to comment on the sites they're commenting on.

#482 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Charlie, how come you take my sage advice of dropping this whole scandal via private email, and then you come back here and feed it more? What end are you still grasping for?

#483 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Gah, previewing works better if you read the whole preview.

Above should read: The classic Mary Rosh and sprezzatura case studies are a strong argument that sockpuppetry is not about evading censorship, but about faking third-party support.

#484 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:33 PM:

I think that if you mated a hydra with an angel you'd get a hydrangea.

...in front of which you must not blink.

A lot.

--

Yeago,

I can't see any reason why your just-a-moment-ago post, being benign and engaging in conversation, should be disemvowelled, unless the moderators know something about your IP that I don't know.

In any case, what's in your zip code database? I mean, zip codes and what - cities? Counties/parishes? or does it get even more granular than that? (I have occasion at work to have to look up counties by zip code. Since the need arises one at a time, I typically use the USPS.gov site's zip code look up and then click for the "Mailing Industry Information" pop-up.)

#485 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Yeago @480: Ouch. I see your point.

#486 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:37 PM:

I don't know what's in my USPS database, except that Midori wanted to know some things about it.

But--like Hunter S. Thompson--I am having trouble properly explaining myself in this climate.

#487 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Wow, Yeago, I just looked at your website to see if you had a contact email address there...it made me regret helping you. The idea that someone should have to allow text like Kristen's on their own blog is absurd. It's not just a pan of Cory's story (which I have not read) but an attack on Cory himself.

If you, in your own living room, say "Xopher is a faggot and fags burn in Hell," and someone tried to silence you or fine you or (gods forbid) imprison you, I would object most strenuously: you have a perfect right to such speech, at home or even in the public square.

If, however, you were standing in MY living room when you said that, I would throw you out at once, and you would never be welcome in my home again. And I would have a perfect right to do so: I alone decide the criteria for who is allowed to visit my home.

As a matter of fact, if I knew you were saying things like that about me in YOUR home, I wouldn't invite you to mine, and if a guest of mine brought you there I would ask you to leave.

The problem with people like you and Kristen is that you think the comments you make on someone else's blog are in your space, or the public square. They are not. They are the blog owner's (or in the case of bOING bOING owners') space, and insulting them there will quite properly get you kicked out.

Again, I defend Kristen's right to post her screed on her own blog, and yours to quote her on your website. I think you're both jerks, but jerks have rights too.

#488 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Xopher. You don't even understand what you've read and I'm going to send you twenty dollars in the mail if you've read all of the authors which Kristen references in that critique.

I'm sorry its terrifying, but its not some hateful, ignorant screed. nywy, I mght s wll sv trs th wrk.

#489 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:45 PM:

re 468: Comment moderation is limited in scope but absolute in power.

Well yes, but the same is true of, say, my power to refuse someone entry to my home, or a bouncer's power to refuse someone entry to a club. This was the point of some of the analogies upthread, I thought. The power may be absolute but the limitations in scope *really matter*. I have absolute power when it comes to what TV channels I watch in the evening. I don't think Lord Acton is quaking in his grave. Well, apart from the obvious reasons why not.

Perhaps you underestimate the frustration involved.

Fair enough. Probably I do. I don't really get the frustration at not being allowed to make my own announcements in someone else's space. Teresa can say what she likes about me and ban me from replying here, if she wants. But then, I can complain about Teresa to my friends in public and not invite her to reply - and there's not a thing she can do about it.

No doubt that *is* frustrating. No doubt also:

It's not the sort of situation that inspires calm deliberation, on either part.

I agree. This all seems like a misunderstanding based on innocents getting caught up in an actual flamewar. I have no reason to doubt that Tamara is genuine, and Teresa explicitly accepted as much @399. Maybe it looked like dissent was being suppressed. Maybe that impression was mistaken. Accusations of hypocrisy or abuse of power aren't helping. I hold out some hope for polite debate.

Meanwhile, refusing or deleting or (still less) disemvowelling a comment doesn't seem to me to amount to censorship. We've had that discussion on the blog before: there may be limits to free speech, as when it comes to your right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. And actually, you may still have that right, but it's not unreasonable if the owners throw you out. Indeed, the idea that it's "censorship" if people won't listen to you - and I don't mean you personally here, but the phenomenon in general - seems pretty closely related to the original point of this thread. Maybe it would in fact be edifying to read the whole thing?

#490 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Out of four paragraphs, I see two sentences about the actual story. The rest is about Cory himself. I don't have a dog in this fight (other than a keen interest in the phenomenon of people being assholes on the internet) but, as a review of a piece of writing, that quoted bit is completely useless to me.

(Xopher #487, I wouldn't compare it to gay-bashing exactly, it's just... pointless and unpleasant.)

#491 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Ah, Xopher makes a similar point with almost exactly the same analogy. Groupthink indeed.

Also, I suspect Yeago just lost twenty dollars.

#492 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:01 PM:

If only Yeago made that $20 offer to everyone here, not just Xopher, he'd be broke.

For anyone who doesn't want to read the screed, here's the list of authors which Yeago apparently thinks is obscure or wide enough enough that it's unlikely Xopher has read all of them:

Frank Herbert
Isaac Asimov
Larry Niven
Orson Scott Card
William Gibson
Neil(sic) Stephenson

Yeago, among this crowd I am just an egg. I'm not really a Fan -- I've been to just two cons my whole lifek for instance. And aside from Stephenson, I'd read all of those authors 20 years ago, when I was 15. Stephenson I didn't discover until around 1997 (and yes, I kicked myself for having wasted 5 years when I could have read _Snow Crash_).

#493 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Yeago, I have read Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, and Orson Scott Card.

Herbert wrote one really good book, which was overrated (good, but not that good) because he took advantage of Americans' ignorance of Arabic culture to make it look like he'd created something new and fascinating. Even allowing for that, it's a damn good story, but it's his only one.

I read all his older stuff right after Dune, and it's all trash with titles like The Green Brain. I kept reading the Dune books for a while, but found Children of Dune so tedious that I gave up after that.

Asimov is a good storyteller, a good worldbuilder, and a very funny humorist, but too often I find his prose style (in his fiction only) clunky. His Treasury of Humor is a textbook-quality treatise on what makes jokes funny, as well as a pretty good collection of jokes; I read it cover-to-cover when I was a teenager.

Niven can spin a good yarn, and is really good at Thinking Big (and I don't just mean the enormous size of the Ringworld etc., but the size of his concepts), but his hammering away at a Libertarian/Survivalist/Social Darwinist polemic saps all the enjoyment from his work, at least for me. Once he started writing with Jerry Pournelle his work degenerated into foaming-at-the-mouth xenophobic tripe.

Card...well, speaking of homophobic jackholes...he really enjoys having homosexual characters kill themselves because they just feel so dirty. There's an example of the kind of guy who wouldn't be welcome in my home because of things he had a perfect right to say elsewhere.

You owe me $20. However, you're off the hook, because I am not at all inclined to give you my mailing address.

But you don't understand me at all, if you think it was Kristen's OPINION I was objecting to. She has a perfect right to her opinion. To post it in Cory's blog comments was rude, intrusive, and arrogant; only someone who was trying to pick a fight (i.e. a troll) would do so. Note I am not going to post my comments above at Niven's or Card's sites, if they have them, or even at sites whose owners are big fans of theirs.

#494 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:07 PM:

I would be quite startled to find out Xopher hasn't read Herbert, Asimov, Niven, Card, Stephenson or Gibson. I'm pretty sure, also, that I remember him complaining about three of them at various times.

#495 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:09 PM:

Xopher #476: Either that or a hot dam(n).

#496 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:09 PM:

Oh, I missed:

Gibson -- I have read AND enjoyed everything I could find by Gibson. Idoru wasn't so fascinating, but in Neuromancer there are some sentences that quite took my breath away, and I went around reading them aloud to anyone who would listen.

Stephenson -- here's where I'll get into trouble with some fluorospherans. I read Snow Crash and frankly I'm disinclined to read anything further by this writer, whose ignorant prejudice against "primitive" religion in that book quite turned my stomach. I love his jerky main character, though. Hiro Protagonist, indeed!

There. NOW you owe me $20.

#497 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Jeremy 490: Oh dear. I didn't intend that comparison. I was just looking for a brief example of speech that would make me throw someone out of my house without pausing for even a moment. It's the level of personal offense I was talking about.

Besides...even if someone said that about me, that's not gay bashing. I've been gay bashed. Words can hurt, but not as bad as actual violence; trust me on this.

#498 ::: Chuck Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:18 PM:

-delurks-

for what it's worth, Kristen, who Yeago quotes on his blog is also The Rev. Farrah Frocket on Stumble upon, who says Yeago is "My personal friend and roommate". So multiple posters with the same ip address = multiple posters?

-relurks-

#499 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Xopher #497, understood. It just read sort of funny - "Cory Doctorow is not a very good writer" and "fags will burn in hell" just don't equate - probably not even in Cory's mind :P

#500 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Meh. I went to Yeago's site after reading your post, Xopher, and I didn't find it all that offensive. Yeago quoted an unfavorable review of Cory's story and indulged in the usual misconception of how moderation works at BoingBoing. Kristin's original was more explicitly insulting, but calling Cory a twit doesn't exactly rise to the level of your gay-bashing analogy, does it?

BUT - I can totally see that anyone trying to spread the meme "ZOMG these moderators can't handle dissent they SUCK!" needs to be handled with care. Many people will inexplicably believe such claims over the evidence of their own eyes if the claims are made passionately enough. I recall Teresa telling me something like that when this very meme was described: "If the troll gathers disciples who will echo this claim after you ban the troll, you waited too long to ban the troll," was the gist of what she said. Soooo.... if Yeago tried to post that post to BB in its entirety, with all the assertions of censorship and Can't Handle Dissent included, and it got disemvowelled, I can totally understand why.

I do agree that Yeago owes Xopher $20. At least, I do assume so, based on Xopher's comments over the last few years.

What I did find offensive, or at least annoying, was Nutkin over at BoingBoing (I finally followed the whole dang thing full circle and tried to read some of the disemvowelled posts) saying something like, "If I wanted to read about Cory's career, I'd read his blog." No shit, Sherlock! What do you think BoingBoing is? (In part, anyway; it's also Xeni's blog and so forth.) Where the heck does Nutkin or anyone get off on lecturing the bloggers on what the point of BoingBoing is? I'd think BoingBoing's authors are the ones who get to define the point of BoingBoing.

Yeah. Fannish entitlement sounds like the right description.

Maybe part of the problem are oldtime readers of BoingBoing-the-magazine, expecting BoingBoing-the-blog to be exactly like the magazine except online? They don't realize it is a blog? Could that be it?

#501 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Annnnnd while I composed that thoughtful dissenting view (ish), several posts slipped through, making it redundant. Hail redundancy!

I do not agree that it is always rude and inappropriate to post a negative opinion of a book in the author's blog's comment's threads; but I do agree that the circumstances under which it would be appropriate are very circumscribed, and it would take a very circumspect commenter to manage it without looking like a total dick.

Have a circumlocuted enough today? ;-)

#502 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:29 PM:

Is it just me, or is Yeago's transformation of collective annoyance to "terror" almost more annoying than everything that preceded it?

#503 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Bill: it's not just you.

#504 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Xopher, surely there is some charity that Yeago ("but he doesn't go!") can donate the $20 to on your behalf?

Speaking as someone who's also read the terribly obscure Yeago Six, if you were interested you might try Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and Stephenson's Zodiac. Life is too short to read things that don't work for you, so it's your call.

#505 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:44 PM:

I dunno, I think I'd start Stephenson at Cryptonomicon, when he finally figured out endings. Loved everything preceding it, just generally not the last ten pages of each.
That said, Snowcrash tickles me so much that I forgive it the ending.

#506 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Fungi, my objection to Herbert was that he was boring, so I might try GEOD at that. But my objection to Stephenson is that he's a bigot. That's harder to fix, even if the target of his bigotry doesn't surface in the book you mention.

#507 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:52 PM:

Xopher, are you including Hellstrom's Hive, Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment in your assessment of Frank Herbert's writing? Because I might be forced to disagree a little, if so (I like them better than Dune).

#508 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:56 PM:

#377 Margaret Organ-Kean
I'm wondering if we've been using the wrong analogy for blogs such as Making Light.

I think they may be more like restaurants or bars than living rooms, in that anyone can wander in, and anything you say may be overheard by complete strangers.

Well, I have described Making Light as my favorite on-line watering hole.

For a while now, I've thought the whole web experience is like living in a small-ish city or a large-ish town. There are the Store Fronts (sites selling stuff), The Schools (how-to sites), City Hall (political bloggers), Eateries and Watering Holes (popular blogs that function as a place to gather and talk about whatever crosses the collective mind) and so on all the way down to Private Homes (blogs with limited readers and/or no active comments where the posts are "All About Me" instead of "Hey! Look at what So-and-So did!" ).

#509 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 07:57 PM:

C. Wingate @470: Well, the reciprocal question is, how much are we fixated on our own unchanging monologues?

Mmm. It is unfortunately common for arguments to end up being irreconcilable because of clashing moral axioms, or at least something which one side considers to be a moral axiom but which the other considers to be a question open to proof or disproof.

In this case, I suppose the disputed principle is whether the disruptive nature of protean sockpuppeting is sufficient to justify a broad sweep of potential socks and the sweep's effect on initially misidentified non-socks. Or something.

And more subtly, one is likely to harbor others who agree with one, but who are not amenable to rational discussion either.

True, but would you consider them to be somewhat mitigated by the presence/leadership of rational debaters whom they may be dittoing?

#510 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Xopher - I can't argue with that, and I've similar reactions myself.

#511 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:11 PM:

#381 JESR
Margaret Organ-Kean @377, in many ways it doesn't matter if one is at a private party or in public: as long as one is in company, there are expectations of consideration and, for want of a better word, modesty- or at least being open to discovering that others have better skills than oneself.

There are just as many rules guiding how one should behave in the metaphorical Watering Hole as there is in a Private Home. Some are the same, some are different, but their ultimate goals are identical. "Mind your manners, and don't be rude or start fights."

#512 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:15 PM:

#506 Xopher: You mean "CARD is a bigot", right? I've never heard anything like that about Neal Stephenson-- the homosexual characters in Cryptonomicon, at least, are decent folks, and don't die any more often than the rest of the WWII-era people.

#513 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:24 PM:

I can see Xopher's point about bigotry in Stephenson's work. I found all of the ancient history bits quite interesting and never felt that he was talking down to ancient religion - quite the opposite - but I concede that viewpoints might differ.
The Baroque Cycle is definitely worth a shot if you ever feel like giving him a second chance.

#514 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:38 PM:

#405 tamara r.
It's been typical of your tone to pick at something like spelling. That was one of my complaints, as you have read, that the tone isn't the issue, only the viewpoint. ... It is almost universally accepted that griping over someone's typo, spelling, or grammar is the emptiest and pettiest of flames.

Tamara, you're arguing with a woman who edits books for a living. Then you do this on a blog for professional writers and editors. Telling her she's being a troll because she adheres to known standards is like wearing cut-offs and a T-shirt to a fancy party and then wondering why no one wants to let you in the door.

My mother has a phrase for things like this. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

#515 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Julie L @ 209... the disruptive nature of protean sockpuppeting

Tonight, "Sockpuppets in mythology". Chapter One: Achilles.

#516 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:56 PM:

#513 ::: Bill suggested:
The Baroque Cycle is definitely worth a shot if you ever feel like giving him a second chance.

I'm afraid that I fall into the category of people who find the Baroque Cycle aptly named - and not in a complimentary way. Over ornamented excess, even. Stephenson's strength, IMNSHO is as a light, entertaining read. 'Cryptonomicon', and the rest of the "surely you must be being paid by the word, but you, sir, are no Dickens" volumes are sluggish and meandering, and don't play at all to Stephenon's strengths.

Of his earlier works, I'd have to say that my favourite remains 'Diamond Age' - and I've generally observed that people seem to have a strong preference for either 'Diamond Age' or 'Zodiac' - 'Snow Crash' oddly enough doesn't seem to evoke nearly the same strength of reaction.

#517 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Yeago, not only have I read the work of five of the six writers on your list (not Stephenson; I tried Snow Crash, didn't enjoy it) I've met all five of them. Had a few drinks with several of them. Severely argued with one. (Yes, I know two of them are dead. I've been around for awhile.) And the above gets me absolutely NO points on Making Light, any more than your having read them does. Many of the people who read and post here are sf readers, and they read a lot of other books, too. Some of them write sf. Or poetry. It spices up the conversation, that's all.

#518 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Xopher: We disagree on Niven, if I happen to post on Larry's work, feel free to come and dispute.

As for Stephenson, I don't see the bigotry (and yes, I know it's not about gays, but rather religions). I like his plotting (though his exposition is sometimes tedious, and smack of talking down to the reader). What I don't care for (and Snowcrash did it, in spades(is the weak endings).

I thought that book violated the genre standards for mystery, because I don't think the solution is something the reader (outside a very narrow subset of the population) can deduce.

Oh, and Yeago... I've read them all too.

#519 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:28 PM:

Lizzy: I've not met Gibson, nor did I get the chance to meet Herbert.

I think the only points I might get have to do with his thinking I ought to have been drowned at 13, because at 17, when he was being more obnoxious than usual, I gave him no more respect than his age deserved.

On the plus side, for Jerry; though it's small plus, he gave me the best advice I got, before I went to basic.

But yeah, to come in here and say, "You aren't widely read enough to have a real opinion on X" where the genre is SF... well that's just foolish.

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Last year, at LAcon, I found myself going down an elevator and the only other passenger, one Joe Haldeman, started a conversation with me about the difficulty of finding places to eat around the convention center. Does that make me extra qualified to talk about science-fiction? Or about food?

#521 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 09:56 PM:

er, Pournelle, that's the one who wanted to drown me, and then gave me good advice.

#522 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Bill @ 432: if you don't take common interpretations of symbolic elements into consideration, but use them because they have very specific meanings to you, then you will have to suck it up when other people misunderstand your idea.

Can't argue with that. In fact, I'd go further and say that you pretty much always have to suck it up when other people misunderstand your idea, no matter how clear you've tried to make it.

I've had the liberating experience of seeing people walk out of shows that were far better than any I'm ever likely to give. It really helped with that whole Pastor Niebuhr thing.

Earl Cooley III @ 437: What I remember Brian Eno for is that he's the one who composed the Windows 95 Startup sound.

That's understandable, as his musical profile has been quite low for a while, but unfortunate, as his Seventies albums were brilliant and hugely influential. Check him out.

Xopher @ 493, 496: It's a good thing Kristen didn't mention Michael Moorcock...

#523 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:01 PM:

A locally famous author once put his hand on my ass at a book launch party; do I get to talk authoritatively about anything?

#524 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Isn't Stephenson also the author of In the Beginning was the Command Line?

(If so, I've read at least some work of each of those six. Card and Stephenson don't exactly work for me, either. YMMV, etc.)

#525 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:24 PM:

#523 Bill: A locally famous author once put his hand on my ass at a book launch party; do I get to talk authoritatively about anything?

I should think that depends. How nice is your ass?

#526 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:26 PM:

JESR 507: I'm not sure I read those, actually (belying my earlier statement that I read every pre-Dune Herbert book...I guess it's only the ones I could find at the time). I think I may have read The Dosadi Experiment, but if I did it didn't make an impression on me.

You know, I have a young friend who agrees with FungiFromYuggoth 504 that I should read the later Dune books. Says they get better. I shall take it under advisement that I may have given up on Herbert too easily.

mjfgates 512: Others have explained, but it's Stephenson's discussion about how (IIRC) people who practiced ancient religions did so because their brains just weren't developed enough that frosted me off him. While I'm glad to know he's not also homophobic (per your account), there are different prejudices. There are Wiccans who believe that homosexuals cannot be initiated, that the rituals simply will not work. There certainly are gay people who think Wiccans are just weird.

Tim 522: Hmm. Have I ranted about Moorcock to you before? I suspect I may have. All I'll say right now is that if his name had been Mostcock, he probably would have been a better writer...less to prove.

Bill 523: Absolutely. You get to talk authoritatively about what it's like to have a locally famous author put his hand on your ass!

#527 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Michael 525: DAMN you anyway! I was thinking of saying something very much along those lines and then thought better of it.

Not better enough, apparently. :-)

#528 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:37 PM:

Don Wollheim made a bad pun at my birthday party during 1984's LAcon. Does that make me qualified to commit puns?

#529 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Michael @525 (with Xopher @527 as an accessory after the fact): "I should think that depends. How nice is your ass?"

At the time? Small but spectacular.
He had to stoop to reach it so I'd hope it was worth the trip.

#530 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:47 PM:

For fun I'm going to dig up a quote that *I* wrote about Doctorow on the list, just to show everyone why I consider Kristen's comments to be thoughtful and balanced and worth sharing (which the below is neither).

"Yeah, that whole [plot about curing 'sleep toxiins'] was more or less a mod-podging of Slashdot topics--'whoaa coool!!!' and '....what if one day x could do y....?'. speculative and naive techie-anecdotes (what is the constant obsession with finding a 'cure' for 'sleep toxins'?).

Forgive me for a moment for my weekly channelling of L. Mumford in despondency over analogies between organic and mechanical systems. Rar...the human body is just this goddamn thing that's coded all wrong, rarr.

And yet it was published as late as 2002 and so for the most part it, with its constant references to caffeine, blood-sugar, l33tspeak, government cyber-intrigue, sub-laymen technical explanations in the vein of N.S.... it couldn't be a more derived pander-piece."

#531 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:51 PM:

I so enjoy watching this community at work.

Leah Miller @ #463

I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I'm having trouble applying it to that particular conversation. I probably annoyed the hell out of everyone in that thread (and I'm sorry about that) but my motivation wasn't so much about the tone of the comments as it was about the fact that the person making the comments was right up front that he hadn't read the books he was criticizing and wasn't willing to commit to reading them in the future.

#532 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 10:52 PM:

Xopher, you only named 4/6. I'm guessing you didn't notice Gibson and Stephenson a few lines down.

At any rate, it is an understandable litmus test to anyone who dismisses it as a big long inflammatory hate-message. At the very least I expect you to be as well read. That you are. You win this time, gadget.

I don't have to send your $20 bucks to you. Perhaps you can come up with some random address?

#533 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:01 PM:

Xopher: I read that as a comment on the arc of development and decided it was a plot point.

I don't think the expressions of characters ought to be seen as the opinion of the author. If it trends across a lot of books, which are ostensibly different (which is how I read card, 20 years ago, when I gave up on him), then yes.

But as a single speaker (or plot point) I'll give it a bye.

#534 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:02 PM:

Yeago, I didn't read down far enough at first. There's a certain symmetry in the fact that you imitated this by not getting down to 496, where I discuss the other two writers.

I know, I'll send you twenty different addresses, with slightly different names, all starting with 'never', and you can send them $1 each!

#535 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:05 PM:

Terry, the whole plot hinges on the assumption that ancient Sumerians were fundamentally inferior to modern people, and that their religion reflects their inferiority.

That was how it worked in the universe he created.

Much as torture gets real answers in 24, to push one of your buttons the way that pushed one of mine. See what I'm saying?

#536 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Yeago: He filled in the blanks on Gibson and Stephenson. I guess you didn't notice that; a few posts down.

Without Kristen's comments, we can't compare.

#537 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:10 PM:

Terry: If you go to the website linked on Yeago's name, Kristen's comments are right there.

Yeago: Please don't post Kristen's comments here. It will cause nothing but trouble.

#538 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Xopher@535: I never got that out of Snowcrash at all, not even a little; on the other hand, I come from a totally non-religious background, so I suppose I lack buttons in that area.
Now I want to reread it from that viewpoint just to see.

#539 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:15 PM:

Xopher: yes, and no.

It's like Greg and VfV. It doesn't make The League of Extraordinary Gentleman wrong from the get-go.

#540 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:16 PM:

@ Xopher But you don't understand me at all, if you think it was Kristen's OPINION I was objecting to. She has a perfect right to her opinion. To post it in Cory's blog comments was rude, intrusive, and arrogant; only someone who was trying to pick a fight (i.e. a troll) would do so. Note I am not going to post my comments above at Niven's or Card's sites, if they have them, or even at sites whose owners are big fans of theirs.

I'm sorry, I don't really see why its bad practice, but I'm obviously willing to respect that (I haven't returned to BoingBoing in a similar manner since). I don't see why its an invalid conversation for discussion. If he's sensitive about having those discussions at BoingBoing he should 1) just openly say so or 2) place the phrase "do not comment general criticisms of the author's / their work here".

I'd really appreciate the benefit of the doubt here. Just once. Henceforth I shall request no such benefits. But please, make an effort. I'm not a bad person and I have no beef with Mr. Dctrw. I had no idea what the community thinks of him and the only thing I was "trolling" for was reflections/responses, positive or negative, to a perspective I found educated and enlightened.

Also, quit the sckpppt talk (at least in reference to me). You name the evidence you require of me to prove I am who I am, or you show me the log that confirms I'm not. Otherwise, own the fact that you have nothing but anecdotal comparisons of garbled text to work from and suspend your judgment as best you can.

Also, admit that the suspicions about sockpuppetry are getting a little weird when myself and kristen are accused of being the same person. Does Occam's Razor really support a three-year long campaign by a cyber-hydra-transvestite hatched to Besmirch a writing 5 years old?

#541 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:19 PM:

There's a certain symmetry in the fact that you imitated this by not getting down to 496, where I discuss the other two writers.

Ahh, no. You misread me brotha. What I meant was that obviously, if you have read the first four you'd almost had to have read-by-association the final two. I was assuming you were really 6/6. I see the comment I missed now, and it follows. Have your 20 'never' names to me by the end of the week, please.

#542 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Xopher: I agree with you on Yeago's posting of Kristen. I have zero desire to look for Yeago's thougts. My exposure to his thinking here, and in my e-mail, has been quite enough.

It was said merely to point out that saying she was reasonable and well thought, in comparison, was ill-done, absent her words.

Sort of like the bait and switch he recommends for discourse (answer him his public messages in private).

Ill-done all around.

#543 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Sort of like the bait and switch he recommends for discourse (answer him his public messages in private).

No, I just happen to think one-on-one communications have more of a chance of being civil than those on public internet forums.

Reading this girl, are you sure about that Devil thing, Xopher? >=)

#544 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Yeago: I don't see that reading Gibson and Stepehnson follow from the rest.

I ran that list past a housemate, and the two he'd not read were those.

#545 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Terry @ 533: If it trends across a lot of books, which are ostensibly different (which is how I read card, 20 years ago, when I gave up on him), then yes.

I believe Stephenson was riffing on Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which he also does in The Big U. So that's two books. That said, it might just mean that he considers it an intriguing crackpot notion to hang SF on, rather than that he actually believes it.

I've read Jaynes' book, and think that it's pretty much a load, but I'm not sure I consider it bigoted. There's no implication at all that modern pagans are in some way mentally deficient, and IIRC the Old Testament is "explained" by his theory as well.

#546 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:36 PM:

Bill 538: Remember that I was reading it from the point of view of someone who actually knows a bit about Sumerian religion, and who has actually chanted Sumerian chants as part of his own religious path.

Terry 539: I take your point, but the analogy falls apart, because false beliefs about the world are one thing, but prejudice is another. The Sumerians are all dead, but their religious practices are not, and neither are their gods.

Yeago 540: I think you read Chuck exactly backwards. He was pointing out that in your case, you and Kristen actually live together, so the fact that you post from the same IP address is not evidence of sockpuppetry.

Terry 542: Wait, wasn't it neverhydra who wanted people to answer in private? Yeago is not a head of the hydra, you know that, right?

#547 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:40 PM:

TruthFriction @369 - cartooney threats! Oh, this is so nostalgic!

Xopher @ 411 - You've described Ponce, Puerto Rico. Just sayin.

Leah @ 463 - That is good enough to bookmark. And re-read a few times next week.

Teresa somewhere upthread: squee.

Never: I note there was no response to my impassioned advice. Didn't think so. (Possibly your kids don't even exist...)

#548 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Yeago 543: I told you I didn't think you were the devil. Note that this is actually perfectly consistent with believing that Kristin IS the devil!

Tim 545: It's been too long since I read the book. I really don't want to read it again to find out. I remember being really offended by it. I'm afraid that's where I'll leave it. Though it is possible I will try reading Cryptonomicon, since reading this thread.

#549 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:42 PM:

Argh. Kristen. I need sleep.

#550 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:43 PM:

All of the issues mentioned here predate the internet; they were all in play back in the days when usenet was the only open, widespread game in the world. I was the target of sockpuppetry back in usenet news, twenty years ago. We didn't call it so, back then, but we did refer to "trolls", and we used it very narrowly to refer to drive-by agitators who were in it for the entertainment value of stirring things up. Of late, I've seen the sockpuppetry accusations fly on Wikipedia, where the boundary between evading bans and making multiple personae is vague.

The analogy between one's living room or club and one's blog is inaccurate precisely where it counts here. One does not ordinarily broadcast what is discussed in one's living room, whereas a blog is precisely that broadcast. Likewise, a blog of commentary on other blogs is exactly the disease it is supposed to be palliative for. It doesn't allow replying; just mutual ranting.

One thing the old usenet news software did that html does not is provide the reader with content management. (I mean, beyond the all-or-nothing of reading or not reading.) Back in the old days I had a nice big killfile which allowed me to ignore certain subjects and people. The blog is something of a step backwards (at least as it is supported these days) because while it provides tools for readers to pick through articles, it doesn't do the same for the comments, which in very many blogs is where the real action is.

I have to say, in all honesty, that to me disemvowelling reads as an act of public humiliation. Used out of season, it is flatly abusive. It's uncomfortable for me to go back through this thread because Teresa has seized the moral high ground and made it effectively impossible for me to assess things for myself. Yeah, I could decode the stuff; in practice, and especially among 500+ comments, it isn't practical to do so. Mind you, I'm not rising to the defense of anyone here except maybe Tamara. And it's not about rights at all, as far as I'm concerned; there's only what one can do, and what one cannot do. The thing is that I've seen this get out of hand on every blog on controversial topics I've seen, with but a couple of exceptions. Every blog I've seen run by someone with a passionate commitment to one side of controversial issues has pile-on outbursts where the coterie attacks new posters who appear as dissenters.

Changing the subject entirely: I gave up on Herbert about midway through Gawd Awful of Doon. I've since gone back to the original and find it unreadable these days. OTOH I've found it interesting looking at the older Asimov we have; it's surprisingly dystopian.

#551 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:55 PM:

Xopher @ 526: Have I ranted about Moorcock to you before?

Ayup. I still think an author deserves to be judged by his best work rather than the books he wrote in two days each to finance his desperately broke magazine, and think that you might enjoy An Alien Heat. But I also understand that sometimes the turn-off is too strong.

Xopher @ 548: And speaking of turn-off, I think that Snow Crash goes way off the rails during the infodump in question regardless of its offensiveness (and I should make it clearer that I was nitpicking the word "bigoted"; I can completely see that it might be offensive). I believe my summing-up was that, at that point, SC turned from a parody of third-rate cyberpunk into an example of third-rate cyberpunk.

But I like Stephenson's non-fiction a fair amount, occasionally overheated though it be, and plan to try Cryptonomicon at some point, in the hope that it shares the same virtues.

#552 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2007, 11:58 PM:

I find it uninteresting that neither "Kirsten" nor "Yeago" has laid claim to any history of professional publication, since neither seems to be able to write coherently, let alone with even a half measure of wit.

I find it interesting that they would hold up that list of writers as exemplary figures against whose measure Cory Doctorow seems, to their minds, small. Doctorow is at a fairly early point in his career as a science fiction writer, not too far from the point in Asimov's career when his published work was bad enough to make even the Good Doctor I's ego blush when he republished it after achieving fame.

Orson Scott Card's early short fiction in Omni was truly nasty work, too -- the story which springs to mind featured fetuses rising from a toilet and fastening lamprey-like on the Evial main character, if memory serves. And the first published version of Card's Hot Sleep: The Worthing Chronicles had enough problems that Card did not allow it to be reprinted, instead overhauling the work for reissue. For that matter, I think even A Planet Called Treason caused the latter-day author to go for a rewrite before a reissue.

Then there's Stephenson, whose The Cobweb and The Big U (and the presidential election one with the title that's slipping my mind) were not Great Novels. Snowcrash was definitely not up to the standards of his later work, and while Zodiac was fun, Stephenson was clearly still developing as an author.

Early Frank Herbert I don't recall much about, but like many professional sf writers he produced a significant amount of hack work, as one had to do to keep food on the table and a roof over one's head as a professional writer.

Niven perhaps didn't have to push to get work at that level sold and perhaps there's less of it in evidence, but he didn't spring full grown and armored from the forehead of past Grand Masters of the genre. Some of you may recall learning that Niven had published a story where the Earth was rotating in the wrong direction or seen the mimeographed pages which described how he had not noticed the instability of the Ringworld.

Bill Gibson of course did very well, and the fix-up that Terry Carr got out of him and published as Neuromancer set his feet on the path of fame. He's always been a hugely talented writer, but a careful reader might find some inspirations from Robert F. Stone in Gibson's fiction. I wouldn't want to praise Gibson for, what was it, Dogfight (?) more than I'd give Doctorow credit for After the Siege.

I recently wrote some comments on the stories in Overclocked, and frankly I didn't particularly enjoy I, Robot, for example. Doctorow is not the best writer of polemic, and sometimes does seem to lose the beauty of the story in the process of making the plot conform to his political beliefs. But relative to the writers to whom he was compared in that list of six, he's still starting out. Doctorow has years to go before he reaches the mature peak of an Asimov, Card, or Herbert, and still more years after that before his career has been as long as those writers' were when they jumped the shark.

What I find interesting, in contrast to the lack of claim for professional writing credentials or ambitions on the part of these two sad sacks of bits, Kirsten and Yeago, is that while apparently in early in their third decades of life they don't see that Doctorow could still be on his way to his own zenith, that they don't see that he has some brilliant stories as well as the thousand natural schlocks that flesh is heir to.

#553 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:06 AM:

You win this time, gadget. From Yeago's post 532. This seems rude to me. Coming from someone who argues that he should not be banned or disemvowelled, when he knows that around here folks get disemvowelled for rudeness, this strikes me as risky. Or is it an in-joke which I am not getting 'cause I'm thick?

C. Wingate at 550: that's interesting, your comment about Dune no longer being readable. It was once on my list of 10 best SF books -- and I'm a bit nervous about trying to read it again, for fear that I, too, will find it unreadable. Sigh. How are the mighty fallen, and like that.

#554 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Bob 552: I think even A Planet Called Treason caused the latter-day author to go for a rewrite before a reissue.

I deeply hope you did that on purpose.

Lizzy 553: I think he's quoting the villain from the Inspector Gadget movie. I didn't think it was rude, in fact I thought it was kind of clever.

#555 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:24 AM:

Thanks, Xopher. I'm unfamiliar with the movie, so it passed right by me. Apologies, Yeago.

#556 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:29 AM:

I believe that there is only one troll and all the trolls we see are sockpuppets of that one Platonic Ideal troll.

#557 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:34 AM:

James, LOL!

#558 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Xopher: I didn't read it that way. What the Sumerians might have been able to believe (and there's a lot of misreading of Sapir-Whorff in there) is not the same as what/why moderns who accept some of the basic principles are able to believe.

If I were going to reccomend a piece of his I would make it "Zodiac".

As for the "in private thing" Yeago asked people to take it to private conversation, after he made his arguments in public. He thinks this makes it, "more civil".

I think it makes a mugs game, where he gets to have the last, public, word, and still claim to be debating the points. He has sent private e-mails, to public comments, to both myself and Greg London.

#559 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Out of a slightly perverted curiosity I tried to take a look at Yeago's site, and got a "Server not found" error. Probably better for me, anyway; I do have to take medication for my blood pressure.

On the subject of the Obscure Authors: my tastes are clearly different from many. I reread Dune a few years ago, and enjoyed it. On the other hand, from God Emperor on down I thought the books got more and more pro forma; it sure seemed that Herbert was given a contract he couldn't refuse. But I find that "Under Pressure", his first novel* is quite readable, and shows some interesting use of structure to build suspense. I also liked "Whipping Star", and "The Dosadi Experiment", and most emphstically did not like "The White Plague". Giveaway: Finding out gur avpr uvccvrf ner ernyyl rivy cbq-crbcyr vf abg zl vqrn bs n tbbq gjvfg raqvat.

Card, feh. Oh, and Xopher, I agree about a lot of Moorcock's writing**, though some of "The Dancers at the End of Time" series is good.

I'll agree that "Neuromancer" was terrific; chock-full of great throw-away ideas like the Rastafarian Space Navy. But the two books he tacked on to it to make a trilogy were not as good IMO. The later books like "All Tomorrow's Parties"are getting back to the level of Neuromancer, though.

* also titled "The Dragon in the Sea", a much better title IMHO.
** You can't blame him for his name.

#560 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:53 AM:

James Macdonald @ 556

That makes perfect sense to me. Of course, based on the "Dialogs" I always thought of Plato as a troll.

#561 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Serge @ 528

You are always qualified to commit puns. Whether we can stand them is another question entirely.

#562 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Terry @ 558

He sent an e-mail to me, too. At least he wasn't rude, and I was rude to him on his own site.

I have to admit, he/they are doing a fair job of keeping me off balance.

I even sent e-mail to Tamara to find out if she is actually the one posting lately. The tone and the way her arguments are constructed here, at BB, and at Yeago's are very different from her posts on her LJ or MySpace pages. Maybe I just have a problem with a 28 year old nurse claiming to be an "old timey gnu-hippy". I have my own prejudices to get past.

"Fix it or Fork it" indeed.

#563 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:15 AM:

Bruce @ 560

LO-frick'n-L!

#564 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:17 AM:

Xopher 554: Yes, it was purposeful. I thought of noting that in a reversal of history, the earlier text was more Moronic, but didn't want to be seen as heavy-handed.

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 561... grumblegrumble(they'rejealous)grumble...

#566 ::: Jeff Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:54 AM:

Bob Webber @ 552: "Bill Gibson of course did very well, and the fix-up that Terry Carr got out of him and published as Neuromancer set his feet on the path of fame."

Neuromancer was a fix-up? What stories is it a reworking of? Or am I missing a joke?

#567 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:56 AM:

Abi makes some good points upthread, and it made me reconsider labelling Tamara a troll. Originally, as she scribbled "victim" across her forehead I mistook it for a hairy brow. When she left loudly only to slink back a few times, I wondered if she weren't stalking something.
Maybe, though, I was too eager. Maybe, as someone else said, I wouldn't have been so quick in my accusation had she not been on this particular thread. We haven't, after all, heard from her since. I guess I just need to read her in a different context.

I can't however, agree with Abi totally. Yes, trolling is really just an aggregate of boorish actions. But I think we are legitimate in calling certain people trolls. After all, what are we ourselves but aggregates of actions along a fouth axis? If you act like a troll, you are exactly a troll. And I suppose that Tamara, however annoying, was not.

Xopher, Herbert's Green Brain is really quite fun if you ignore all the sexism, racism, patently absurd squirt gun fights and Herbert's silly habit of narrating thoughts. The titular brain itself predates Sterling's brood mind in "Swarm" by a couple of decades. And at least he was trying to make a point about ecology as a gestalt. Like Silent Spring but with more acid burns and emergent sentience.

#568 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:02 AM:

Greg, #402: I think it's O_o, but don't quote me on that.

Xopher, #411: What hit me in the face, back in 1985 or thereabouts, was a rerun of the episode "Shore Leave". Okay, you have the female security guard, which was a breakthrough for the period -- but then she spends the entire episode doing exactly 3 things: scream, cry, faint, lather, rinse, repeat. Somewhere not very far in, I caught myself thinking, "And THIS they put on a STARSHIP?!" Compare and contrast with Tasha Yar... or, even better, Susan Ivanova.

There are still a couple of episodes I can watch without cringing ("The Trouble With Tribbles"), but they're very much the exceptions.

C. Wingate, #444: There was a post here not very long ago that started with a line to the effect of, "On the Internet, if you do a perfect imitation of an asshole, then you are one." This is not stereotyping, it's pattern-matching.

Dave, #464: Also, out-of-culture swearing isn't as likely to get you in trouble. Just this afternoon I substituted "bloody" for a less-acceptable American term in a room full of teenagers, and may (to my chagrin) have started a bit of a fad.

Todd, #492: Oh, good grief. Even I have read something by each of those authors, and there's a lot of SF I don't get around to reading for various reasons. But beyond that, the authors one likes are a matter of personal taste, nothing more. Even if I hadn't read anything by any of the cited authors, it wouldn't matter; my opinion is my opinion, and neither Yeago nor anyone else has any right to tell me who I should and shouldn't like. What a twit.

#569 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:09 AM:

Lee #568: I believe "Shore Leave" is the episode that boggled my fracking mind when, shortly after the female security guard whom you so accurately describe NARROWLY AVOIDS BEING RAPED, Kirk and Spock decide to hang around on the planet because "nothing very dangerous has happened."

Someday I will get around to writing my book-length essay on gender in Star Trek. Right around the same time as I write my depressing Yeoman Rand fic. Right around the same time I write that Twin Peaks fic I want to write about Audrey and Pete's fishing trip right at the end of the series. Right around the same time I write that campy post-apocalyptic novel I keep meaning to write. Right around the same time...

#570 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:10 AM:

Bruce Cohen@559: Also published under the far worse title 21st Century Sub.

Tamara R.@405: Yes, it's an extremely weak defense. Teresa was, it seems to me, implying that your comments weren't worth the bother of deploying any stronger one.

#571 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:34 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 570

Also published under the far worse title 21st Century Sub.

Not accurate, either. We're here, where is it?

#572 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:46 AM:

Even at the time, there was a large proportion of Star Trek shows I had trouble watching. Aside from the cheesy production values, a lot of the stories didn't make an awful lot of sense, or did only if you assumed all star-faring races had approximately the emotional development and reasoning abilities of 6 year old children. And I do dislike being beat over the head with the corpse of a semi-liberal political harangue*.

I might have been more tolerant of it if I'd watched it from the beginning, week by week, but I didn't see it until 1968, well into the seond season. The first few episodes provided a more gentle entry into the universe of Star Trek than getting dropped into the middle, I think.

* "There's acid in the grass!"**
** Or even worse, racial intolerance portrayed as bilateral assymetry.

#573 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:08 AM:

I still like Star Trek TOS better than any of the more recent Star Treks. The middle of TNG's run gets close, and some of the movies (I-IV, VI) are good too.

I was raised on Doctor Who, so TOS production values look like James Cameron to me. Yes, TOS is sexist, but I'm actually more irritated by the projection of 20th century US racism into the 24th century of TNG/DS9.

#574 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:04 AM:

to jump onto the famous-people-meeting bandwagon before it passes me by entirely:

bill willingham once hit on me (in a non-obnoxious, non-threatening way) for two hours at a con once. if he figured out i had no idea who he was, it didn't seem to bother him.

eddie campbell once told me at a con that one of my watercolours was very good, & another one was no good. what kind of authority do i get?

(quick, serge! what marvel comic is this from: "one of them is very, very good ... the other one is very, very bad!")

#575 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:14 AM:

Tonight, "Sockpuppets in mythology". Chapter One: Achilles.

Quite right: Patroclus is totally a sockpuppet.

#576 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:40 AM:

And tonight on our continuing series of dramas inspired by the internet: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Sockpuppets by Cece Yeago.

#577 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:47 AM:

I was going to write excerpts from Robert Heinlein's "All You Sockpuppets" but now I think I'll wait. I love a good Tom Sockard play.

#578 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:31 AM:

Jim Macdonald #556: Surely you mean that all the trolls we encounter are degenerate forms of the platonic ideal troll?

#579 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:58 AM:

miriam beetle @ 574... one of them is very, very good ... the other one is very, very bad

I am ashamed to say I don't know the answer to that one.

#580 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Didn't James Blish write a Star Trek novel called "Sock must die!" ?

#581 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Personally, I think that ST-TNG was even more sexist than ST-TOS. TOS's handling of most female roles (Barbara Luna's being almost an exception) makes me wince, and so do the miniskirts (blame Roddenberry for those). But it's unfair to judge something that was created in 1966 for not having today's behaviors. Yes, it could have been far better, even for its era - just compare it with 1964's Outer Limits and its handling of women. Meanwhile, ST-TNG was created in 1987, and what did it come up with? One woman's main function is to be sexy. One is in charge of Security, but she's a trigger-happy loon. The other woman is the Nurturer, and it was a relief when she was all too briefly replaced by Diana Muldaur's Doctor Pulasky.

#582 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Not forgetting Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lamb Chop.

#583 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Niall McAuley

Is that a sock-choppy movie?

#584 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Perhaps it was imprudent for Yeago to post what I said, especially out of the context of the original thread, but it's done. I'm happy to see that for all the impassioned idiocy toward the beginning of this thread, there are a few intelligent, well-spoken people who recognize that Yeago is not simply some know-nothing troll.

To clarify:

When I wrote that snippet about 0wnz0red, my neighbor was trying to tell me that because it got nominated for a Nebula, it was therefore "good" and should be read. The label "award winning/nominated" is too often a cue for people who don't know how to distinguish one text from another to decide they like the awarded text. Basically, my neighbor will only read "acclaimed" work, yet he had never read any of these historically acclaimed authors. I am not particularly a fan of any of the authors I cited, (except maybe Asimov's shorts), though I've read them all. They were simply the first handful of widely-read Nebula awarded/nominated authors that sprang to mind. I don't have to be a fan of these people to believe that they technically have more reason to be awarded/nominated than Mr. Doctorow did at that point in his writing career, or for that particular story. To be fair, I have only read two short stories and Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Mr. Doctorow, so perhaps in the last few years his style has developed and he's able to write more human characters, and if not, I'm sure he's more than capable of getting to that point in the future if he chooses.

Personally, I don't really put much stock in the award system at all. Not the lesser ones anyway. It's mostly just a big .edu circle-jerk of judges. I mean, sure, I'll check out what the Ivory Tower has to say every October, but that's more a matter of curiosity than blind fanship.

I believe a majority of the people here will jump at the opportunity to talk garbage, censor me, or tell me I don't know anything at all, and that's okay.

#585 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Niall McAuley @ 582... Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lamb Chop

Starring Sockard Channing.

#586 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Thrilling. I am really collecting and cherishing deeply all these sock-puppet accusations. Because for every one, there's either someone who's eventually going to guzzle their words or there's a dopey pointer-dog lapping at the dish Theresa set out for them.

#587 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Kristen writes: I believe a majority of the people here will jump at the opportunity to talk garbage, censor me, or tell me I don't know anything at all, and that's okay.

Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!

#588 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Teresa... Woof!!!

#589 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Kristen @ 584

I believe a majority of the people here will jump at the opportunity to talk garbage, censor me, or tell me I don't know anything at all, and that's okay

I don't have any interest in discussing or arguing literary merit with you, but I will tell you that the language of your post is confrontational and insulting, and that those are not good things.

If your intent is to start a fight, that's a good way to do it, but that does in fact make you a troll. If your intent is to start a reasoning discussion, it's not a very productive start.

#590 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Now see what happens when I get all tense from verbal conflict? My tenses get all screwed up. That should be "reasoned discussion".

#591 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:24 AM:

@587

Puppet? why so? Ay, that way goes the game.

#592 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:24 AM:

I believe a majority of the people here will jump at the opportunity to talk garbage, censor me, or tell me I don't know anything at all, and that's okay.

You forgot dismiss you as a troll. Doh!

#593 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:29 AM:

I thought DS9 was pretty good on gender (and I loved that Kai Wynn, one of my all-time favorite supervillains, was almost completely driven by things unrelated to what bathroom she used)

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:34 AM:

julia @ 593... I also thought that DS9 was pretty good, in that and other respects. And Voyager too. Yes, in spite of 7 of 39's catburglar suit.

#595 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:39 AM:

552 Bob Webber - Aside from your exagerative, flowery dismissal of Kristen and I, I think on the topic of writer-hood you are very well spoken and make eloquent points. However, perhaps I am mistaken but I haven't found a single one of the Lesser Works you brought up was nominated for the Nebula which was her whole point to begin with.

While you are very well-presented and I even got a lot out of reading your response, because you missed or mis-read the basic focus of the source text, the tangents you raise are awry and make claims that were never up for defense to begin with.

#596 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:40 AM:

Wow. I mis-hyperlinked that. Sry.

#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:41 AM:

learning that Niven had published a story where the Earth was rotating in the wrong direction

The first edition of Ringworld, actually. IMO, it reads better than the corrected version. (I think it was in Lucifer's Hammer that the San Bernardino mountains were described as being *west* of Pasadena. Larry's reaction to that was 'Oops.')

I met Randall Garret. Westercone 31.

#598 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Kristen, just one small point for the record. The Nebula is neither a minor award nor one awarded by an Academic jury. It is in fact nominated by and voted for by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America--which just happens to be the primary professional organization for fantasy and science fiction writers. That makes it a peer award granted by the professional community.

Whether that means it should be given more or less weight than any other F&SF award is a matter for individual tastes, but to dismiss it in a post that focuses on academic awards betrays either disingenuousness or a shocking lack of knowledge of the field--your pick.

One more thing, before you start arguing points of relevance to the F&SF community, you might want to pop up to the front page and figure out who the hosts of this blog are and their relationship to the F&SF field. Then, take a moment to extrapolate who might hang out at this sort of blog.

#599 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Serge (#409): No, the "no shame" pun was the one in yesterday's Open Thread that riffed on your name.

Though my in-house work at Locus in the Eighties and Nineties introduced me to quite a few famous or about-to-be-famous writers, the coolest encounter came in the pre-Clarion Seventies, when I attended a writers' workshop up north, led by Frank Herbert and Jack Vance (whom I later got to visit at his home in the Oakland hills, meeting his wife and son).

#600 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:50 AM:

@598

Right. A work has to get ten nominations within a year after publication from members of SFWA. I know.

When I said "...the award system..." I mean to say ALL the awards given out. It seems nowadays like every work is up for something, whether it be a Nebula, Hugo, Booker, Pulitzer, O. Henry Prize, Newberry, Carnegie, or blah blah blah. There are so many awards, that the awards mean less and less as the years go by. True, all these awards are supposedly "major" awards, but which winner or judge will ever label an award as a "lesser" award?

#601 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:55 AM:

So let me see if I understand this, Yeago. You make an ass of yourself, get disenbowelled, come back in a more conciliatory mood (for some values of conciliatory), get engaged in civil (for some values of civil) conversation by the regulars, then post the tripe at 586?

You sir, are not a sockpuppet or a troll. You are an idiot.

#602 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Faren @ 599... the "no shame" pun was the one in yesterday's Open Thread that riffed on your name

Faren-ough. He who puns by the word shall be punished by the word.

#603 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Dave @351: I believe that the singer/actor Phil Collins was the Patient Zero who introduced the word wanker to the American mainland. This was in 1984, when he guest-starred in the "Phil the Shill" episode of Miami Vice. Collins played a con-artist who tangled with that episode's villain, at one point describing him to Crockett and Tubbs thus (IIRC): "He is, what we would call, a 'wanker'." I was quite shocked to hear that, as it was pretty rare even on British TV.

#604 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Bruce 559: I read Moorcock's Gloriana and thought "Well, the Eternal Champion plot is subtler here, and it's well written, but I just don't want to read any more Eternal Champion novels!" If I'd read that first or only, I'd probably have thought MM was a good writer. And if we're judging writers by their best work, he is. I had understood that the Dancers books were more EC stuff, and if they are I don't care to read them no matter how well he's written that same plot.

Gursky 567: Oh, I liked the message of TGB a lot. It just wasn't very well written—and since I was about 15 when I read it...well, it takes a lot for a 15 to notice bad writing.

Lee 568: Compare and contrast with Tasha Yar... or, even better, Susan Ivanova.

Or the radiant Aeryn Sun, my personal favorite.

Reyrct Todd: Now, now. We're trying to bring Yeago into the fold.

ethan 569: I believe that time that you're going to write all those things right around is called "Real Soon Now" (often abbreviated RSN). By a curious coincidence, that's the same time I'm going to write my book on Radical Pantheism.

Serge 581: Ugh. I thought Pulasky was a ham-handed stereotype "irritating character." I HATED her.

Kristen 584: If you took out the phrase 'impassioned idiocy' from your first paragraph, and dropped your last paragraph entirely, this would be a pretty decent post. I'm willing to be polite to you if you're polite back, but those two things were rude. Does this qualify as "talking garbage"? I hope not.

Yeago 586: Just calm down. Not everyone has gotten the memo. It will take a while for it to die down, but posts like 586 don't help. See Emma's response at 601 for an example of why.

For a while you're going to have to be nicer than the people who are talking to you. That's just how it works. Rant to me in email if you want/need to; I'm not unsympathetic.

My goal is nothing less than to successfully integrate you into this community, because I think you could be a very interesting addition to it. But that can only happen if you learn how we play and try to play our way.

Kristen 591: THERE we go! I like this a lot.

Ibid. 600: Another good one. You're right that no one ever calls their own award "lesser," but the larger literary/fannish/whatever community knows what awards mean what. The Nebula means that other writers think you're good, and that you haven't pissed off a lot of them recently enough for them to vote against you out of spite, and...well, a bunch of other stuff.

#605 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Btw: I have been having a uniformly pleasant email exchange with Yeago, and I hope and intend that it will continue. Things said here are answered here, though.

#606 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:26 AM:

Iago writes:

This blog is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.

I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to Making Light.

#607 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:30 AM:

@ Xopher #604

Point taken. =)

I hated Pulaski too!!!

#608 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Niall 606: I bet if we all write blank verse all the time, we can say anything we want about each other and no one will be offended.

Until we get used to it.

Kristen 607: Well then we have to be friends!

#609 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:36 AM:

re 556: Yeah, well I'm an anti-Platonist and believe that trolling is a construct of annoyed readers.

re 568: The thing I liked most about Original Trek was the swing-for-the-fences mythic quality. It made for a lot of really bad episodes, of course. Next-Gen never really worked that well for me, unless Frakes was directing. It's rather ironic that it took getting all the way to the 2nd movie to find Troi's real calling: Chief Interrogator of the Unsuspecting.

As far as perfectly imitating an asshole, that doesn't really interest me. Once we get to statements like that, I tune out, since most people's imitation of jerks, or reasonable people, is imperfect.

#610 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Xopher @ 604... Ugh. I thought Pulasky was a ham-handed stereotype "irritating character." I HATED her.

Ah well... To me she was a breath of fresh air in the ship's starch-laden atmosphere. The only character I gave a hoot about was Geordi, who behaved like a real human being. If I think back to ST-TNG's episodes I watched before I gave up, only two stand out (in my opinion, which is just that and nothing more). One is the episode where Picard meets Sarek, who's suffering of Alzheimer's and who won't admit it, not even to himself. The other is the episode after the Battle against the Borg at Wolf 359: Picard is recovering at the vinyard of his brother, with whom he had always had a tense relationship. They actually come to blows before Picard breaks down at the powerlessness he had felt when he'd been taken over by the Borg.

#611 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Serge 610: which is just that and nothing more

Only this, and nothing more? Careful! :-)

The torture episode ("There are four lights!"—and he admits later that he actually believed there were five) didn't do anything for you? Or the one where Picard lives an entire alien lifetime, and ends with him playing the pennywhistle? (That one made me cry for real.)

I think some of the episodes of TNG were as good as anything that won an Emmy in their respective years.

#612 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:51 AM:

miriam @ 574:
"bill willingham once hit on me (in a non-obnoxious, non-threatening way) for two hours at a con once. if he figured out i had no idea who he was, it didn't seem to bother him."

Ummm... who's bill willingham?

[Googles] Oh, the FABLES guy.

(Not a series I've read. In fact, I'm about a year behind on actually reading the comics I -do- buy.)

#613 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Christopher writes:

Thus from infernal Dis do we ascend
To view the subjects of our monarchy,
Those souls which sin seals the black sons of hell;
'Mong which, as chief, Faustus, we come to thee,
Bringing with us lasting damnation
To wait upon thy soul: the time is come
Which makes it forfeit.

#614 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:04 PM:

And, hey, speaking of trolls...

I was reading the comment thread to a post about the WGA strike at THE ARTFUL WRITER, and came across a number of angry, insulting comments by one particular poster.

The poster's nom-de-Internet was... "The Hammer".

Yes, I do believe it's THAT "The Hammer", the same one who was such a pain in the ass back on the old GEnie boards in the 90's. Particularly convincing was his apparent belief that the striking WGA members are Communists.

If you want, his comments in that thread are 39, 45, 52, 54, 61, 75, and 81. Or, for a more constructive way to pass the time, you could just hit yourself in the head with a, err, umm, hammer.

#615 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:07 PM:

#610 Serge: If I think back to ST-TNG's episodes I watched before I gave up, only two stand out...

I think the two-part episode that ended one season and began the next -- the one where Number One's line at the very end of the first episode was "Fire!" -- was one of the best pieces of dramatic/adventure writing I've ever seen on television.

#616 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Ooh, the pennywhistle episode. Good one. I liked Pulaski because she looks just like our kids' pediatrician, but I liked Dr. Crusher even better because she reminds me of my aunt the nurse. Go figure.

TNG was good. We watched them religiously for years, in about mid-series, and I have uniformly loved the movies. But you remember the start of Voyager, where ... argh, not good with names, but somebody rails about "You Starfleet types" being stiff stuffed shirts, and damn if that realization didn't make me reevaluate all the TNG episodes when I watched them again later.

And that goes particularly for Geordi always telling Data that stuff isn't appropriate. Where he pushes Crusher into the drink on the holodeck, for instance. Damned Starfleet stuffed shirts. Data was perfectly right, it was hilarious.

My favorite episode, btw: can't recall the name, but it's the one with the time loop, where they all get deja vu from the last fifty times around. But I'm always a sucker for time travel plots.

So is our current theory that Yeago is not a sock? Because I can't help but notice that Yeago and Kristen post in odd synchronicity. Maybe they have similar work schedules? I notice I never see either one of them at the same time as Wonder Woman. Draw your own conclusions.

It seems to me that a really good puppeteer (the one-headed, non-capitalized kind) would act in just such a way, becoming a trusted member of the site over the course of weeks, months, or even years, then when you least expect it, pow!

In fact, at this point, I'd be willing to finger Xopher as another head. It would be the least expected possible ploy. [Disclaimer: this paragraph is a joke. Humor not valid in MA, MO, WV, or ID. Redeemable for 5 cents in ME.]

#617 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Xopher @ 611... Only this, and nothing more?

I need some syrup to get rid of that sudden quoth. (By the way, I made that earlier comment because I didn't want you to think I'm the arrogant type.)

Yes, the torture episode of St-TNG was a good one, and there's what I think is the one where the Kardassians first appeared, in which Picard sacrifices a friend's career to delay the coming war with the Kardassians.

But... There was a lack of humanity in that cast. In the original show, people were trying to be the best that they could be. By the time of the NCC-1701-D, we had a crew where people were the best. I think it was Melinda Snodgrass who said something to the effect that, since those characters were perfect, the only way they could have stories was to bring conflict from the outside.

#618 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Michael 616: So is our current theory that Yeago is not a sock? Because I can't help but notice that Yeago and Kristen post in odd synchronicity.

They are close friends and roommates. Sometimes an IP address is just an IP address.

#619 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Serge 617: I know, you just sounded Poe-etic for a moment there.

#620 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:32 PM:

"Live long, T'Pau, and prosper."
"Live long and prosper, Spock."
"I shall do neither; I have killed my captain... and my friend."

#621 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:39 PM:

"Live long, EPoe, and prosper."
"Live long and prosper, Lenore."
"I shall do neither..." [dissolves in a fit of coughing]
"Nevermore!"
"Shut up, raven."

#622 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Haha. "Odd synchronicity". I suppose sleeping in the same bed with someone gives you all kinds of odd syncronicities, the least of which is an IP address. lp t p y pntr-dg.

#623 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:46 PM:

re 615: .... directed by Frakes....

I have to say I liked DS9 better than TNG. Especially "House of Quark", which deserves to be made into comic opera.

#624 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:46 PM:

"What if you decide he is Kodos? What then? Do you play God, carry his head through the corridors in triumph? That won't bring back the dead, Jim!"

"No. But they may rest easier."

#625 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:58 PM:

@ 623
Ooooooh "House of Quark" was the jam.

I have to dismiss my personal love and favoritism for TNG, though, because my bias might lie in splitting an entire package of chips ahoy with my dad every Saturday night at eight.

@622
The bed, eh? Pulling out the big guns against the charge? =)

#626 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:08 PM:

OK, Yeago and Kristen, I thought you might be partners, but since that hadn't been said I didn't like to say so. Yeago, you imply so in 622.

If so, that explains a lot. People tend to defend their partners, and get exceptionally bent out of shape if they feel their partners are being attacked. I do that too; I don't think it's unreasonable behavior.

C. 623: Me too. I think DS9 was the best of all the series, not least because it was dark and morally ambiguous. I knew I was going to like it when Sisko said "We're very different species. It will take time for us to understand each other," and the Prophets replied "What is time?"

Kristen 625: The bed, eh? Pulling out the big guns against the charge?

Only you would know, of course. And only if...I guess I have the answer to the question I asked above!

#627 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Xopher... And that is why DS9 was my favorite of the modern ST series. (I notice that few people ever think of Enterprise.)

#628 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Apropos of other divagations on this thread, if we're going to wander amid the fields of sockpoetry:


No! I am not Prince Trollet, nor was meant to be;
Am a sockpuppet tool, one that will do
To swamp a thread, start a fight or two,
Support the troll; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Echoing, captious, and repetitive;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, in flames competitive—
Alas, most times, a fool.

#629 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Serge @ 627

Some of us think about it, but not much. They could have had fun with it, if they'd lost the time-war plot complication. (I thought that was a really bad idea, because it didn't connect to anything in any of the earlier versions.)

#630 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:29 PM:

#623 C. Wingate: re 615: .... directed by Frakes....

No, I don't think so. Maybe you are thinking of another episode? I was talking about "The Best of Both Worlds". Written by Michael Piller and directed by Cliff Bole:.

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:35 PM:

P J Evans @ 629... And when that show wasn't dealing with time-travel, the very bland crew would boldly go where no one had gone before, except that the Vulcans had already gone there before and the NX-1 would boldly correct some slight errors in the Vulcan starmaps.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

#632 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:50 PM:

They didn't keep their timeline consistent, either, even allowing for the Time War. I channel-surfed past an ep a while ago where they encounter the Borg! What, they decided not to report it? Worse, they were the advanced Borg with the nanites, not the early ones where they had to do surgery to Borgify you. And Phlox developed a technique for de-naniting people, which he apparently didn't think was worth reporting either.

I think the franchise ran out of steam before Voyager. Enterprise was like a zombie version: it's dead, but somehow still moving. Quick, blow its head off!

#633 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Xopher @ 632.. Don't forget the stake thru the heart. That being said, I hope JJ Abrams's movie shows he understands what ST was all about. But without the miniskirts.

"Ah, you represent Earth's best, then."
"No, sir, I'm not; I'll make plenty of mistakes."
"But you'll learn more about us that way; and I'll get a better officer in return."
- The Corbomite Maneuver

#634 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:03 PM:

In re Enterprise, I assumed that they planned to make all the continuity problems go away at the end by resolving the Time War in such a way that the series literally never happened as far as the TOS timeline is concerned, which would have been a sickener.

Later I realized that they just didn't care, and nor did I.

#635 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Miniskirts with colour co-ordinated knickers are an established part of the timeline for the period of Abram's movie. I, for one, will object strenuously if the knickers are not to be seen.

#636 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:14 PM:

re 623: Oops, me bad. (It's been years....)

I have to say that Patrick Stewart as Picard never did much for me. He does wonderful voice work, but his face seems to have only three settings: general seriousness, slight amusement, and decided annoyance at Q/Troi's mom/etc.

#637 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 635... Ah, but, in the first episode of ST-TOS, women do wear pants. I'm sure they also wear knickers under the pants.

#638 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:21 PM:

I have confirmed that Yaego and Tamara R are indeed real people, which is good. I don't like that the accused sockpuppets are all gathered in the comments section of Yeago's site, but maybe they feel that they will be heard there, which is also good. TheCynic is a dick, which is not news.

However, I did notice some 'red flag' behavior. So as a word to the wise, I offer some pointers:

Don't start a post with "this will probably get deleted" or "I hope I don't anger you" or anything like that. Self-fulfilling prophecy, as it were.

If the Moderator is identifying folks as Trolls or Sockpuppets, do not repeat their arguments or use the same kinds of phrases. You will be linked to the puppeteer, especially a nasty one like TheCynic, who using IP masking techniques and multiple identities (he admits as much). The only way folks have to ID these guys is the words they use and the way they use them.

And finally, if you're linking into a forum or blog from another site, check out the site a bit before you start posting. Check out the hosts and read some of the other threads. Get a feel for the community, if one exists, before jumping in and, potentially, starting trouble for yourself. And, for God's sake, don't say, "I was linked to this site from X", especially if you are going to post a criticism. You might as well say, "Hi, I'm a Troll. Please flame me."

All that to say, if you don't want to labeled a Troll, don't do trollish things. If you don't want to be labeled a Sockpuppet, don't do the things that a banned/deleted/disemvowelled person did.

So there, more cosmic wisdom from your friendly neighborhood CosmicDog.

I have to say, I really appreciated the e-mails I received from Tamara R. She really does seem to be a thoughtful person.

#639 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:21 PM:

general seriousness, slight amusement, and decided annoyance

As long as we're there, Riker had about 3 as well: flushed angry-serious, miffed/surprised, and "I'm going to do you".

#640 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:24 PM:

One is the episode where Picard meets Sarek, who's suffering of Alzheimer's and who won't admit it, not even to himself.

Episode "Sarek," teleplay by Peter S. Beagle.

#641 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:35 PM:

And Amok Time was written by Theodore Sturgeon.

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:36 PM:

How many expressions does Worf have?

#643 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Worf, let's see, there's "Grrrrr", and, erm...

#644 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Let us consider Yeago's list of authors, all of whom I've read, and five out of six of whom I've met:

Frank Herbert
Isaac Asimov
Larry Niven
Orson Scott Card
William Gibson
Neil(sic) Stephenson
I can tell you exactly what that list is. It's six out of the top ten SF writers who are read by people who don't otherwise read much SF. The missing names are Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke, and (probably British) Player To Be Named Later. It's Science Fiction 101.

A real critic who actually knew something about science fiction could come up with a much better list of comparisons for Cory's work. This one is just generic. But then, I doubt that the essay in question was ever intended to be a real examination of Cory's work.

#645 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:03 PM:

You're really into defining things for people. But, again, that list is one of nebula awardees/nominees.

Your right, the essay in question was 'never intended to be' a 'real examination'. It had some insidious secret purpose yet to be divulged. It was carefully crafted as part of a sting--so was, in fact, all criticism of Doctorow ... ever. Oh, and its invalid on your say so, and so is my identity.

#646 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:08 PM:

I could never watch Voyager, but I suppose I never really gave it much of a chance. It was the first episode, and the ship is going to be destroyed in X seconds, and someone on the bridge was hurt and Janeway actually left the captain's chair to see if they were OK. Made me absolutely nuts - Starfleet gave command of this insanely important ship to a woman who couldn't control her nurturing instincts for X seconds until she made sure everyone on the ship wasn't going to die?

David Gerrold used an almost identical situation to illustrate how not to write Star Trek characters in his Tribbles book. I guess it was more important for the Voyager writers to demonstrate that Captain Mommy, despite being in charge, was Still Womanly.

#647 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Yeago, I figure it's every person on the Nebula lists whose name you recognized.

#648 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Yeago (595) and Kristen (584; Sorry I got your name wrong):

Yes, I admit that I lost track of the point about the Nebula award status of the writers listed, but please note that I encountered the essay from Kristen for the first time in the context of a more general Doctorow-bashing.

In the larger picture this error would only change my point if one of us did some research and found out what fraction of Doctorow's work was nominated for or won Nebula awards (or any other awards for which all nine authors were qualified) at similar points in their careers and found Doctorow to significantly lead or trail the others. I suspect that both Asimov and Herbert would ring in no nominations at all because the awards available now weren't yet being given out at this point in their careers; Stephenson might not have been writing genre fiction, so even if he had been nominated for a Nebula, he likely wouldn't have received it. I'm too ignorant of the award-related aspects of the careers of the other writers to even guess whether or not knowing something about such things would make me want to change what I've written in that regard.

Unless the other authors were comparable with Doctorow in terms of this "Nebula metric," it still seems to me that comparing him with them in this way is a faulty approach.

Also, I agree to some extent with Kirsten that judging the quality of a work by its status with regard to award nomination or even award awarding is at best a flawed approach. Many of the sf genre awards are particularly problematic because the judging body changes in composition between years, so it's not even possible to develop a reliable "feel" for how well the awards will agree with one's own tastes.

I'd go along with a number of other folks writing here and note that I go back and sample the works of a writer I didn't care for from time to time, and I'm particularly likely to try a writer whose work I didn't like again if people whose tastes I've been able to calibrate against my own do or don't recommend a particular work (whether thumbs up or thumbs down will make me try again would of course depend on the results of the calibration process). Their writing changes and my tastes change.

Based on my experience reading Overclocked, if you didn't like Doctorow's writing because of issues with the way he writes his characters and because his purpose seems more political than literary, it's not time to try his work again, yet.

#649 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:22 PM:

julia @ 646... Voyager did get better although it drove me nuts. I mean, they know that, even if they step on it, pedal to the metal, it'll take them 70 years to get back to the Federation. Of course they kept making side-trips to this or that interesting astronomical phenomenon. Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?

#650 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Xopher @ 604

Dancers At The End Of Time started out well, I thought, but ran into trouble towards the end (actually in collection of short stories subsequent to the third novel of the trilogy), when Moorcock tried to deal the actual end of the universe. But in the meantime he did some funny things, like bring Elric into the story as a buffoon more than a Champion. Elric was all "I'm Chaotic Evil, and a real bad-ass" and the End-Timers were all "Want to be in my menagerie?"

Re: Star Trek.

I think the producers of Enterprise wanted to seem like loyal Americans, and Manly Men of Valor in the light of 9/11, so they stuck to the "Set phasers on Snooze" style of martial SF, where they showed how our doughty crew could deal with terrorists and saboteurs. At times it played exactly like a classic John Wayne war movie.

"Andromeda" made a similar mistake shortly before the invasion of Iraq, with a story that presented all the same arguments that BushCo was just then giving out for the invasion. It was completely extraneous to the arc of the series and, like most Author's Messages, attempted to pound the viewers' heads in, ever so subtly, of course. / snark

#651 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:43 PM:

If ladies wearing pants in The Menagerie count, I should point out that some background gentlemen wore miniskirts at the start of TNG.

#652 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:47 PM:

All this talk about puppets reminds me of The Ghost in the Shell. Gur 'ivyynva' jnf n arg-onfrq ploreargvp vagryyvtrapr gung pb-bcgrq uhznaf sbe vgf checbfrf.

#653 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:48 PM:

serge,

I am ashamed to say I don't know the answer to that one.

oh, ok. it was a long shot anyhow. i was quoting nth man, a limited, self-contained series that apparently only ran for two years.

i remember it being well-written, absorbing & really spooky, but you maybe shouldn't take my word on it. looking at the dates in that reference article, i was eight-to-ten-ish when i last read it.

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Niall @ 651... Actually, I was refering to the first aired episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". As for TNG's men-in-skirt, it was a lame attempt to keep for Troi in her original outfit. Frankly, it made her look a waitress at a greasy-spoon.

#655 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:52 PM:

miriam beetle @ 653... Oh, I never read that one. One very unusual comic-book I just finished reading is "Strange Girl". Think the Rapture Meets Road Warrior.

#656 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Yeago, I figure it's every person on the Nebula lists whose name you recognized.

If you could manage to keep track of basic facts about this discussion you'd realize how off-mark this comment is, in a technical sense.

Foremost, its not my list. Sheepishly I have to admit that I didn't even recognize all of the authors Kristen listed. I've read some Card (thanks to her), Herbert and Stephenson. While I'm a mere dabbler, there was something utterly missing from 0wnz0red (NO, not more works and NO, not his entire works) that kristen's illustration seemed to capture (aside from my own complaints that, topically, it seemed, strangely, derivative of its own audience).

I shared it to get a real response from someone in the community (of which I have seen only glimmers because of all this name-calling/dismissal). I wonder if I hadn't posted admidst this whole suckpoppet business if--in context--my original psot would have seemed more tame. Maybe I would have achieved my result.

#657 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Agh, Voyageur.. I stopped watching after the nth repetition of "Oh look, we've found something that will get us home faster! No, wait, it kills bunnies, we must never use it again."

For the original Star Trek, I was pretty young and didn't register the women-as-decorative-objects message; what did stay in my head ever after was the one episode where they found a planet full of happy peaceful people and Kirk decided that they had to interfere because it was unnatural for people to not want to fight. That episode still bothers the hell out of me.

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 03:58 PM:

Bill @ 657... Well, you know, Kirk never took kindly to artificial Paradises, especially they're enforced by a computer that hides inside a cavern whose entrance is shaped like a dinosaur. And especially when the men have to wear white pompadour wigs.

#659 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Bill 657: Well, they were happy peaceful people who were slaves, IIRC. And anyone who wasn't happy and peaceful was [TECH]ed until they were happy, peaceful drones like everyone else.

If we're thinking of the same episode, that is.

#660 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #650 -

I don't recall Andromeda well enough to be sure, but I bet that's the arc that all the fans I knew at the time considered to be where the series jumped the shark. If it is, most of them blamed it on Kevin Sorbo getting more creative control, though I have no idea how true that is. I do know that when they started talking about it was right around the time I lost interest. I think it would have been the beginning of the second season.

Someone had a really excellent drug source for the last season. It made no sense to me at all. (Yes, I kept watching for at least two full seasons after it got uninteresting. I'm an optimist.)

#661 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:05 PM:

650: I thought "Elric at the End of Time" was Moorcock's final attempt to kill off the doomed albino (tm) - blowing up the universe a few times didn't work, so let's try making him utterly ridiculous.

Didn't work. Teen angst will never die ...

#662 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:16 PM:

The only interesting thing I know about Andromeda is that it started as Robert Hewitt Wolfe (of DS9)'s proposal for where to go with Star Trek after DS9: the bad guys win, the Federation gets trashed and all is lost except for one Starship, under gallant captain Kirk^H^H^H^H Hunt, saved by some [TECH] incident, which then has to rebuild the mythical Federation 1000 years later.

Given the rubbish the ST franchise put out since, leading to the current effort to restart from Kirk's early career, perhaps they should have listened to Wolfe.

#663 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Teresa?

Are you seriously trying to argue that a Nebula nomination qua Nebula nomination is an absolute guarantee that something isn't crap?

It looks to me as if Kristen is an SF reader and a teachable (if defensive) human being who doesn't like Cory's writing. The Boing Boing entitlement and troll explosion is a separate thing at this point. She and Yeago are acting like people right now. Yeago quite happily agreed to pay Xopher the $20 for recognising all the writers.

I disagree with her -- I haven't read the short in question, though I've very much enjoyed a lot of Cory's work and I think Little Brother is absolutely brilliant. But I think "The Nebulas are not the award they once were" and "Doctorow isn't Asimov" are reasonable positions for a human being and SF reader to hold, and not inherently dismissable as positions.

Of course, this doesn't mean it's reasonable or kind to go and post them on Cory's blog.

#664 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:38 PM:

@#658 and #659: my main recollection of the episode is Kirk speechifying about how "Men must FIGHT! A man who doesn't fight isn't ALIVE!" or somesuch. It would seem that the context I have forgotten changes the import of the speech somewhat, but remembered in isolation it's pretty disturbing.

On a different subject, with respect to award-winning authors: I've never really held with comparing writers to other writers, trophy-laden or not. A writer suits the wiring of your brain or they don't; why are we comparing kumquats and mangoes?

#665 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Bill @ 664... why are we comparing kumquats and mangoes?

Or muskrats and mosquitoes.

#666 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Jo - thanks. I agree with everything you just said.

Yeago - Look who's the devil now!

#667 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:44 PM:

#643 Niall
Worf, let's see, there's "Grrrrr", and, erm...

Good joke. Nice point.

#668 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Serge @ 665: Fruitcakes and fruitbats?

#669 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:46 PM:

I finally cracked. I went to look at Yeago's disemvowelled post on Boing Boing. It contains a long quote from Kristen's dismissive review, which I think is too reverential to Nebula winners of the past rather than too rude about Cory Doctorow, but then Yeago tags on this phrase:

"Forgive me if it seems like trolling."

There's only one possible answer to that: Non!

#670 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Bill @ 668... Batons and pâtés.

#671 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:04 PM:

- pitayas and potatoes?

#672 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:09 PM:

First Clifton Royston mentions Jai Maharaj (fruitcake!) and then Bill mentions fruitbats. Plate o' shrimp...

#673 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:12 PM:

While we're at it, let's not forget the OS episode with the justification for the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

#674 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:25 PM:

C Wingate @ 673... Which episode was that?

#675 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Re: the Star Trek discussion. I could happily watch series 3, 4 and 5 of TNG in a continuous loop (leaving out only a handful of dire episodes) for the rest of my days. Except that, now I've typed it, it sounds kind of hellish. Let's say instead that I could happily watch series 3, 4 and 5 of TNG on a semi-regular basis for the rest of my life. Some excellent sci-fi in there, and some wonderful acting and directing.

I can't comment on Voyager because I've never managed to watch a whole episode. Ditto Enterprise.

I've just started watching DS9 for the first time. Does it get better after the first series? I was a bit meh about most of the episodes. And, WRT to women in the Trekverse, I was incensed to hear Keiko being addressed as "Mrs O'Brien". What, we manage to survive as a species all those hundreds of years into the future, develop space travel and encounter vastly different intelligent lifeforms, and women are still taking their husband's name on marriage?

#676 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Now I really cracked: I went and read 0wnz0red.

I think it's very, very bad. Crap science and jaw-droppingly stupid characters wrapped up in a poorly paced story padded out to twice its natural length with Dilbert out-takes.

I now think Kristen's comments were extremely restrained on this particular story, although she does imply that Asimov, Niven et al. wrote on a different plane, and 90% of their output was crap too.

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Madeline Kelly @ 675... Keiko being addressed as "Mrs O'Brien".

And Mrs. William Riker in an episode of ST-TNG.

#678 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:39 PM:

Yeah, but the "Riker, Mrs William T" bit was useful for the plot so I'm not so offended by it (although I admit I do tend to snort and huff about it whenever we watch that particular episode). IIRC, from a story POV, they were delaying the revelation that Mrs Riker was in fact Minuet, a holoperson.

There's nothing plotworthy in Keiko taking O'Brien's name.

#679 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Madeline @ #675:

No, DS9 gets even worse after they lose the crib-sheets from Babylon 5 and don't know what to do with the Mysterious Aliens Who Think The Captain Of The Space Station Is A Religious Icon.

Wait until season 3 when a black woman appears as a merchant starship captain: you'll never guess what happens!

#680 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:42 PM:

...although, thinking about it, they only delay the revelation by a minute or two, don't they? Okay, I now find it as depressing as Keiko O'Brien.

#681 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:47 PM:

.

[posted from (probably faked) 128.221.197.20]

#682 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Madeline Kelly #675: I could happily watch series 3, 4 and 5 of TNG in a continuous loop (leaving out only a handful of dire episodes) for the rest of my days. Except that, now I've typed it, it sounds kind of hellish.

Not sure why, but that made me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

And OK, I shouldn't bother, but TheCynic said at #681: If you disagree with [Teresa] she mangles your post and that's no secret.

To which I say: stuff and nonsense. Most of us have disagreed with Teresa from time to time. I'd be willing to bet that Jo's #663 will keep its vowels. I've disagreed with things Teresa has said, and I even once got pretty shrieky on her husband, and to my knowledge I've never been disemvoweled. There are ways to do things, and ways not to do them.

#683 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:57 PM:

If you disagree with her she mangles your post and that's no secret.

BS. You usually have to be majorly rude here to get disemvowelled. You're almost always warned first, by one of us if not by Teresa.

BTW, if you want to argue BB's posting policies, please argue it over there.

#684 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Re: Voyager - they had problems with the Gilligan's Island syndrome. Several times they alomst find a quick way home, only something bollixed it at the climax.

One thing they assiduously avoided - travelling home at near c in normal space. In subjective time they would made it in a few months, and travel 70 years into the future to boot.

#685 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Madeline 675: There's still such a thing as marriage? People speak a language we understand? Homosexuality still makes people nervous (Crusher in the ep that introduced the Trill)? Clothing and hairstyles are comprehensible?

Militaries still exist? People still call their military superiors "Sir" or "Ma'am" depending on gender (except in a few episodes where they're both called "Sir")?

Families are still nuclear most of the time? Children do things in school that make sense to us? Women still carry babies in their bodies instead of using some much safer (not to mention less career-limiting) approach?

Even allowing for the language change that seems not to have happened, we can even comprehend what they're saying about their computers and their science—or even their jobs?

Humans from Earth still have races? (This one in particular is NOT the future I hope for.) Almost everyone marries a person of the same race? (Keiko and Miles are the only exception I can think of...in fact, interSPECIES marriages seem more acceptable than interracial ones...a human can marry a Betazoid, but a white human had better marry a white Betazoid.)

My point is that they tell the story to a 20th Century audience, and not to science fiction fans. In the particular case you cite, yes, that was silly, but I'd ascribe it to an unimaginative writer wanting to communicate that she was married to Miles. Yeah, it's sexist. But it's just one example of the many, many unlikely unchanged aspects of our world that are put in there without thought.

#686 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Madeline Kelly @ 675

Yeah, I really think it does get better. I can't get into it, really, without spoiling a bunch of stuff, but the Sisko is God thing turns out to be much more complicated than it looks at the beginning, and the villains are magnificent.

There's a fair amount not to love - among other things, they did a nice job on their holodeck-world, but they spent far too much time there - but there are some magnificent supporting characters (Garak, Kai Winn, Quark and Gul Dukat are absolutely wonderful) and Sisko turned out to be my favorite captain.

The first season he was trying too hard not to be Hawk. After that he came into his own.

#687 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Wait, O'Brien is Irish. I'll forgive the Star Trek crew a lot for putting an actual Irishman in the role instead of some Scottyesque fake.

Mind you, there was that foot-washing marry-a-clone episode of TNG which only needed leprechauns to make it frameable as a piece of Darby O'Gill Paddy-whackery, so perhaps we're only even with the TNG crew.

#688 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:06 PM:

[This message will self destruct.]

Alas, it won't. One of the mods will have to do it.

If only you'd self-destruct, the world would become a minutely better place. Unless you exploded or something—that might hurt someone. Dropping dead in your tracks is relatively harmless, however, and I urge you to give it a try.

#689 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Julia @686: Yes! DS9 turned out to be my favorite Trek of all -- after having nearly given up on the whole, you should pardon the expression, enterprise. Good villains, no saints. They did have difficulty trying to figure out what to do with Sisko -- because, of course, he was NOT a starship captain, he managed a space station, which is a whole other thing altogether, in spite of all the uniform and brass. But they did get it, IMO.

As an aside, Quark is my father's all-time favorite Trek character. He says he likes a full speed ahead rogue...

OTOH, I wish they would just red rid of the flipping holodecks. What, you're going where no ONE has gone before and you don't find it entertaining enough? Pfui!

#690 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:14 PM:

GET RID. Jeez, it's the pits to see the typo as you hit post!

#691 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Xopher @ #685: That's exactly the annoying racism I noted back at #573: it's not a picture of discrimination in the 24th century, it's the attitude that 20th century audiences couldn't handle a race-blind future. Picard's girlfriend might be black, or Asian or anything but another wasp, but no. Sisko must obviously fall for another American black woman, just like his dead wife.

And Quark, of course, being an ugly, sneaky, lying, money-grubbing little alien was always leching after tall white women (with spots). And short white women (with nose ridges). And white blackjack-table girls in metallic bikinis.

At least they didn't do Triumph of the Will.

cue:

#692 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Niall McAuley #679: I've been perturbed by the similarity to Babylon 5 as well.

Xopher #685: Yes, I'm aware of all the other improbable 20th century assumptions that underpin the Star Trek world, but I was writing about women in the Trekverse, as per the start of this particular off-topic discussion.

I'm also frequently irritated by the make-up masks all the female characters apparently want to wear on TNG and DS9, and the bias towards 'feminine' jobs for the women. Sympathetic, wishy-washy counsellor person? Female. Sympathetic, emotional doctor person? Female. Primary school teacher? Female. Gardener? Female. Enigmatic, wise person in the service industry? Female. I've been very much enjoying Major Kira, for not being part of this pattern. And Tasha Yar too, if only they'd known what to do with her when they had her. Obviously, I'm also irritated by the pushing of male characters into stereotypically male roles, but they do at least get more opportunities of shooting at stuff.

ethan: glad to have entertained you!

#693 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Emma #689 - I think Scott Adams pointed out that the Holodeck would be the very last thing that humanity would invent. After we built that puppy, we'd never leave it.

#694 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:21 PM:

And on Trek in general - it was only nominally about life in the future. It was really about late 20th century Americans in a 23rd century starship.

#695 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Niall @ 691

Quark was a caricature, but they did address it - the episode with his mom insisting on wearing clothes was a nice counterbalance to the surpassingly lame episode on TNG about Troi's mom finding the moral courage to get married naked.

Many of the characters developed into real (for the lack of a better word) people after they started out as plot contrivances. I found myself much more engaged by it than I had been by previous ST series, although I found it a little difficult at first.

#696 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:39 PM:

NelC@603 - bless you! I put that in my last post and then deleted it because I was starting to ramble. Yes, Phil Collins in Miami Vice. The line actually went: "Do you think I'm some kind of wanker? Some kind of tool?" And you're right, it was a bit of a shock back then (was it really 1984?) I find the idea of Phil Collins as the wanker Patient Zero rather charming, but I'm tempted to think the term might have crossed the Pond in 1946/47 with returning US servicemen who had been stationed here. Although in that case you'd think more British slang would have made it to the US.

Anyway, I'm sorry if this has bored anyone. I know it's been off-topic, but I saw the word being used ever-so-slightly out of context and I was interested in how it got there and how it had come to be adapted. And it stopped me obsessing about which of you is real and which of you is the figment of someone else's imagination.

Which is a concern, actually. I don't have the link to hand, but there's an article by Cory Doctorow where he describes Teresa as a `troll-whisperer.' It's a talent I don't have, so I'm left with the options - leaving aside the mods, people whose posts I'm familiar with over the past year or so of lurking, a couple of people I've bumped into elsewhere and Charlie Stross, who I saw in the flesh this weekend - of either accepting everyone as real or rejecting everyone as unreal.

My own opinion, for what it's worth, mirrors what some people have alluded to upthread. A blog is like inviting people into your house, and if someone does something in your house that you find offensive, you have a perfect right to take some action. Making Light's house: Making Light's rules. Boing Boing's house: Boing Boing's rules. Most people who post here, I think, would accept that quite happily.

I'm going to go and look at some pictures of LOLcats to take my mind off this madness.

#697 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Madeline @ #692: It's interesting to watch Roddenberry's original pilot for TOS, The Cage, later mangled into a two parter called The Menagerie.

The Captain was Pike, a wasp in the Kirk mode, but Number One, the exec, was a professionally unemotional woman. Not an alien, an actual woman. Wearing the same uniform as the boys. She also resorted to Extreme Force, and was Correct In Doing So, and only failed because of Mind Controlling Aliens.

All very different from what the studio let Roddenberry do in TOS, and what he felt like doing in the movies, or TNG.

#698 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:49 PM:

I always figured Keiko's Mrs.-ing reflected O'Brien's traditionalism.

Sorry, Yeago, for any aspersions cast. Calling me a lp dg makes you an asshole, but not a troll, so I stand corrected. Apparently, you win. Congratulations.

BTW: you aren't going to win much goodwill by continuing to be an asshole. But as you grow older, you'll learn that lesson on your own.

In the future, always assuming you don't actually enjoy being called a troll, perhaps you'll have the good sense to look at a conversation such as this one, say, "Goodness me, there appears to be a troll about," and do something more ... refined ... than to leap into a community you've never seen before after linking in from a vitriolic troll-related debate, try to defend yourself from action taken in the other forum, and be an utter asshole with everyone in sight, including the owner of the venue.

But I guess everyone needs a hobby. (Jerk.)

#699 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Dave @ #696: I'm not a figment of someone else's imagination, I'm all yours baby!

Julia @ #695: A caricature, yes, but don't you recognize the caricature? A subhuman, grasping, lecherous, ugly, sneaky, dwarfish, manipulative Enemy Within? The alien who understands finance as you never will? And wants your women?

The only way to address all of that would be to expose the Federation as Nazis. See Blake's Seven.

#700 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 06:56 PM:

I think I could have figured you'd be a DS9 person, Miss Emma.

#701 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:00 PM:

CosmicDog @ #638, that was very well said. Thank you.

Serge, here's an opportunity for you to mock me. I liked Enterprise just for Scott Bakula. Yeah, I know, ok? ::hangs head in abashed bemusedment::

ethan, I am rather fond of your infrequently shrill self.

#702 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:03 PM:

Niall @ 699

I guess you're referring to the Ferengi=Jew theory?

I never really did see that, but I can see that if that's how it struck you it would be seriously offensive. Granted, I'd find that interpretation much more understandable in the episode of TNG where Troi's mom was kidnapped by the asshole Ferengi than I did in DS9, I do think Quark evolved past that simplistic characterization a few years in.

#703 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Niall@699 - maybe you are, maybe you're not. I honestly don't know, and it disturbs me. No offence, but this has been a thread which has made me wonder.

But that's my problem. I saw a review of a box-set of Voyager DVDs recently which characterised the various Star Trek captains thus: Kirk was the explorer, Picard was the diplomat, Cisco was the cynic, Archer was boring (which I thought was rather harsh - I found myself having an increasing amount of time for Enterprise as the series bedded in and I'm sad that it was cancelled) but Janeway was the leader of men.

#704 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:44 PM:

I've noticed that the division between DS-9 fans and those who do not like it at all is as divisive and irremediable as the Mac vs Windows one, so I will just say that I liked DS-9 and B-5 both, quite a lot, saw no particular similarity between them when taken as whole entities and not abstract descriptions, and found neither as satisfying a television SF experience as Farscape.


And I'd rather watch reruns of a whole season of either, covered with honey and staked out on an ant hill in the hot sun while viewing, than five minutes of the new "Flash Gordon"

#705 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Dave 703: If you think THAT's disturbing, try this: maybe everything you think you know is actually a paranoid fantasy you've been in since you were tortured nearly to death by British fascists.

And if you feel an inexplicable urge to put on a Guy mask, don't blame me.

#706 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:49 PM:

JESR 704: Farscape is the best SF that has ever been on TV, IMNSHO.

The best you can say for Flash Gordon is that it isn't the worst.

#707 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Re: authors, Herbert's The Santaroga Barrier is passable horror, only a little, um, cheesy (sorry ;-) ).

#708 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:09 PM:

Xopher - being tortured to death by British fascists I could cope with. (Spot glaring lie here) This not knowing who's real and who isn't is doing my head in. Maybe a couple of years from now I'll look at this and cringe at how naive I was, but right now I find all this trollery and sockpuppetry and - a phrase I learned this weekend - astroturf really disturbing.

I'd like, if I may, to put my two-pennorth into the debate. Someone seems to have disagreed with Cory Doctorow mentioning on Boing Boing that a story of his had been translated into another language (which I have no problem with) Cory replied to that. The original poster seems to have replied saying, `Okay, fine, no offence.' And everything after that seems to me to have been madness and now I don't know who's real and who isn't. For someone who's still a bit of a newbie to blogging it's a profound shock.

I'm sorry to sound like such a naif, but I've been looking at troll/sockpuppet battles here and elsewhere and it honestly makes me wonder why people would invest such a huge amount of time creating these alternate identities, and why anyone would take them so seriously.

#709 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:12 PM:

One interesting note on the Ferengi...

The name is similar to the word Franj, an Arab term for Westerners. By some accounts the similarity in pronounciation is not a coincidence. Don't know enough about DS9 to know whether any associated concepts carried over.

#710 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Dave @ #708: It is a bit odd that anyone would go to the trouble of creating muliple personalities online, but it's not really my problem, or yours, right?

If you'd like to respond to a posting with something constructive, it really doesn't matter if you're responding to me or a troll or a sock-puppet or a real boy, your response is from a real person, and that's what we are here to read.

Trolls can stand being ignored and being mocked, what they really hate is being Useful. So, have at them!

#711 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Niall@710 - I agree, it's their problem, but common courtesy demands that I weigh every comment equally, and I don't have the filter Teresa has. Are you real, are you a sockpuppet? I honestly don't know. I'm afraid that I'm defaulting to a position where I suspect more or less everyone.


#712 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Dave @ 711 (hee hee!)

Why does it matter? Suppose I am a fake, an illusion, a figment of your imagination. Suppose everyone you've ever met online is.

No-one here cares if my name is really Niall or yours is really Dave. What do you want to say? I admit that I hardly ever misquote Shakespeare at home, does that mean I'm a fraud online because I do?

#713 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Dave Hutchinson #711:

Speaking as a longtime lurker who's been popping my head out of the shadows here slightly more often than I used to, may I offer a suggestion in figuring out who's real? The 'view all by' button uses some mysterious algorithm to find all the posts given people have left here. If the list of comments is relatively long and none of the contents look crazy, the person in question is probably not a sockpuppet.

(Incidentally, I don't understand how the algorithm works. People do seem to change their names -- occasionally to 'Person X Sees Spam On' -- but the posts still show up on the original name's 'view all by'. Does anyone know?)

#714 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Rymmenhild @ 713: if you look at the URL for view by all, you can see it is based on the email and not the name.

#715 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 08:54 PM:

/looks at URL
Or, er, it at least uses the email as a reference.

#716 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Goodness me 698, but I thought that admission was very big of you. You even handed me my ass well in your followup advice, which was all grand. And then you somehow ended that apology by calling me a name. Hmpf. I prefer just to focus on everything before that.

648 B. Webber - Your understanding of these things is at least as developed as hers and enjoyable to hear. Thank you for your recommendation--I won't, for a while.

Dean, I don't really agree with the 'your blog, your house' analogy. I'd say my private-friend's email list is a lot like my house and there I invite who I want, and nix topics I find detractive.

A blog is much more like a soapbox in a crowded town square, and short of some serious harassment I don't really see why you'd turn away feedback of all kinds.

Also, if you're going to keep a blog that occasionally makes a mockery of censorship, I think you ought to be extra careful to make sure your domestic and international policies line-up right--to a point that's scary.

#717 ::: dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:04 PM:

715+ comments in 5 days!? Ahh, kids today have it too easy. When this kind of argument happened back in the day of printed fanzines, it took months or years for it to play out in LoC columns printed in tiny tiny type in the back of about 13 fanzines, spawning nearsightedness and multiple lifelong blood feuds among the faithful, instead of playing out in less than a week online and with a higher word count besides. (sniffles in a sad middle-aged way) I kinda miss print fanzines. An' rec.arts.sf.written, for that matter. (brightens up) But disemvowelment is very entertaining!

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Steve C... Voyager - they had problems with the Gilligan's Island syndrome

Paris as Gilligan, then? Does that make 7 of 9 into Mrs. Howell, Ginger or Marianne?

#719 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Tania @ 701... Serge, here's an opportunity for you to mock me. I liked Enterprise just for Scott Bakula.

...must... not... laugh at... Tania... must NOT!...
(even though it's tempting to do so, after you made fun of my liking Wing Commander.)

#720 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:11 PM:

Re: #714/715

Thanks, Bill!

#721 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Anybody remembers Space: Above and Beyond? Me, I enjoyed it, but that's not much of a recommendation, eh, Tania? Eh, ethan?

#722 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:03 PM:

I think it was J.B.S. Haldane who wrote "The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it's queerer than we can imagine."

Real SF authors take Haldane's quote as a challenge. You can try, damnit.

I think the Trek producers and script editors and stable of screenwriters are utterly cowed by the challenge. Either they figured that they're not up to the task, or that the audience would suffer allergies when presented with true strangeness. So they turned to the production of what Stephen Brown once referred to as comfort food fiction: Moral fables and war stories and personal growth stories and tepid, clumsily disguised statements about contemporary issues.

So in the last episode of TNG, we have uber-intelligence Q telling Picard that all this exploration stuff is bollocks and that he should be examining his feelings. And the hero of DS9 goes to mystic hoo-hah land to commune with the spirits and explore his destiny. And young scientific genius Crusher drops out of school to do the deep-space equivalent of chewing peyote and following a yaqui sorcerer around the desert.

#723 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:14 PM:

@ Niall McAuley # 669

Now I really cracked: I went and read 0wnz0red.

I think it's very, very bad. Crap science and jaw-droppingly stupid characters wrapped up in a poorly paced story padded out to twice its natural length with Dilbert out-takes.

I now think Kristen's comments were extremely restrained on this particular story, although she does imply that Asimov, Niven et al. wrote on a different plane, and 90% of their output was crap too.


Thank you! It's funny how some people actually say, "well I haven't read 0wnz0red but..." you know, Cory is awesome! I'm sure he is awesome! I like plenty of the things that he does. I just didn't like 0wnz0red, and the miffed academic in me felt wronged by the award nomination.

As far as what I imply about the others, go back and read # 584: "They were simply the first handful of widely-read Nebula awarded/nominated authors that sprang to mind. I don't have to be a fan of these people to believe that they technically have more reason to be awarded/nominated than Mr. Doctorow did at that point in his writing career, or for that particular story."

I will probably never go back and read any of those authors again. I read what I needed to to get by knowing about them. (I have to admit that Buy Jupiter RULED me in seventh grade.) I mentioned those authors in the original thread to someone who had not done very much reading in life.

Who hasn't pointed someone in the direction of "classics" when afraid they might be too dense to read the good shit?

#724 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:14 PM:

JESR @ 704, Xopher @ 706

I agree completely with both of you in all respects. "Hawkmen" my rosy-red rectum!

#725 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 722... the Trek producers and script editors and stable of screenwriters are utterly cowed by the challenge

Let's not forget that what they produce is what they think the public can handle. And I'm not sure they're wrong, regarding the public. ST's various incarnations may be something that you and I have read about countless times. To most people, ST is borderline far out. Heck, I'd be interested in a TV series that's as alien as Stephen Baxter's Xeelee stories, but the ratings would be abysmal and, considering how expensive this stuff is to produce, it'd get axed quickly.

#726 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:16 PM:

@ Niall McAuley # 669

Now I really cracked: I went and read 0wnz0red.

I think it's very, very bad. Crap science and jaw-droppingly stupid characters wrapped up in a poorly paced story padded out to twice its natural length with Dilbert out-takes.

I now think Kristen's comments were extremely restrained on this particular story, although she does imply that Asimov, Niven et al. wrote on a different plane, and 90% of their output was crap too.


Thank you! It's funny how some people actually say, "well I haven't read 0wnz0red but..." you know, Cory is awesome! I'm sure he is awesome! I like plenty of the things that he does. I just didn't like 0wnz0red, and the miffed academic in me felt wronged by the award nomination.

As far as what I imply about the others, go back and read # 584: "They were simply the first handful of widely-read Nebula awarded/nominated authors that sprang to mind. I don't have to be a fan of these people to believe that they technically have more reason to be awarded/nominated than Mr. Doctorow did at that point in his writing career, or for that particular story."

I will probably never go back and read any of those authors again. I read what I needed to to get by knowing about them. (I have to admit that Buy Jupiter RULED me in seventh grade.) I mentioned those authors in the original thread to someone who had not done very much reading in life.

Who hasn't pointed someone in the direction of "classics" when afraid they might be too dense to read the good shit?

#727 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:17 PM:

I
misemphasized that quote of you. Sorry.

#728 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:21 PM:

704-706-724... And their version of Barin is ghastly. But that's nothing compared to what they did to Ming. No, I don't want to hear about the banality of Evil. 'Banal' is not what people watch something called Flash Gordon for.

#729 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Hi all! Back for a brief update. In reverse order:

Yeago, 486,
I don't know what's in my USPS database, except that Midori wanted to know some things about it
I was curious where you found it, what you used it for, that kind of thing. You mentioned in your blog post that you added some data to it? What kind, and how?
[btw, thanks Xopher, 478, but I do recognize my name disemvowelled. Though I probably should add a recognizable consonant pattern.]

Dave Hutchinson, 464,
you're welcome! Always a delight. And yes, blaming it on the Vicar of Dibley is a bit much. Though I do wonder how much natives of the UK realize that the American idea of Britain is based on a very small subset of beeb sitcoms. (For instance in the 1990's, I know of one Midwestern farmer's wife who's knowelge of Britain was almost entirely shaped by watching Are You Being Served, and Dr. Who.)

Rikibeth, 461,
O is for Outlaw sounds about right. I've been a fan since "G is for Gumshoe" - I think I picked it up during a very boring Midwestern summer when I was stranded far away from home. I love those books, particularly that part of the series. Remarkable stuff for the time - perhaps it still is? I'm not as dedicated to the mystery genre as I am to SF.

clew, 445,
I will point out the inverse view: that genre literature is required to facilitate a known story and its expected pleasures; reputable literature is supposed to play better poker, and not tell you what pleasure to expect. Hence the great surprise that Austen and Melville are funny. In literature, you find your own adventure. (All complicated by the greats that started genres.)
That is very well said, and it would be rude to make up something that I disagree with just to continue the conversation. So, er, you're right, and I especially like that you pointed out that a great many started out as genre. Do you suppose they all did?

I dislike 'reputable literature' for one thing: since it doesn't tell you what to expect, you end up with clunkers like The Grapes of Wrath or dystopias like 1984, where if you go in cold, you have a most uncomfortable time. But you're right, most of the time that's a feature, not a bug.

Ah! I have run out of time.

#730 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Stefan #722 - I have no expectation at all that commercial television, an utterly separate medium from written sf, will ever achieve one percent of the level of strangness or sense of wonder or any level of ideas that written sf regularly demonstrates. Occasionally, very infrequently, you get a sense of something that might approach it, like a dim reflection in distorted mirror. A couple of episodes of TNG came within hollering distance - Tin Man, for example. A little of Firefly came close. Some of the old Outer Limits. But it was damn little in any case.

And I don't think that the writers and creators were unable. They know what flies and what doesn't.

Remeber Roger Price - "If everybody doesn't want it, nobody gets it."

#731 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:40 PM:

kristen,

misemphasized that quote of you. Sorry.

you have to go back in & put another begin-italic(/emphasized) tag after every paragraph break. took me awhile to figure out, too.

#732 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Serge, #627: Count me as another DS9-lover. Voyager lost me about halfway into the second season, with the Amazing Physics-Defying Pickup Truck. I did catch a few later episodes, enough to recognize what a fabulous addition to the cast 7 of 9 was -- and that the writers were actually using her correctly as "the person who can identify the assumptions no one else even notices they're making" -- but it was too late. Enterprise lost me with the theme music, which said to me as clearly as anything ever has, "This is not Star Trek."

TNG took a couple of years to really get going (this isn't unusual with an ensemble show), but season 2 included the amazing "Measure of a Man", which stands out like a flare against the otherwise-mediocre background.

Teresa, #644: I submit Terry Pratchett for your missing #10.

Bill, #657: Ah yes, "The Apple". Compare and contrast with TNG's "The Masterpiece Society", which IMO is a much more mature riff on the same plot. At least at the end of the latter, Our Heroes are still wondering whether they did the ethically right thing in destroying the engineered society's social parameters, even though they were doing it to save their lives. At the end of "The Apple", it's congratulations and mutual admiration society all around.

Madeline, #675: See my above comment about ensemble shows. DS9 takes about a season and a half to really get rolling; seasons 4 and 5 are absolutely stunning; and then they get into the whole "Dominion War" arc, and the really interesting stories get shoved into the B-plots while Stuff Explodes center stage. All this IMO, of course. But do give it a little time to come together.

Julia, #702: Ferengi aren't Jews, they're Libertarians! Think about what we saw on Ferenginar: you have to pay for every single thing you use or touch, right up front. Toll roads, toll elevators, toll communications -- it's a Libertarian paradise.

#733 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 10:52 PM:

midori @ 729... I know of one Midwestern farmer's wife whose knowledge of Britain was almost entirely shaped by watching Are You Being Served, and Dr. Who

That must make for one very strange conception of Britain.

#734 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:05 PM:

Lee @ 732... Amazing Physics-Defying Pickup Truck

I must say I missed that one. Anyway, my voyage with Voyager was the reverse of yours. I watched most of it, from the beginning, but mostly because there wasn't anything else around on TV. Then 7 of 9 was brought on board and that's when I finally got interested. It wasn't that memorable, most of the time, but I liked the overall feel. And it did have episode A Year in Hell... As for DS9... It was rather oh-hum at first then I completely dropped out when they made Worf and other Klingons the center of interest. Eventually, I came back, when they brought in Garak, and the Dominion, which gave the stories a focus... Enterprise? Like I said before... zzzzzzsnorezzzzzzz

#735 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:40 PM:

Steve C @684, Serge @718: Star Trek Voyager as Gilligan's Island.
That kicked in for me when I saw episode 1:

The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
the [*] would be lost,
the [*] would be lost.

On the whole, I liked Enterprise. I liked that it didn't start with Federation exceptionalism; this was reflected in the theme, which sounded more like a country and western song than the Federation march of Star Trek TNG.

Of course, I didn't like silly stuff like atmospheric dogfights between the starship and Nazi fighters** (but if you're going to watch, I guess you've got to take the rough with the smooth). I was disappointed to see it go.


* Voyager doesn't scan. Vger does... suggesting an alternate timeline movie where the crew is captured by the Borg and sent back in time to assimilate Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

** That may have even been a 'jumping the shark' moment.

#736 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Another vote for Scott Bakula (sticks tongue out ffffft to you, Serge!) :-)
And I like the theme of Enterprise. I want it played at my funeral....

#737 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:24 AM:

Xopher, I think it's sweet that you're making an effort to domesticate Yeago, but petting the raccoon that's gotten loose in the garage won't turn it into a kitten. You'll just get bit.

#738 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:30 AM:

Julia, of course DS9! Real people with a bite to them.

And as far as the Ferengi go, I always thought somebody with a nasty sense of humor was taking the mickey out of the libertarians...

#739 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:32 AM:

I gave up on Enterprise when a mysterious portal appeared in the bowels of the ship, and that moron Trip and his sidekick clumb the hell into it without telling a single person about it. Ooooh! I'm getting mad right now just thinking about it.

#740 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:55 AM:

About the "wanker" thing:

I remember, back in what I think would have been the early 80s, an episode of (forgive me) Mork and Mindy.

All was proceeding along in its own way, when a character was introduced, named "Mr Wanker". Nobody in the studio audience laughed, giggled or tittered.

Me? I nearly ruptured something.

#741 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Rob @ 735: Try dropping the "The" and then "Voyager" should scan OK... not perfect, but easier to explain than Vger.

Of course, now you're going to have to write the rest of it.

#742 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:37 AM:

#730: For the most part I agree. The occasional intriguing episode makes it all the more frustrating.

I do think some of the writers were clueless, or just not trying. Voyager seemed to get a lot of that.

Argh, the wasted opportunities! There was a TNG episode in which characters raced all over digging up clues to some cosmic secret while others tried to wipe them out. And the secret -- nyy gur uhznabvq enprf unq n pbzzba naprfgel -- was revealed at the end of one episode! That could have been season-long arc.

I do think that the trend in sophistication and adeptness is upwards. Scripts are being written by geeks and by the sons and daughters of geeks. Folks who few up with computer games and D&D, immersed in the whole geek milieu.

There was an episode of The Simpsons in which, as a throw-away gag, Homer uncovers and tosses away a robot son he'd given up building before providing it with legs. It drags itself away, looking pathetically over its shoulder. A thirty-second gag the theme of which might have taken Twilight Zone an entire episode to explain and deal with!

#743 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Mary Dell @ 739

I'm glad someone else thinks Trip was a moron. I wouldn't give him the keys to the car, let alone allow him to control a macroscopic amount of antimatter. And that's what was wrong with most of the Trek shows: stupid, stereotyped characters. DS-9 managed to escape that for part of its run*, and even managed a few interesting stories. And, yes, I developed a bit of a crush on Nana Visitor (Major Kira); I can full well understand why Alexander Siddig married her, for however briefly.


* Yes, it did have some real flaws, but there were at least a couple of years there where it was the best stuff that Rodenberry ever stuck his name on**

** We will pass mercifully over any mention of "Earth: Final Conflict".

#744 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:39 AM:

midori @ 729... I know of one Midwestern farmer's wife whose knowledge of Britain was almost entirely shaped by watching Are You Being Served, and Dr. Who

Hmm, I wonder if her knowledge of Canada would come from one of the Degrassi shows and Red Green? It's a thought for me to ponder as I prepare to go to bed.

Emma! ::high fives:: Yes!

Serge, I'm glad that Wing Commander has a staunch defender in you. And if you ever want to take in the delight that is Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter, drop me a note and I'll pop it in the mail to you. Then you can knowledgeably twit me about liking that movie.

#745 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:43 AM:

the Ferengi always struck me as a parody of yuppie conservatives in the early Reagan years, remember? The little remoras who cobbled together whatever vague understanding of Ayn Rand, libertarianism and the finer social points of calvinism they could without sullying their transcript with a social science course and turned it into a secular religion of personal entitlement.

It was funnier before they were running the country.

#746 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:45 AM:

dan@717: rec.arts.sf.written is still around, you know. I read it every day (not all of it, to be sure).

#747 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:44 AM:

Emma... sticks tongue out ffffft to you, Serge!

Today's young people, no manner. As for Enterprise's Bakula... I liked him, but the whole crew was so bland. I had been looking forward to the show because, after years of ST-TNG going around in an era when the Federation is so civilized. so well explored, we'd be going back to the basics of Star Trek, and to stories of pioneers going into the Unknown, in fact embracing the Unknown(*) - the kind of stories best exemplified in ST-TOS by "The Corbomite Maneuver". We got anything but pioneers and explorers. And people from the Future kept popping in, which undermined any sense of the Unknown. And the Vulcans were so rude.

------

(*) Then, after a one-night stand, Unknown would wake up in the morning and find that her I'll-love-you-forever Captain was gone. But I digress.

#748 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:46 AM:

Niall@712 - ah, you're right, I'm taking this stuff way too seriously. Glad to have met you.

Rymenhild@713 - thanks. Yes, someone else mentioned that. I tried it on one of my posts, which was a sobering experience.

Midori@729 - I know of one Midwestern farmer's wife whose knowledge of Britain was almost entirely shaped by watching Are You Being Served, and Dr. Who. Oh my.

#749 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:47 AM:

Tania @ 744... drop me a note and I'll pop it in the mail to you

Yes, I'm interested. Foolish one, providing me with ammo with which to laugh at you...

#750 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:54 AM:

Adrian@740 - There is also, and I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, a Jack Vance novel called Servants Of The Wankh, which looked a bit startling on the shelves at WH Smith.

#751 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Dave @ 750: You're not wrong. It's volume 2 of the Planet of Adventure series. The Omnibus edition from Tor hides the title well enough that you can read it in public.

#752 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:19 AM:

Serge #733: Not at all, Britain is entirely populated by Time Lords who spend most of their time in the menswear department....

#753 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:27 AM:

Serge @ 747: At first, the people from the future gave me a strange kind of hope. I hadn't seen any Enterprise when I started hearing whining fans go on and on about inconsistencies with other Trek flavours. About, particularly, how with all that history and all those models and pictures of previous ships named Enterprise, nobody had previously heard of Archer and crew and their vessel.

When I saw the pilot a few months after it aired and they mentioned "Temporal Cold War" I thought to myself "I know how they're going to end this." I figured they were establishing a time war at the start to give them the freedom to boldly write stories that could ignore previous Trek; not gratuitously or frequently, just when Story dictated that things would be better that way. Then in the final season, I figured, all the time war plot threads could be drawn together into a situation that threatens life as we know it on a scale never before attempted on TV and Archer and crew would overcome incredible odds and save the entire universe, sacrificing their very existence - past, present and future - so that everyone else could live... erasing the timeline of the timewar utterly along with their own to create the timeline of Kirk and Picard... and hope, with perhaps only a few faint echoes of what was lost appearing occasionally in small places like the names of starships.

I guess I was wrong. Stuff I have read recently suggests that there were originally no real plans for the time war beyond the fact that there was one.

#754 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Steve @ 684 One thing they assiduously avoided - travelling home at near c in normal space. In subjective time they would made it in a few months, and travel 70 years into the future to boot.

Then a quick Star Trek IV slingshot 'round the sun and they've been gone no time at all.

#755 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:33 AM:

Jack Ruttan @ 304: I don't think there's any need to apologize-you didn't say anything that I, and everyone else, hasn't thought before. But you seemed to want a response, so I tried to explain my point of view on the issues you mentioned.

"P.s. Was that Martin Luther King in the "Stand Up" speech in your "blowback" link? Being dead in 1968, how could he have been talking about Afghanistan?"

No, it was *digging around on google* Rev. Graylan Hagler, a long-time human rights activist. (And, of course, one hell of a public speaker.)

#756 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Dave @750, Paul @751:
Oh, dear Lord, I was hoping no one was going to bring that up.

I was librarian* in the SF&F society during my junior year abroad to St Andrews, a role that included having the library of the club in one's dorm room‡. Said library was composed of books people were willing to give away**, plus donations in fulfillment of pledges and threats†.

At some point, every librarian seemed to have read every other book, and picked up Planet of Adventure. Ex SF&F Soc librarians bond over the consequent trauma to this day.

-----
* Sans orange fur, before anyone asks
‡ It was a favorite office for foreign and exchange students, who were generally long on shelf space and short on possessions. The previous holder‡‡ had left his library in the Netherlands.
** The complete works of Robert A Heinlein
† "Elect me vice president or I donate the complete Shanarra series."
‡‡ Whom I married, but that was long ago and in another country††
†† And the book is read.

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:50 AM:

Paul Duncanson... That's pretty much how I dealt with Enterprise's inconsistencies too. When you have so much time-travelling going around, it's bound to have an effect. But that didn't explain why their Vulcans were such a rude and emotional bunch. Yes, an explanation was eventually given, but it was lame and, well, inconsistent with established 'facts', unless the time-travellers had also messed with Vulcan's History.

nobody had previously heard of Archer and crew and their vessel

Treue. Then again, just because something has not mentionned doesn't mean it's not going on. ST-TNG suddenly brought up the Kardassians, without any inkling that there was war brewing with those guys. As for Archer never having been mentionned... One of the earliest episodes of ST-TNG had Picard look up NCC-1701-D's archives, where he discovered that an earlier incarnation of his ship had been captained by one James T. Kirk. Wouldn't that been like a career Army person of 2007 who has to read a book to find out that, during the Second World war, the Armed Forces were once under the command of one Dwight D. Eisenhower?

#758 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Abi... "Elect me vice president or I donate the complete Shanarra series."

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

#759 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:53 AM:

Steve C. @684:

One thing they assiduously avoided - travelling home at near c in normal space. In subjective time they would made it in a few months, and travel 70 years into the future to boot.

Um, they were an entire quadrant away from home, i.e. circa 90°, say about 40,000-ish light-years. So at near-C, they would have found themselves 40,000 years in the future when they got back. Which would make an interesting story, but I think Poul Anderson already wrote it. And Larry Niven, come to think.

#760 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:57 AM:

abi #756: Shouldn't that be 'and besides the book is read'?

#761 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:57 AM:

Fragano @ 752... Britain is entirely populated by Time Lords who spend most of their time in the menswear department...

Come to think of it, the first episode of Eccleston's Doctor Who did begin in a department store.

#762 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:00 AM:

Serge #761: As long as he didn't run into Captain Peacock...

#763 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:04 AM:

The one Trek series I really like is DS9, but I must admit I also sort of enjoyed Voyager. If not for the reasons its producers intended. It was just so nuts.

There was one episode where the ship's corridors got scrambled by a spacial anomaly, and the crew spent the entire hour wandering around lost, while Janeway started talking in gibberish. In the end they decided to do nothing and wait for the problem to go away by itself. It worked. That was the kind of show it was.

One of my favorites was the time the crew invented a shuttle that could accelerate to warp 10, at which point the shuttle would momentarily be everywhere in the universe at once. Cool!

So they test it... and after the pilot returns he starts turning into a salamander. Which is completely awesome, because how often do you see a television series plotted in total non sequiturs?

The guy kidnaps Captain Janeway and takes off in the shuttle, and when the crew finds them they're a couple of salamanders living in a puddle. Just to cap it all off, three little baby salamanders pop out from under a rock.

I can only imagine what that show's writers' conferences sounded like.

#764 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:12 AM:

I read the first several dozen comments at the top; they were about Boing Boing. I read the last few dozen comments at the bottom; they were about Star Trek. I'm not at all sure I want to look at the middle and find out how the transformation occurred. Something tells me that on that path lies madness.

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:17 AM:

Fragano... As long as he didn't run into Captain Peacock...

If he Doctor had run into Mrs. Slocombe instead of Rose, his Companion would have been a purple/yellow/green/pink-haired middle-aged woman.

#766 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:26 AM:

Mr Humphries: "Ooh, a screwdriver, is it? I had one like it meself but the batteries gave out..."

#767 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:28 AM:

[I've completely lost track of this conversation. I did a quick read, so I'm pretty sure no one has mentioned this. But if I'm being redundant, I apologize.]
#697: IIRC, Roddenberry eliminated Number One from TOS because she didn't test well among viewers. There may have been studio interference, but the impression I got from reading about the creation of TOS is that public wasn't ready for her yet. i.e., Yet another case of how science fiction is really about the present.

Along those lines, last week's EscapePod was Robert Silverberg's "What We Learned From This Morning's Paper", originally published in 1973. (The podcast was my first experience with the story.) What struck me when I heard it was how telling it was about life in 1973, and the treatment of women at the time.

I don't think Silverberg's intent was to make me think, "Wow, women were consistently marginalized, and denigrated thirty-five years ago." This story, written today, might have more or less the same plot, but all the details would be different. (e.g., maybe the men would still marginalize and denigrate the women, but, to my eventual horror, I might not notice for another 35 years because the behavior is so intrinsic to me and my time.)

I was more drawn by the portrayal of then current day, than by the fantastic element. (As a result, I found the story very well written, but quite appalling...)

(Caveat: While I was alive in 1973, I wasn't in a state to assess the treatment of women at the time. I'm assuming that Silverberg, being Silverberg, got it unfortunately right. The setting is then current day suburbia, not Gor.)

#768 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Dave @750: When Steve Jackson Games put together their Planet of Adventure sourcebook, they changed Wankh to Wanek, "at Jack Vance's request" according to the webpage.

Also Dave @696: Funny how memory changes things around, I have such a clear image in my mind of Collins saying my version. Maybe he used the word twice?

As far as transmission via US WW2 servicemen goes, I suppose it's possible. The OED lists it as since 1950, and it's bound to have been around a while before its first publication. I note, though, that Wanker was the maiden name of a character in Married... with Children circa 1987, which would fit in a timeline of Collins introducing it to Hollywood.

#769 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:43 AM:

"Elect me vice president or I donate the complete Shanarra series."

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Given the rest of the discussion, I'm pretty sure that should be:

KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:45 AM:

Serge #765: ...who constantly worried about her pussy.

#771 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:46 AM:

#757 Wouldn't that been like a career Army person of 2007 who has to read a book to find out that, during the Second World war, the Armed Forces were once under the command of one Dwight D. Eisenhower?

Nah, it would more like the captain of USS Lexington (CV-16) discovering that an earlier ship by the same name (USS Lexington, CV-2) had once been commanded by Ernest J. King.

#772 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:09 AM:

#755 Heresiarch, Thanks for the response. I just haven't done the discussion board thing this intensely in a long time. Heady stuff. Glad people are sounding happier, even though the topic has veered off into outer space.

#773 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:21 AM:

My favorite Star Trek nonsequitur: when the TNG people get trapped back in time in "The Trouble with Tribbles" and they see how Klingons used to look:

"What the hell happened Mr. Worf?"
"It was an accident. We don't talk about it."
*

*Quote not exact and later you find out that they tried to give themselves Vulcan mind powers? Or is that my wishful thinking? Hey look what happens if you try to make yourself psychic!

#774 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Midori - I was curious where you found it, what you used it for, that kind of thing. You mentioned in your blog post that you added some data to it? What kind, and how?

I use it at work for verification of user input (matching city and states to make sure sane addresses are going into the database). The data I add to it is new zips as I see them missing (my users often find them).

#775 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Serge @ 757: A fair point if we were just talking about not knowing the names of people from previous crews but in ST:TMP and at least one TNG episode we are shown displays of previous ships with the name Enterprise which include 20th century space shuttles and aircraft carriers but which do not include NX-01. They seem to have an overdeveloped sense of history when it comes to ships with that name. It's odd that they would forget that one.

(Both displays are shown here).

#776 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:53 AM:

James @ 771: The problem is that Kirk and his Enterprise did a lot that was of tremendous significance to Earth, the Federation, and Starfleet. Critical military actions, explorations, saved the universe a few times, prevented imminent destruction of human civilization -- the guy must have been a descendent of James Nicoll and Teela Brown. It doesn't seem plausible that Picard wouldn't have been at least slightly familiar with the name.

#777 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Stefan #722:

Yeah, the fact is, SF readers tend to have *way* more interest in weird, out-there worlds than most viewers of a show like Star Trek. All kinds of otherwise sensible plot threads never get pursued, because they're just too odd, and even mundane stuff like interracial or gay romance is too weird for the target audience.

I liked DS9 best of all the ST series, for all its quirks. Sisko struck me as the strongest and most human captain, though I didn't watch _Enterprise_ enough to compare. (Jake and Quark and Garak were more interesting than the main crewmembers other than Sisko, IMO.)

#778 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:09 AM:

"What the hell happened Mr. Worf?"
"It was an accident. We don't talk about it."

My opinion on that one was that they should have done Michael Dorn up in the old-style Klingon makeup (i.e., make him look tanned* and give him bushy eyebrows) and had nobody say word one about it. Would have been vastly cooler than the stupid Klingon-human hybrid thing that I think ended up being the canon explaination.

*Which wouldn't have been tough, given his natural skin color.

#779 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Emma @ 773: "We do not discuss it with outsiders!" The effect was later explained as the result of a hasty attempt at genetic tinkering (after the Klingons were scared by their having been easily beaten by "enhanced" humans in Enterprise season 4) but I don't think they ever mentioned the specific goals. Trying to get the Vulcan mind skills was the purpose of the Romulan project in Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally, of course. Trek Geeks Ya Us.

#780 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Joel @779: thanks! I knew I was mixing up something or other... It's been a loooong time for this lapsed Trekkie (maybe not a lapse as much as, well, adulthood, one does grow out of that particular fandom, but I think never loses the appreciation altogether). Now that Diane Duane book was a bit of allright...

#781 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Emma @ 773... Hey look what happens if you try to make yourself psychic!

You lose your headbumps?

(But you eventually get them back, based on what John Colicos looked like when Kang showed up on DS9.)

#782 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Foot in mouth there -- I don't mean to say that a person can't be a functioning adult and a Trek Geek, Joel. I meant that I didn't make it. Although I keep hoping someday they will make the series Trek could be...

#783 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Abi#756: "Elect me vice president or I donate the complete Shanarra series."

Serge#758:"NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

And out sticks the neck:

My wife liked the series, and since she supplies the household with a steady stream of mostly fantasy books, I read 'em too. No great literary critic am I, but I thought they were okay. Recently re-read CJ Cherryh's "Hellburner" and I want to read more Belter stuff again...

Then again, there are few books I've not managed to finish once picking up. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago" got put down about halfway through as being too depressing to read on a bright sunny beach. The other was the second of two of Harry Harrison's "Bill The Galactic Hero" books. I barely choked through "Planet of the Robot Slaves" and couldn't bear to pick up the next one, and I cannot (and won't try) to recall the title... {shudder} I understand it's supposed to be a spoof series, but it didn't work for me. I like some of his other stuff - hmm, apparently there's a Stainless Steel Rat or two I missed (thanks Wikipedia!). Maybe I'll sniff them out at Uncle Hugo's next time I'm there...

More on-topic (for varying values of on-topic): My wife and a good friend both introduced me to Babylon 5. Really like that series!

Later,
-cajun

#784 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:48 AM:

NelC #759 -

Um, they were an entire quadrant away from home, i.e. circa 90°, say about 40,000-ish light-years. So at near-C, they would have found themselves 40,000 years in the future when they got back. Which would make an interesting story, but I think Poul Anderson already wrote it. And Larry Niven, come to think.

D'oh! You're right!

#785 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:26 AM:

cajunfj40...Heck, whatever works for you, says the guy who likes Wing Commander, At The Earth's Core and Waterworld.

I loved the first season of Babylon 5, but, to me anyway, it lost something when they got rid of Sinclair and when Delenn became a human hybrid. But I did get to see Harlan Ellison play one of the station's maintenance people.

#786 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Babylon 5 lost me very quickly. And when they began to blatantly rip off Tolkien (the humans trained by elves (Minbari) are even called Rangers!) I just couldn't gag on it any more.

#787 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Xopher... I take it that you never saw B5's spinoff Crusade. My favorite scene is when the ship encounters one of the big beasts that inhabit hyperspace. The beast pushes itself very tightly against the ship, leaving the Captain perplexed until he realizes it's trying to mate. It went downhill from there.

#788 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Yeago is a name. Jerk is a diagnosis. Sorry if it rankles.

Regarding the zip code database -- isn't the USPS database definitive? Are there actually missing zipcodes in that? Not that I've looked, in a very long time indeed, just wondering idly; good data work is a fine thing to see one way or the other.

#789 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Serge 787: No, I was mercifully spared that image.

Until now.

#790 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Xopher @ 789: If it helps, the ship's crew were also kind of squicked about it. The creatures were called "Fen", and Galen the TechnoMage described them: "They're barely sentient. They're attracted to bright, shiny objects, but they lose interest quickly." In other words, the entire thing was intended as a humorous poke at SF fandom.

#791 ::: Wrenlet ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:32 PM:

#789, 790:

Internet Lore has it that sequence was JMS's response to a network note requesting more sex. Also, if I remember the line correctly, the captain's response was an offended, "Is that thing HUMPING MY SHIP?!?"

I howled laughing :D

#792 ::: Network Geek ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Xopher @ #48:"lemon pickle"

Lemon pickle? Really? Where? How? How much?
I am intrigued by the entire concept of this "lemon pickle" of which you speak.

#793 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:35 PM:

re: zip database - It isn't freely available (as a download or webservice), at least not from them.

#794 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Madeline, #692: That similarity was the subject of a fair amount of fannish controversy at the time. Who was imitating who, and was it deliberate or coincidental? But realistically, if you put an ensemble cast into a space station and try to tell ongoing stories rather than the episodic ones that typified ClassicTrek and NextGen, you're going to get some similarities no matter what. I'll bet there are other examples around, but no one brought them up because they weren't contemporaneous with B5/DS9.

Serge, #734: Quick summary: the Voyager crew encounters a piece of space-junk that turns out to be... a pickup truck from Earth circa 1937. They beam it onboard, and:
1) The tires don't instantly shatter.
2) Once it thaws out, there's still gas in the tank, water in the cooling system, and oil in the crankcase. It starts right up.
3) The battery still works, and the cheap-ass AM radio manages to pull in a signal thru planetary atmospheric interference that all of Voyager's instrumentation can't overcome.

Yeah, right. That went well into "hang by the neck until dead" territory. Never mind the equally mind-boggling plot twist that this brand-new pickup truck was supposedly owned by a black sharecropper...

Rob, #735: "Voyager" scans just fine there if you make the first 2 syllables into eighth notes. Dropping "the" (as Paul suggests in #741) puts the accent on the wrong syllable and makes it sound weird.

Stefan, #742: Remember, they didn't do season-long arcs in TNG. Every episode had to be a stand-alone, except for the rare two-parter. Hence the jokes about the "Star Trek Magic Reset Button" -- none of the episodes ever took into account anything that had happened in other episodes. DS9 was much better about this, but even they fell prey to it sometimes.

John Scalzi, #764: Think of it as a determined attempt to stop talking about trolls and other unpleasantness.

John Chu, #767: I haven't read that story. Now I'm curious; it sounds as though you had the same kind of epiphany with it that I had with "Shore Leave".

#795 ::: Yeago ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:40 PM:

737 - Yeah? Oh yeah? Well at least I don't use frames. =).

#796 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Episode synopsis here.

Gideon: "I want it off my ship. I want it off my ship right now. Navigation, full power to thrusters."

Galen: "Thrusters? Look, Captain... you're giving it all the wrong signals."

#797 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Lee @ 794... Is that the episode where Voyager finds Amelia Earhart stranded on an alien planet?

#798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Lee @ 794... Speaking of Star Trek epiphanies, I had one a few years ago whne I caught Galileo Seven. That's when I decided that McCoy is really annoying. The shuttle has crashed on an alien planet, with very hostile lifeforms circling round, and all that Bones does is complain to Spock while the latter is trying to focus on fixing the engines so that they can take off before more of them get killed.

#799 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Joel @796: Now that is FUNNY!

I have a large tolerance for those "ripoffs" that tick off Xopher. A great deal of the time they are meant as homages, IMO. It's just when the creators start getting mouthy about how their wonderful-never-before-experienced-in-the-history-of-mankind magnus opus is NOT to be considered in the same breath as (whatever they are ripping off) that I get testy.

#800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Emma @ 799... It's just when the creators start getting mouthy about how their wonderful-never-before-experienced-in-the-history-of-mankind magnus opus is NOT to be considered in the same breath as (whatever they are ripping off) that I get testy.

Why do I find myself thinking of George Lucas?

#801 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Serge @ 800: "Why do I find myself thinking of George Lucas?"

Did Gilgamesh have a lightsaber? Hunh? HUNH?!

#802 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Bill... Nope. Gilgamesh used a sword-shaped cattleprod, and it turned him invisible, if I remember correctly. By the way, I once asked Phil Foglio who he'd see playing Gilgamesh's dad in a live-action movie. He came up with Arnie Schwarzenegger. His other choice was Christopher Walken.

#803 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Serge @800: Do you? Really? I have NOOOOOO idea..... ;-)

#804 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:45 PM:

abi: ‡‡ Whom I married, but that was long ago and in another country††
†† And the book is read.

Whoot!

Joel Polowin: Trek Geeks Ya Us Double Whoot!!!

#805 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Given the time frame it seems more likely that DS9 and B5 were brought together by a shared gestalt about storytelling and the like than by imitation.

re 745: No, no, no. The one thing the Ferengi are (or think they are, anyway) is utterly practical. There is absolutely nothing utopian about them, which is actually rather refreshing. Even when they are "noble", it is for entirely practical reasons.

#806 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:00 PM:

Emma @ 893... Really. Every day I have to live with this curse of an intellect that is too sharp for a human skull. Riiight.

#807 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Serge,

It is not fair of you to use your super-human chess master brain to anticipate and respond to posts that haven't even happened yet, i.e. Emma @ 893. Please, leave some mystery for the rest of us.

Also, there is that whole time-space continuium thing to consider...

#808 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Emma @ 736: And I like the theme of Enterprise. I want it played at my funeral....

Why not, it was played at the show's.

#809 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:20 PM:

If Emma misses her cue and doesn't post a comment at #893 we'll have to retcon it and hope the Eschaton doesn't notice....

#810 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:28 PM:

CosmicDog... NelC.. The aliens who live inside DS9's wormhole would be mystified by your obsession with linear time.

#811 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Huh. You're right, Yeago, I'd forgotten that little tidbit of information from when I researched this very question a decade ago. Well -- good show! You're showing amazing initiative given your humble beginnings as a sockpuppet!

#812 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Serge - #802

His other choice was Christopher Walken.

Needs more cowbell.

#813 ::: Ron Henry ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Network Geek in #792: "lemon pickle"

>Lemon pickle? Really? Where? How? How much?
>I am intrigued by the entire concept of
> this "lemon pickle" of which you speak.

Indian lemon and/or lime pickle (or mixed pickle which can also include lotus root slices, mango fruit and peel, peas, capers, etc.; often called "achaar") is one of those classic love-it-or-hate-it condiments. Some folks think it's delicious, others consider it an inedible miasma of ammoniac, mustard-gas-soaked rotten fruit and vegetables. (The first time I ate it I thought it was inedible but was strangely drawn to it in later visits to Indian restaurants and now consider it one of my favorite tastes and think no Indian food is complete without it.)

#814 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Steve C... Cowbells?

#815 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Wesley #763: how often do you see a television series plotted in total non sequiturs?

Well, there is that one TOS episode that starts out with the mystery of a planet exactly like Earth, that then completely discards it in favor of a story about long-lived children who die when they become adults.

#816 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Serge #814

More Cowbell is an SNL sketch from 2000 with Christopher Walken.

More Cowbell

#817 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:28 PM:

805: I tend not to think of yuppies as a utopian group.

#818 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:35 PM:

I always regarded the Ferengi as a way to bring in things like greed and money and commerce into the Trek universe. Since it had been established that money as such did not exist in the Federation (something I found a little hard to believe), the Ferengi served as a way of bringing those universal motivators into the stories, and poke some fun at them.

#819 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:41 PM:

I appreciated Voyager much more after I realized that it was Xenophon's Anabasis.

#820 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:53 PM:

NelC@768 - ...they changed Wankh to Wanek, "at Jack Vance's request". I didn't know that

I'll admit my memory of Miami Vice is a little hazy, and he could very well have used the word twice.

Someone mentioned an episode of Mork & Mindy which had a character called Mr Wanker. If it was in one of the later seasons that would have put it in the early 80s.

#821 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:56 PM:

I'm all for a Bill of Rights for blog users. I think it is all too easy for someone to post outlandish and non-sourced opinions on the web and delete anyone who repudiates them.

Yes, if you don't like a blogger's opinion you can start your own, but that doesn't prevent the disinformation from being broadcast. Unless the reader can see the rebutal on the same page as the conjecture, then the information is not whole or complete. There should be an arbitration process for rejected users, and a clear history of what lead to that expulsion.

The Bill of Rights could start as a simple agreement that large blogs adhere to, and perhaps it would eventually be adopted by the rest of the web.

We're entering an age where speech is free, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be seen. In other words, if popular sites censor live debate, then there will be many people who are only informed by one side of an argument.

Let's not allow the internet to go the same way as talk radio...

#822 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:02 PM:

I'm in agreement with the transmission of "wank/wanker" from British and/or Canadian and/or Australian military to US military earlier than its appearance on TV. In my little corner of the the Air Force we were using it in the 70s. (My little corner of the AF only goes back that far.) "Well that meeting was a real wankfest!"

#823 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Aw, Charlie. Since you announced you were leaving and flounced out two days ago, the conversation has moved on.

Your moment has passed.

#824 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:14 PM:

I can't buy "wanker" as coming over with Phil Collins - it's much more likely to have been transferred across the Atlantic with the Sex Pistols or similar in the 70s.

#825 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Charlie, (If that is your real name, which I very much doubt since you're posting irrelevant rants contra the idea of people posting irrelevant rants being censored, which is generally a sign of someone who thinks that more irrelevant rants are in themselves a good thing, not an opinion that most people with actual names and histories online are keen to have their online personalities associated with, and really a very transparent tactic to try and employ here in the blog comment arena, particularly in the comments at this particular blog where the issues of sockpuppetry and disemvowelment come up so very regularly due to Ms. Teresa's expertise (not to mention her paid employment) in those fields) bugger off!

#826 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:45 PM:

Niall, #825: *stares in awe* Well done! You could perhaps have inserted a few more levels of nesting, but dayum, that's impressive.

#827 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:23 PM:

Tracie@822 - That's interesting. Thank you.

Bill@824 - Good point, although I don't know how great an impact the Pistols and the other punk bands had in America. We'll never know the truth, of course, but I've been wondering whether the scriptwriters on Miami Vice didn't ask Phil Collins for a `typically' English phrase for `asshole,' as he was playing an English character, and he provided them with `wanker.' Or they heard him using the phrase on set and decided to incorporate it into the script.

If this conversation is irritating anyone - as I can imagine it would - please say something.

Niall@825 - Cor.

#828 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Charlie: Wha? there is nothing in that idea which works.

How will those who refuse to abide by it be sanctioned? To whom will appeals be directed? How will the arbiters be chosen.

And what makes blogs separate from any other medium. I can write all the letters to the editor I like, nothing compels them to publish them. They die, unborn, when that refusal happens.

Why must I, as a blogger, be forced to put up with nonsense; and the repudiation of same?

I, as a blogger, don't have to, and I won't. Post anon (to me) without some sort of nom de net that I can use to keep track of them, and they never get to the front page to be deleted.

I am not obliged to let people stink up the joint, and I refuse to be compelled to do it, just so someone else can say things, in my space.

Let them start their own paper.

#829 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Niall 825: Awesome. You're just on a hot roll today, aren't you?

Dave 827: Why would this conversation irritate anyone? I've seen a linguistic paper on the semantics of the verb 'take' as in 'take a shit' and 'take a piss', and how they're subtly different from 'take a shower' and 'take a bath'.

Note that *'take a wank' is ungrammatical.

#830 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Serge, would you like me put in the package my SNL: Best of Christopher Walken DVD? You might get a good laugh out of The Continental, with you being an exotique Candian...

#831 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Terry 828: Sigh. I think Charlie was adequately answered by julia at 823 and by Niall at 825...in fact I think the last two words of the latter post are a sufficient response to Charlie.

DNFTT. Please. Don't we have better things to discuss, like Star Trek? For example, I like DS9 in part because a friend of mine got to be on it (playing a homicidal maniac Trill who was a previous host of Dax).

#832 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:54 PM:

831 Xopher

Hey, I don't remember that - how did that work? I thought trills only passed on when their hosts died.

#833 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Xopher @ 829, I'm not really on a roll, but I am a bit tense. I'll tell you all about it next week.

Meanwhile, Hamsters! Keep checking your pants!

#834 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Tania #830: Serge is from Candia? I had no idea he was a Cretan.

#835 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Well, Fragano, some people at the office do think that about me. Then again, sometimes I have that very opinion about the guy in the mirror.

Tania... Yes, I'd be interested in that too, if that's OK. Thanks.

#836 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Xopher: When I wrote it (as opposed to when it posted) there was no response.

I do think Niall did a most apropos summation.

#837 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:58 PM:

Niall, #825 Charlie, (If that is your real name, (rest of awesome rant left in pristine purity, for not even the font needs changing, you speak a mighty volume!)

I think it probably is - he sounds like a Charlie. A right Charlie.

#838 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:00 PM:

julia 832: True, but the causality can go either way.

In the episode in question, Jadzia Dax is having troubling visions and disturbing dreams. Eventually they find out Dax has repressed the memory of being hosted by this artistic murderer (played by my friend Jeff McBride). You only see Jeff's face at the very end, when she decides to embrace the hidden host, whose memories she still has, and he appears to her in one of the Trill grottos.

#839 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Would anybody have any recommendations for ST-TOS novels that might still be in print and which wouldn't suffer from a comparison with non-ST space adventures?

#840 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Steve C. @812: Needs more cowbell.

See, I thought that was what they said when they said 'cello'.

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:08 PM:

Xopher @ 838... he appears to her in one of the Trill grottos

"Stop it."
"Stop what?"
"That sound."
"What sound?"
"You're trilling again."
"I'm a Trill. Trills trill. Besides, I was really humming."
"Right. What's for supper?"
"Krill."

#842 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:17 PM:

Serge @ 839 – Not sure about in-printedness, but two which should be relatively easily found second-hand, and which come generally well-recommended are John M Ford's How Much for Just the Planet? (Star Trek: Original Series #36), a lighthearted one, and The Final Reflection (Star Trek: Original Series #16), a work done from the Klingon POV and only slightly connected to TOS characters.

#843 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Mez @ 842... Thanks. I'll look for How Much. I've had Mike's The Final Reflection for years and enjoyed what it did with the Klingons far more that what the TV shows and the movies eventually did. No big surprise, and not just because Mike was the author - I think comments have been posted on this site about how the written fiction is often better.

#844 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:35 PM:

#828 Terry Karney - it's another one of the inevitable fallacies... namely that any solution requiring universal adoption is feasible.

#845 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Serge, it's been years and years since I read it, but I remember Diane Duane's Spock's World being mighty fascinating.

How Much for Just the Planet? and The Final Reflection are among the gajillions of books languishing on my Must Read As Soon As Possible shelf.

#846 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:46 PM:

Serge 841: Krill, with beer to swill and pickles of dill. They'll eat their fill, then watch The Big Chill and Kill Bill.

#847 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:49 PM:

Xopher... Pickle on the grill, powdered with grist for the mill.

#848 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:54 PM:

So, on ML, it's "fifteen vowels of fame", right? heh.

#849 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 10:58 PM:

ethan @ 845... Diane Duane's Spock's World

Thanks. I don't know if it's still in print. If not, it should be easy to find in a used-book store. Didn't Vonda McIntyre write a novel about the Vulcans's first contact with Earth in the 21st Century. I think it was called The Final Frontier. A friend recommended it and I trust her taste. (Except whee movies are concerned, what with her liking 1983's Krull.)

#850 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:02 PM:

Serge @ 839: Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally and The Romulan Way; Janet Kagan's Uhura's Song; Barbara Hambly's Ishmael. There's some correlation with people who've written good non-Trek SF, but this isn't entirely reliable -- Ghost-Walker, with Hambly's name on the cover, is pretty awful (and she lays the blame on a publishing process that involved many people and groups mucking around with the manuscript, in turn).

#851 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:12 PM:

From julia:
Your moment has passed.

I didn't realize I ever had a moment, but if you've got a second..

Niall McAuley: Charlie, (If that is your real name, which I very much doubt

No, Charlie is not my real name. Your doubt is well founded.

since you're posting irrelevant rants contra the idea of people posting irrelevant rants being censored

If you think Star Trek discussions are more relevant to a topic related to censorship, and moderation then we're probably at an impasse...

, which is generally a sign of someone who thinks that more irrelevant rants are in themselves a good thing,

Again, please show me how my rant is irrelevant to the original topic.

not an opinion that most people with actual names and histories online are keen to have their online personalities associated with,

I take it you're not much of a privacy advocate, but let me give you a little scenario. Suppose I was a budding fiction writer (I know it's a stretch, but you can do it) and I used my real name here. Now suppose one of the illustrious people here read one of my manuscripts and blackballed me for one of my comments... Would I really want to put myself in a position for this to happen?

and really a very transparent tactic to try and employ here in the blog comment arena, particularly in the comments at this particular blog where the issues of sockpuppetry and disemvowelment come up so very regularly due to Ms. Teresa's expertise (not to mention her paid employment) in those fields)

I think at this point you got a little too carried away with the run-on sentences, because I am not sure what you are getting at.

bugger off!

I did that already.

Terry Karney: Charlie: Wha? there is nothing in that idea which works.

Thank you for at least responding to my ideas with substance. I am not being sarcastic when I say that it means a lot to me.

How will those who refuse to abide by it be sanctioned? To whom will appeals be directed? How will the arbiters be chosen.

I think it could work in one of several ways, but here's my idea:

I think there should be a non-profit clearing house for creating and maintaining online entities. I give the clearing house my real id, and then I associate one or several web personalities with it.

Over the course of my web use, I give each website I register with my credentials from the clearing house. The website can look at my general status as a user and know my standing in the web world. They can then decide whether to approve my membership or not.

If the website I am using has a problem with me as a user, they suspend my account at their site, and raise a complaint to the clearing house. Prior to opening their website to members, the website has agreed to keep a clear history that follows complaints generated about any specific user.(as per the bill of rights) They have a history, not unlike Wikipedia, of the comments made by the user before they were moderated.

Well established and respected members of the web community are chosen each year to act as arbiters for any dispute that arise. They review the evidence given by the site, and rule on whether the handling of the user was fair or not.

If the user is found guilty then they receive marks against their history. If the site is found guilty, then they receive marks against their status which eventually could mean they lose membership in the non-profit. The website has every right to refuse acceptance of any user, but after so many favorably arbitrated users are rejected they will lose their membership.

I know there would be quirks to be worked out, but this is my general model. I think it would also be a positive for web sites wanting to allow anonymity while not allow the trash off the street in.

And what makes blogs separate from any other medium. I can write all the letters to the editor I like, nothing compels them to publish them. They die, unborn, when that refusal happens.

I think what makes blogs separate are the people who write them. Many people thrive in the blog world because they are not constrained by editors, or advertisers. Many of them are people who love free speech and loathe censorship.

Cooperation with such a bill of rights would be voluntary, and it wouldn't be for everyone. But if a user like myself was looking for a place that coveted free speech, then they would know right away if the site adhered to the bill of rights.

Why must I, as a blogger, be forced to put up with nonsense; and the repudiation of same?

You're not forced to do anything, though some users might be more wary about participating at your site if they think their comments could disappear without an explanation. (as they so regularly do at BoingBoing)

I, as a blogger, don't have to, and I won't. Post anon (to me) without some sort of nom de net that I can use to keep track of them, and they never get to the front page to be deleted.

Would you be more likely to adhere to a Bill of Rights if you knew an organization had verified that indeed you were dealing with a real person? (Even if you didn't know their real name?)

I am not obliged to let people stink up the joint, and I refuse to be compelled to do it, just so someone else can say things, in my space.

Let them start their own paper.

Again, that is your choice, but personally I think that is a poor one. There is a difference between raising a stink and never showering. Open dissent is necessary because it gives the information in the blog credentials.

I'm not saying you should let a free-for-all happen in your blog space, but dissent is a necessary recipe for any blog.

Anyone's judgment or reasoning can be flawed, and that is why it is important to allow people who may not necessarily be your friend review your work. It keeps us all honest, and it makes information more valuable.

That's just my two cents worth, but thanks for giving me an actual response.

#852 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:15 PM:

I refer everyone to Xopher's #831.

Star Trek.

#853 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:16 PM:

Serge: That's the evening with no frills.

#854 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Terry Karney... That's the evening with no frills.

Still there's the bill, written with a quill.

#855 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Terry: But plenty of thrills.

#856 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Quoth the Charlie: You're not forced to do anything, though some users might be more wary about participating at your site if they think their comments could disappear without an explanation.

And who, precisely, would that inconvenience? Given the comments which disappear (or which are otherwise moderated) are the equivalent of taking a dump on someone's living room floor, why should any self-respecting blogger give themselves a moment's grief if such a correspondent decides to give that particular blog a miss? Good bloody riddance, say I.

#857 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:29 PM:

Joel Polowin... There's some correlation with people who've written good non-Trek SF

Greg Bear wrote one, I think. Corona?

#858 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:32 PM:

vian 856: Star Trek. For really real. Star Trek.

#859 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:34 PM:

vian: And who, precisely, would that inconvenience? Given the comments which disappear (or which are otherwise moderated) are the equivalent of taking a dump on someone's living room floor, why should any self-respecting blogger give themselves a moment's grief if such a correspondent decides to give that particular blog a miss? Good bloody riddance, say I.

What I and several others are arguing is that those deleted or garbled comments are not always the outhouse you make them to be.

It is our opinion that several comments at BoingBoing have been moderated not for their terseness, but for the dissenting opinion that they hold.

If such a clearing house existed then this matter could be easily arbitrated. BoingBoing would have a history of the what's and why's of the actions taken against the user, and the clearing house would know they were dealing with one user and not several sock puppets.

If you were correct, and the moderated comments were straight out of the toilet, then the user would be disciplined and BoingBoing would not have to deal with them again. If BoingBoing were wrong, then the user would have a non-partisan source backing up their claims.

The will of a self-respecting blogger to want to participate in such a plan would be directly proportional to their desire to covet free speech and open discussion in their blogs.

#860 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:39 PM:

Charlie (pace Xopher, there is some hint of substance): Who's gonna pay for it, and what do I get? The answer is no-one, and nothing.

I'm a big boy. I can keep things fair just fine. I propose the rules, and I keep them. Your system is untenable because people (like yourself) will be offended. I don't need to keep any of my personae in escrow. I just need to keep them consistent (this is part of how Teresa, and myself, spot those who are playing the sockpuppet). If I have worries about the secondary effect of my words (and given my position, I do) I can choose a nom-de-net, and keep it. Whenever I need to speak, out of bounds, I can.

And no one can subpoena my name.

But your method, not so much. What if Cory were chosen to arbitrate.

It's a system (like Slashdot's) which allows the system to be gamed.

My blog, my rules; same as when I ran a paper (our paper, our rules. We published them, and if we broke them we lost what mattered, our good name). That means more to me than someone being willing to submit to some outside code.

But you disagree. You want to be able to stand on your "rights" in a place where what you have are privileges. You want to stand on them, and use them to stink up the joint in the name of, "fair comment."

As I told Xopher, Niall summed it up better than I could.

And now I am done with you, no longer; as Xopher justly chided me, to feed the trollish.

#861 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:42 PM:

#858 ::: Xopher

Well, indeed. Only I'm not a fan. But other than that, absolutely. Hell yeah, even.


*ducks and suspects that this is the sort of dissent which will not be tolerated :)*

#862 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:49 PM:

vian 861: Off with your head!

Oh, wait...

So, you write about how you're NOT a fan of Star Trek.

#863 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Charlie, I think that you are looking at this issue from an individual level, whereas many of us are looking at it as a community affair. The right of one person to be heard is not as important as maintaining an atmospsphere in which that hearing can be done. Honest disaggreements at parties sometimes acquire appalling volume, and it makes the party a less good party. The issue with the blog world is that you can come in and say some regrettable things, and they stick around, they don't become words said hours before. It means that people are constantly tripping over "fightiing words" and their limbic systems get all activated, and what would in a normal party setting be something that had happened hours ago is actually still happening right now, still triggering fights and breeding ill will. Moderation is how most blogs and other online forums handle these types of conflicts. If you see the disemvoweled posts as an attept to get the conversation past the yelling bits, but still leave a placeholder in the conversation, maybe you'll see them differently. It has strong similarities to a good hostess taking away one of the participants in a loud argument gracefully by asking him about his glass dog collection, while some other smart party-goer casually mentions the marathon that the other person in the argument is currently in training for, and striking up a neutral conversation. Doesn't always work in real life, either, but it's worth a try.

#864 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:59 PM:

vian 861: Off with your head!

Sheesh - glad I ducked!

Oh, wait...

So, you write about how you're NOT a fan of Star Trek.

I just amn't. To say more would be perilous close to the recent Harry Potter imbroglio. Nothing against them as like it - hell, I'm a Star Wars tragic, I've got no cause to be uppity - just not my cup of warm liquid.

But, interalia, I once watched in the same week an ep of ST-TNG and Babylon 5 which both had plots/subplots dealing with the ethics of medical intervention when the patient is against it. One took a quick, weaselly feel-good way out where there were no conseqences of anything for anyone, and one took a good hard look at the thing, including the consequences.

I'm not holding B5 up as the apex of episodic skiffy, mind you. But even it was more satisfying ...

#865 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Not a cheap evening of swill?

#866 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:04 AM:

Xopher, forgive me, but this is swill, and I can't chill, for I've had more than my fill.


Charlie: You are advocating contraints on what I allow on my blog. Fuck that. I have enough shit to put up with, without allowing twits like you to foment the sorts of crap we've had here. To make it possible for people like you to crash the party and force me to deal with outside decisions about what I have to put up with.

No. It's a false use of the term, "reasonable" because in an ideal world, it might be acceptable but people aren't ideal. Some will game the system to make it all about them; and to pervert what might be an otherwise useful discussion into crap. So far I've not resorted to banning the assholes who don't pay attention to who I am, or who say I'm immoral/lying/unwilling to see the truth, but you know what, I'm not going to give up the power to do that to someone who can see (as easily as I) the ways in which the system can be abused.

And any such system as yours, has ways in which it can be gamed. It's not workable, and the person inconvenienced is the decent blogger who is acting in good faith.

#867 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:07 AM:

Terry Karney: Charlie (pace Xopher, there is some hint of substance): Who's gonna pay for it, and what do I get? The answer is no-one, and nothing.

The users and sites pay for membership in the organization. With popular websites requiring such an id from the clearing house, this would drive membership.

I'm a big boy. I can keep things fair just fine. I propose the rules, and I keep them.

That's great, and so long as your rules are clear and consistent, then I doubt any of your users would have any problem with your moderation style.

For websites like BoingBoing that have no such listed rules, or agreements with their users it's a little tougher to know what the bounds are. Are users allowed to give dissenting opinion there or not?

It would be your choice to choose to participate, just like it would be your readers' choice to participate in your site even though it did not adhere to the bill of rights.

Your system is untenable because people (like yourself) will be offended. I don't need to keep any of my personae in escrow. I just need to keep them consistent (this is part of how Teresa, and myself, spot those who are playing the sockpuppet).

Inconsistency is part of being human, and generally only type three's try to be otherwise. I would much rather trust a consortium with that judgment.

If I have worries about the secondary effect of my words (and given my position, I do) I can choose a nom-de-net, and keep it. Whenever I need to speak, out of bounds, I can.

There might be sections of certain sites that do not adhere to the bill of rights that allow anonymous posting. There will undoubtedly be other sites that do not adhere to the bill of rights at all.

For many of us, we don't have the luxury of speaking out of bounds on certain web sites. If our opinions dissent from the normal group think then we are ridiculed, garbled, or banned. You only have to read the tone of the responses to my last few messages to see evidence of such.

And no one can subpoena my name.

There will be plenty of opportunities to separate the real you from an anonymous id you choose, but if you participate on a section of the site governed by a bill of rights, then you had better be yourself.

But your method, not so much. What if Cory were chosen to arbitrate.

Honestly, I don't know anything about Cory except that he is an advocate for free speech and that he blogs on BoingBoing. I got banned not for writing anything about Cory, but for protesting the deletion of messages.

It's a system (like Slashdot's) which allows the system to be gamed.

I would prefer any system over a totalitarian one.

My blog, my rules; same as when I ran a paper (our paper, our rules. We published them, and if we broke them we lost what mattered, our good name). That means more to me than someone being willing to submit to some outside code.

Some Blogs are too powerful for their good name to be harmed. BoingBoing simply deletes the comments of those who dissent and leaves no evidence. If someone diggs a comment about them then their rabid fans quickly bury it. There is no real dissenting against a staple of the blogging community.

But you disagree. You want to be able to stand on your "rights" in a place where what you have are privileges. You want to stand on them, and use them to stink up the joint in the name of, "fair comment."

I agree with you, my presence on any site that I don't own is a privilege. What I am suggesting is an organization and a bill of rights that sites can voluntarily agree too that protects the free speech of users, and websites from "trolls and sock puppets."

And now I am done with you, no longer; as Xopher justly chided me, to feed the trollish.

I believe that I am given a calm and reasoned response to the people I am communicating with tonight. You believing that I am doing otherwise could possibly be mistaken as inadvertent support for my idea.

#868 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Lydy: The issue with the blog world is that you can come in and say some regrettable things, and they stick around

That's why, for years, I didn't write letters. I was afraid things I said would linger for years.

I'm past that now, but it was a great fear.

#869 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Does Galaxy Quest count as Star Trek? Because it should. And it contains Alan Rickman, whom I hope will be able to reprise his role from Dogma as Metatron in the movie of The Amber Spyglass (the second sequel to The Golden Compass), only this time with the proper bits restored (be fb V jbhyq nffhzr sbe Zef. Pbhygre'f jvyrf gb unir jbexrq ba uvz).

(As another Rickman-based tangent, I note with some bemusement that the upcoming movie of Sweeney Todd will be something of a HP Death Eaters' reunion, with Snape, Bellatrix, *and* Pettigrew all in major roles.)

#870 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:20 AM:

That's why, for years, I didn't write letters. I was afraid things I said would linger for years.

I'm past that now, but it was a great fear.

Oh, how you talk. I think that's the main reason my dissertation is languishing - my neophyte mistakes will be fixed there forever, in the eyes of the great and the good. This is, regarded rationally, pure egotistical delusion - no one important would ever read my thesis anyhow, but that train of thought is not motivating either, so I try to supress it.

I'm encouraged that you got past it, though. It means that one can.

#871 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:25 AM:

"TruthFriction" AKA "Charlie" argues falsely and mendaciously.

This "Bill of Rights" of his would just hand over those blogs foolish enough to subscribe to it to the trolls and the flamers. It would drive out interesting, intelligent, and thoughtful discourse.

#872 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:26 AM:

#869 ::: Julie L. Does Galaxy Quest count as Star Trek?

But, but ... I liked Galaxy Quest ... as much because the portrayal of fen was sympathetic, at least compared to the usual, as for the joyous riff on Great-Adventure skiffy. And there is, as you rightly note, Alan Rickman. Although not nearly enough.

#873 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:33 AM:

Lydy Nickerson: Charlie, I think that you are looking at this issue from an individual level, whereas many of us are looking at it as a community affair.

Thank you for not only responding to me in a polite manner, but for making some very good points. I am indeed looking at this from the plight of the individual.

The right of one person to be heard is not as important as maintaining an atmospsphere in which that hearing can be done.

Though I think there are times when what you say is true, I do not believe it is the general rule. If the hearing atmosphere is one that rejects dissenting opinions, then that one voice is more important than the group think that surrounds it.

Honest disaggreements at parties sometimes acquire appalling volume, and it makes the party a less good party. The issue with the blog world is that you can come in and say some regrettable things, and they stick around, they don't become words said hours before. It means that people are constantly tripping over "fightiing words" and their limbic systems get all activated, and what would in a normal party setting be something that had happened hours ago is actually still happening right now, still triggering fights and breeding ill will.

You have made a brilliant point here. Sometimes words are removed from blogs not because they are dissenting so much as they are infuriating. Tone and disposition go a long way when making a persuasive argument.

Yet, the ambiguity sets in when one tries to define what "fighting words" really are. Are fighting words cursing and stereotypical statements, or are fighting words simply giving an opinion that the crowd will no like?

For instance, could my words here tonight be considered fighting words simply because others are so vehement against them, or am I simply trying to calmly express an idea?

Moderation is how most blogs and other online forums handle these types of conflicts. If you see the disemvoweled posts as an attept to get the conversation past the yelling bits, but still leave a placeholder in the conversation, maybe you'll see them differently.

I think that is another good suggestion. Perhaps comments on BoingBoing were removed for that very reason. The problem is that many of them have been deleted and I am unable to tell one way or another and must rely on my memory.

Perhaps I either need to build or use an existing site that monitors blogs for changes, and keeps a running history of what moderation or censorship has occurred. I'm not sure of the legality of such a site, as I would be storing content that I did not create. It might have to be done on the individual level.

#874 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Xopher #611: The torture episode ("There are four lights!"—and he admits later that he actually believed there were five) didn't do anything for you?

I thought it was profoundly moving when I read it in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:37 AM:

Julie L... If Alan Rickman shows up in Golden Compass, will Alanis Morrissette be there too?

#876 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:40 AM:

vian #864: I just amn't. To say more would be perilous close to the recent Harry Potter imbroglio. Nothing against them as like it - hell, I'm a Star Wars tragic, I've got no cause to be uppity - just not my cup of warm liquid.

Who are you, Nathan Fillion?

#877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:42 AM:

"Ducts? Why is it always ducts?"

#878 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:44 AM:

Terry Karney: You are advocating contraints on what I allow on my blog. Fuck that. I have enough shit to put up with, without allowing twits like you to foment the sorts of crap we've had here. To make it possible for people like you to crash the party and force me to deal with outside decisions about what I have to put up with.

I am advocating what I believe is protection for the user and protection for the site. The site is protected from trolls and sockpuppets because they know each participant is real and accountable. The user knows that if the moderator is picking on them for having a specific opinion that they are protected under the bill of user rights.

No. It's a false use of the term, "reasonable" because in an ideal world, it might be acceptable but people aren't ideal. Some will game the system to make it all about them; and to pervert what might be an otherwise useful discussion into crap.

I'm sure well versed and respected members of the community would be harder to game than you think, and that they would be able to spot "crap" as neatly as a dog trainer's shoe shiner.

So far I've not resorted to banning the assholes who don't pay attention to who I am, or who say I'm immoral/lying/unwilling to see the truth, but you know what, I'm not going to give up the power to do that to someone who can see (as easily as I) the ways in which the system can be abused.

Under the system I have off-the-cuff proposed you would have ever right to ban them no matter what the consortium said. It is your site.

If you banned several people despite the opinion of the arbiters then you would simply lose your membership, not your site or your ability to blog.

And any such system as yours, has ways in which it can be gamed. It's not workable, and the person inconvenienced is the decent blogger who is acting in good faith.

I am sure it could be gamed, but we're not talking about thumbs up buttons manipulated by the general web population. We're talking about real people, who are in good standing helping to arbitrate disputes between real people.

It has worked in real life for many years which is why I think it is what the web needs. It wouldn't work for all situations, but it would be a good remedy to many of the problems facing the web today.

#879 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:45 AM:

vian... What's a Star Wars tragic?

#880 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:46 AM:

I think I have had amble opportunity and space to speak my peace here and I appreciate that very much.

I will not leave this conversation until tomorrow so as not to dominate this thread with my opinion.

I appreciate all of those who responded civilly or otherwise.

Goodnight.

#881 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:46 AM:

Are the original Star Trek episodes worth tracking down and watching? For reference, I was largely bored by the movies with the original cast, liked most of TNG, occasionally liked Voyager, and hated Enterprise with an entirely unreasonable passion.

I ask partly because I already know all the stories (or at least most of them) from the original series; I read them as collections of short stories in my high school library, and was mildly confused years later when I found out that the short stories were based on some sort of television series.

...damn, now I'm wondering if I could go find those collections of short stories again. I suppose they're long out of print, but I quite liked them, even if I could never keep Scotty and Bones apart. (Hey, as those stories were written, they both came across as whiny men who'd occasionally annoy Spock and/or Kirk. They're a lot easier to tell apart with the visuals.)

#882 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:47 AM:

*Correction, I mean I will leave this conversation until tomorrow.

#883 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Charlie @ 851,

Nope.

You have no understanding about how things work here at Making Light, the Internet, or the real world.

Conversations on ML tend to have a life of their own, apart from the Original Topic. Yet, it serves to highlight the point of Patrick's article. It's not about Censorship, as you claim. It's about the Blogger's Right to determine what is appropriate for their site. IMO, this includes the comments as well as the articles.

Look, you can't level a personal attack against a person's character, call it criticism, and then cry Censorship when they refuse to repeat your comment to every person the know or meet. Well, you can, but you shouldn't. It's an entirely different animal than dissent, disagreement, or criticism. The shades of meaning of each is too much to discuss in a comment, but I hope that get my point. It's one thing to challenge an idea or an opinion, it's quite another to attack the personal integrity of the blogger.

The Internet is a fantastic medium for the free exchange of thoughts and ideas. But not every idea needs to, or should be, expressed in every venue. You have no right to expect someone else to tolerate your ideas at a place that is intended to express their ideas. The fact that many bloggers do tolerate stuff that they don't agree with should not be taken for granted. It is not, and should not be, a requirement.

It's not censorship if I refuse to post your comment on my site. It's censorship if I seek to prevent you from posting your thoughts anywhere, especially if I have the power to do so.

More to the point, in the real world, most people don't care about your opinion unless you're famous or important, or you are a personal friend. Try grabbing a stranger off the street and forcing them to listen to your rant. Picture street evangelists or political activists standing on the soap box and screaming through a mega-phone at you on your front lawn. Or for the calm, reasonable criticism crowd, imagine Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton supporters coming to your house at all hours and forcing you to listen to their pitches. That's the model you are proposing. Having to be approved by some panel and be required to tolerate whatever garbage or useless comments from whoever so chooses to post holds absolutely no appeal for me. Such a model would be a much more serious threat to free speech than comment moderation. Trust me, a bureaucracy is much greater tyrant than any individual. I work for the government, I know what I'm talking about.

To piggie-back what James said, bloggers surrendering their blogs to the visitors would in no way further the cause of free speech. It would just make every blog suck. Without moderation, the comments section would just be a bunch of jerks shouting over and at each other.

Go ahead and start your organization, or I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find a blog network that meets your requirements. Join it. Let me know how that works out for you.

Of course, I no it's best not to engage a Troll, but I have to admit, I'm having fun! :)

#884 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:54 AM:

*know* instead of *no* in that last sentence.

Shazbot!

#885 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:58 AM:

"Charlie" is proposing that bloggers be forced to leave trolling and flaming posts up as long as possible. Nothing is more likely to lose a blog its membership than leaving those posts lying around. Nothing will drive away readers faster.

He is proposing something that is probably not evil, but is certainly stupid.

#886 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:59 AM:

I really ought to be talking about Star Trek, but I have to admit that #882 still has me in giggles. It's not enough to flounce after flouncing and returning before... He has to flounce, and then clarify that it's just for the night? Like we didn't all know he'd be coming back anyway? Because we're...wondering if we should keep refreshing for his next comment, or if we can go to bed now and check on his new posts in the morning?

I'm sorry, but I find that hilarious. Sort of sad. But hilarious.

#887 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:05 AM:

Serge @875: If Alan Rickman shows up in Golden Compass, will Alanis Morrissette be there too?

I don't think either of them will be in the first movie, though with the recent news of last-minute edits (such as Ian McKellen entirely replacing the dub on a major CGI character), who knows?

Considering how het up the fundies are already getting about TGC, I can't wait to see how they enjoy the pair of gay angels later on. Assuming those characters get retained, which they may not be. But if Alanis were to reprise her own Dogma role, her appearance in The Amber Spyglass would be sadly brief; the thought of it makes me go watch her Fergie impression again.

#888 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:06 AM:

#879 ::: Serge vian... What's a Star Wars tragic?

A person who hopes (against all hope and evidence) for even a moment more of the sheer wonder of seeing that Star Destroyer overhead, as it keeps coming and coming. Tragics are universally of the opinion that Han Shot First, and most also believe that the Prequels took place in an alternate universe, where Greedo shot first. Except for the good bits.

Your tragic also gets wistful and occasionally choked up at the mention of double-sunsets, thinks elaborate hairstyles are the perfect fashion accessory, if one has time and hair enough, and who will keep up an interest in what George Lucas is doing, even if he seems intent on pulling all the life out of the movies and replacing it with noisy pixels.

I stopped reading the books years ago, because it became manifest that there was no awe or humour to be had in them, but some of the fanfic is sensational. And when I put on the unadulterated version of SW, I still get the contented gosh-wow from frame one.

I am a grownup, pretty much - I hold down a couple of jobs, I'm writing various things including a Ph D, I read widely, genre and litter-a-chure. But I'm an eternal 10 year old for Star Wars, and if there's a heaven, it has hyperspace.

#889 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:10 AM:

I suspect, Fade, that you read James Blish's short storyizations. (How would one put that? Novelization, short storization? Something.)

Alan Dean Foster did the Animated Series version of that.

#890 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:11 AM:

also: I'm not Nathan Fillion. I don't have his singing voice, for starters

But I occasionally get a powerful hankerin' for the way them folks talk.

#891 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:15 AM:

Those Blish covers look familiar; I'm pretty sure that was the series I read. I remember them as being quite good, but I have very broad tastes at that age. Not sure how well they'd stand up to rereading. Which is why I'm reluctant to watch the series; I'm not sure if it'll finally add acting and scenery and all those marvelous visuals (and a chance at my finally remembering who's Bones and who's Scotty), or if it'll just stomp on the fond memories. Like that one marvelous episode with the dwarf, and...um... that one with kids who die when they grow up, I think?

Okay, on second thought, maybe my fond memories aren't fond enough to need any protection.

#892 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:16 AM:

vian #890: Oh, too bad. My next questions were going to be where are you, can I come over, and what are you wearing?

So maybe not too bad, from your perspective.

#893 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:19 AM:

vian... I understand what you mean, about Star Wars. When The Phantom Menace came out, someone said that the original movie was for the 10-year-old inside of you while the later movie was for 10-year-olds.

Of course Han shot first. And did you know that Christopher Walken almost got to play that role? More cow bells on the Millenium Falcon?

#894 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:23 AM:

kate is correct. What Fade read were adaptations by Blish. As for watching the actual episodes, I'd say yes, keeping in mind the wince-inducing sexual roles, keeping in mind the primitive effects. But that's just my opinion.

#895 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:26 AM:

I have Netflix, so it doesn't cost me anything extra to toss them in the queue. I'll go ahead and add the first season, and see how it goes. Thanks for the advice!

(...okay, I'll toss them in the Netflix queue as soon as I have space again. Can't believe I'm limited to just 500 DVDs in there at a time.)

#896 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:26 AM:

#892 ::: ethan

Melbourne Australia, of course you can, and a purple Lucasfilm tee shirt and black jeans.

But if it's Nathan you're after, I gather you could do worse than join the noble WGA in their picket of Universal - I believe he's showed up there. You never know, he may again. Good luck.

#897 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:30 AM:

the original movie was for the 10-year-old inside of you while the later movie was for 10-year-olds.

Of course Han shot first. And did you know that Christopher Walken almost got to play that role? More cow bells on the Millenium Falcon?

Most of TPM was for the 10-year-old toy buyer demographic, but it still has moments which come close, for me - the first view of the underwater city, for example. Just lovely.

I did know about Christpoher Walken, and mean to find out what the hell he has to do with cowbells really soon.

#898 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:31 AM:

For me, I read the books after I read the series. Er, watched, that is.

The books aren't any great literature, although Blish wrote a full-length Trek novel or two, not based on episodes. *looks* Oh, only one. I recall it being somewhat cracked out, but entertaining.

The episodes... I think honestly if you weren't fond of them to begin with, they don't stand up very well. Might try a few specific ones and see. (Netflix to the rescue.)

#899 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:37 AM:

If you like the Chris Walken Cowbell/Blue Oyster Cult sketch, you should see the census sketch with Walken and Tim Meadows. I laughed so hard the first time I saw it, I couldn't breathe!

#900 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:41 AM:

Serge @843: I have a copy of How Much For Just The Planet which I can happily send to you, if you so desire (email me). I regret to say that I was unable to fully appreciate the book due to a lack of grounding in most of the original sources which JMF was riffing off of; frex, there are few things more frustrating than looking at clever filk lyrics without knowing their melody.

#901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:46 AM:

vian... Alas TPM had Jar jar Binks in it. What was Lucas thinking? Speaking of whom, a few years ago, I was at a Bay Area bookstore, waiting in line for an author to show up for his signing when I got into a conversation with a woman who said she'd gone to high-school with him. It may have been BS, but maybe not. Anyway, she said that none of the school's girls wanted to go out with George.

#902 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Julie L @ 900... You'd trust me with your copy? I am very careful with books, especially when they're not mine. Or I could buy it from you.

#903 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:06 AM:

vian @888: Your tragic also gets wistful and occasionally choked up at the mention of double-sunsets, thinks elaborate hairstyles are the perfect fashion accessory, if one has time and hair enough, and who will keep up an interest in what George Lucas is doing, even if he seems intent on pulling all the life out of the movies and replacing it with noisy pixels.

Had we but hair enough and time,
Those cinnamon buns would be fine:
We would sit down with hairpins, comb,
And styling products (mousse and foam).
The setting suns would cast their hue
Of auburn warmth across this 'do,
And we would dress in sumptuous frocks
That would do justice to these locks.

But sad to say, we're left with just
Jar-Jar and poop jokes, and we must
Cling to old hopes, though long forlorn.
Please pass the bucket of popcorn.

#904 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:13 AM:

Yeah, yeah. Star Wars tragics. True, all true. And I know it.

But just play the fanfare and theme over the images of the launch of the shuttle, and watch me dissolve into helpless tears.

#905 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:20 AM:

Serge @902: Nah, don't worry about it; I see this as an opportunity to find a good home for a book which (by general report) most people find delightful but which I just keep blinking at in mild bewilderment.

#906 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:22 AM:

Serge @ #901, "she said that none of the school's girls wanted to go out with George."

Well, things change. He and Linda Ronstadt spent a long time together. If you look at the credits on her late 1980s-early 1990s CDs, you'll find Skywalker Ranch as one of the studios she recorded in.

#907 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:29 AM:

Xopher, #838: I liked the follow-up to this as well, the episode wherein various of Dax's friends are asked to temporarily house the memories of her past hosts so that she can interact with them physically. Sisko volunteers to take on the homicidal one, and Avery Brooks' interpretation is scary and edgy and right on target.

Serge, #839: Can't vouch for any of these still being in print, but among my personal favorites:
- Anything by Diane Duane! *
- Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan **
- The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah +
- The Pandora Principle by Carolyn Clowes ++
- Time's Enemy by L.A. Graf ***

* In order: The Wounded Sky; My Enemy, My Ally; Spock's World; The Romulan Way; Doctor's Orders; Swordhunt; Honor Blade; The Empty Chair; (TOS) and Mirror, Mirror (TNG)
** Contains my all-time favorite alien race, the Sivaoans.
+ This book and Spock's World both show interpretations of Sarek & Amanda's courtship. While I prefer Duane's version overall, the mystery in this is quite good.
++ A great deal of this is back-story on Spock's relationship with Saavik. I love that sort of thing, but if you don't, it may not be to your taste.
*** This is actually book #3 of an interconnected series of 4 (1 each for the 4 main series), but it's the only one I find myself going back and re-reading. It's a mystery as well -- I enjoy genre crossovers.

Julie, #900: I have that book too, and IIRC a lot of the filk was to Gilbert & Sullivan tunes. If you drop me an e-mail at the mailto linked from my name, I'll get the book out and see if I'm right, and how many of the originals I can name for you.

#908 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:38 AM:

Lee @ 907... Thanks! By the way, did you ever read Peter David's The Captain's Daughter? It was about Sulu's daughter. I enjoyed how it wove her own story throughout ST-TOS, and it showed the reactions of some of the cadets upon hearing of some of NCC-1701's adventures. ("The ship was captured by what? A giant hand?!")

Another recommendation, James Tiptree's short-story Beam Me Home.

#909 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:52 AM:

Lee @907: IIRC a lot of the filk was to Gilbert & Sullivan tunes.

So I've heard. Unfortunately, my familiarity with G&S is pretty much limited to one or two viewings umpteen years ago of the Pirates of Penzance movie with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt (discussion reconvergence!), and some scraps of sideways exposure via Tom Lehrer.

A songlist might be of enough general interest to post in this thread, though?

#910 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 02:57 AM:

Julie @ 903: Nicely done... but wouldn't the true Star Wars tragic cling to New Hope?

#911 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:46 AM:

Serge @ 908

Another recommendation, James Tiptree's short-story Beam Me Home.

Only if you don't mind having your heart ripped out and finding you can't breath for the huge lump in your throat. That is a great story, but I find it very hard to read. I'm sure that's the idea. Reading stories like that, or "The Man Who Walked Home" I am amazed at how Tiptree had a way of triggering my endocrine system at long distance. She was a research psychologist, to be sure. And a great writer.

#912 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:54 AM:

Lee@907, in your list of Duane's ST works, the TNG one was called "Dark Mirror", while "Mirror, Mirror" was (IIRC) the name of the TOS episode that introduced the alternate universe. (This happens to be one of my favorite TNG novels, and I enjoyed the "tie-in" of the cetacean charater with her "Young Wizards" series...)

#913 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:10 AM:

You've all seen George Lucas in Love, right?

#914 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:36 AM:

Charlie@859: You might want to look up "terseness" in a dictionary. I'm pretty sure it doesn't actually mean what you think it means.

#915 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 06:25 AM:

Xopher@829

Note that *'take a wank' is ungrammatical.

True, but 'take a (something)' is an Americanism. If you render them in British English they become 'have a (shit|piss|wank)' ... Which means I've turned into Alexei Sayle's Mr. Sweary: "When people from fookin' HAMPSTEAD are drowning, all their previous FURNITURE passes in front of their eyes..."

The complete Charlie: It's not faaaair!

#916 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:05 AM:

Serge #835: I certainly wouldn't think so!

#917 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:09 AM:

Xopher #855: Someone is headed for a spill.

#918 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:14 AM:

Serge #877: That's the question one has to ask a duct ape.

#919 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:24 AM:

Julie L #903: Marvellous!

#920 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:04 AM:

The ultimate problem with Charlie's model is that advertisers wouldn't touch a blog with a committed community of troll jailhouse lawyers with a great big stick, so there wouldn't be ad revenue (and in a model where passersby can walk in and make decisions for the site that are usually reserved to ownership without making any minimal effort to build or maintain the site, I think we can probably agree there wouldn't be significant donation revenue).

The tragedy of the commons is that each of us is likely to take advantage of all of us if we see it as being to our advantage. The proposal on the table is that all of us now have the specific right to take advantage of private property, without the permission of or compensation to the owners. Further than that, if the owners want to continue to have a property, they're required to wrangle up a quorum of whoever happens to be around and ask permission to maintain it?

Which loss of the owner's rights is to be compensated by the fact that their property will be the kind of place the people who walked in and took it away from them approve of (although that it's been taken away doesn't mean they aren't required to financially support and maintain it at the cost of whatever they do to support and maintain themselves, blog revenue being gone).

Freedom isn't free, and 'Charlie' is demanding someone that else pay for his at the cost of theirs.

There's another name for that system.

#921 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:06 AM:

CosmicDog: You have no understanding about how things work here at Making Light, the Internet, or the real world.

Well thank you for engaging me despite that realization.

It's one thing to challenge an idea or an opinion, it's quite another to attack the personal integrity of the blogger.

There is indeed a line to be drawn in regards to criticism. So long as it is fair, honest, and well thought out I don't think many people mind it. When it crosses that invisible line of insult versus constructive criticism then I believe that you have a point.

The Internet is a fantastic medium for the free exchange of thoughts and ideas. But not every idea needs to, or should be, expressed in every venue. You have no right to expect someone else to tolerate your ideas at a place that is intended to express their ideas. The fact that many bloggers do tolerate stuff that they don't agree with should not be taken for granted. It is not, and should not be, a requirement.

I think what you have said applies to some blogs but not all. Some blogs are considered news sources these days which moves them beyond the realm of being just a blog for someone's personal ideas.

I don't believe that all blogs should be required to do anything, but I think those that claim to champion and protect free speech should consider allowing a healthy amount of dissent.

It's not censorship if I refuse to post your comment on my site. It's censorship if I seek to prevent you from posting your thoughts anywhere, especially if I have the power to do so.

I disagree with the scope in which you have defined censorship, and I would say that is the root of our disagreement.

If China decides to suppress religious speech then it is indeed censorship. Just because the United States allows that freedom it does not mean what is happening in China is not censorship.

Just because someone can go elsewhere to get their information, it does not prevent the suppression of opinion from being labeled censorship.

Having to be approved by some panel and be required to tolerate whatever garbage or useless comments from whoever so chooses to post holds absolutely no appeal for me. Such a model would be a much more serious threat to free speech than comment moderation.

Perhaps I have not explained my idea very well. You would never have to do anything, and participation in the bill of rights would be completely voluntary.

Even if you did participate, you would still have complete control of your site. You could take immediate action on any user you found offensive or unruly. If the user objected to their treatment, they could raise a protest with the organization, and your evidence would clearly show that they had been a trouble maker.

Trust me, a bureaucracy is much greater tyrant than any individual. I work for the government, I know what I'm talking about.

I'm not proposing red tape that prevents you from administering your site. I am proposing a safety net for users, opinions, and web sites that allows a fair and impartial parsing of the events that have taken place.

Perhaps the organization would monitor and cache all the sites that are members in order to keep a fair and impartial record of the changes that occr to a page.

To piggie-back what James said, bloggers surrendering their blogs to the visitors would in no way further the cause of free speech. It would just make every blog suck. Without moderation, the comments section would just be a bunch of jerks shouting over and at each other.

I'm not sure what I have proposed is a lack of moderation or oversight. Rather, what I am proposing is an arbitration process a user can invoke if they feel they have been treated unfairly.

A administrator can still govern their site as they choose, but they should expect consequences for any egregious actions that they take.

Go ahead and start your organization, or I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find a blog network that meets your requirements. Join it. Let me know how that works out for you.

This is an idea that would require someone greater than myself to implement, and it would require the support of a major website. We'll see what happens, but right now this is just an idea being fleshed out.

Of course, I no it's best not to engage a Troll, but I have to admit, I'm having fun! :)

I'm sorry that you feel you have been talking to a troll. Peer pressure can be a tremendous stress when posting in a community of friends.

Perhaps you will change your opinion of me in time, and I'm glad you're having fun.

#922 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:17 AM:

Troll for breakfast again? Damnit, I ordered waffles!

#923 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:17 AM:

James D. Macdonald: "Charlie" is proposing that bloggers be forced to leave trolling and flaming posts up as long as possible. Nothing is more likely to lose a blog its membership than leaving those posts lying around. Nothing will drive away readers faster.

I believe you have either misunderstood the idea that I have related, or I have done a poor job of explaining it.

Any administrator would be allowed to take immediate action on their site. Whether that be deleting a post, banning a user, or removing the vowel from their speech.

The arbitration process would be invoked by the user if they felt your actions were wrong. The malicious text could be immediately moderated so long as a history of the changes to the user's posts was kept.

Fade Manley: It's not enough to flounce after flouncing and returning before... He has to flounce, and then clarify that it's just for the night? Like we didn't all know he'd be coming back anyway? Because we're...wondering if we should keep refreshing for his next comment, or if we can go to bed now and check on his new posts in the morning?

I'm sorry you perceived it that way. I thought I was being polite to anyone who might have been actively engaging me in conversation. I wanted that person or persons to know that I would not be responding to their post until the next day.

My ultimate goal was to prevent myself from overwhelming this thread with my personal opinion.

David Goldfarb: You might want to look up "terseness" in a dictionary. I'm pretty sure it doesn't actually mean what you think it means.

Thank you very much for catching that. I wish that I could say it was a simple typo, but obviously I just used the wrong word for what I was expressing. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

#924 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:20 AM:

Charlie:

   "It is not your stuff.
You have no 'right' to use it."
   What do you not get?

#925 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:30 AM:

julia: The ultimate problem with Charlie's model is that advertisers wouldn't touch a blog with a committed community of troll jailhouse lawyers with a great big stick, so there wouldn't be ad revenue

The organization I am proposing would not actively use lawyers or litigation to settle disputes

I think that touting a website as a friend to free speech via its membership to the organization would be a very big draw to advertisers. Advertisers prefer to have the largest audience possible. If a site opens itself up to reasonable dissent then it is allowing greater participation, which ultimately generates more eyeballs on the ads.

(and in a model where passersby can walk in and make decisions for the site that are usually reserved to ownership without making any minimal effort to build or maintain the site, I think we can probably agree there wouldn't be significant donation revenue).

The administrators of participating web sites always make the final decision, and can always make a decision contrary to that made by the arbiters. The only threat is that the blog/site's membership in the organization could be revoked.

The proposal on the table is that all of us now have the specific right to take advantage of private property, without the permission of or compensation to the owners. Further than that, if the owners want to continue to have a property, they're required to wrangle up a quorum of whoever happens to be around and ask permission to maintain it?

Participation in the bill of rights would be a completely voluntary action taken by the website owners. They would be allowing others certain rights on their private property in exchange for knowing that the person on their property is indeed a real person who is capable of receiving real consequences.

Most larger blog owners are compensated by advertisements and adhering to the bill of rights could bring more viewers of those ads.

Freedom isn't free, and 'Charlie' is demanding someone that else pay for his at the cost of theirs.

I believe my description of how the cost of the organization was described as a sharing of costs between all members, whether they be site owners or users.

Freedom isn't free, and all those who participate would have consequences for abusing that freedom.

#926 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 08:34 AM:

Joel Polowin: "It is not your stuff.
You have no 'right' to use it." What do you not get?

You are correct, my visit to any website I do not own is a privilege, not a right. What I am proposing is a bill of rights that private website owners can agree to, in which they offer their user's certain rights in exchange for the peace of mind that they are indeed who they say they are.

Bill: Troll for breakfast again? Damnit, I ordered waffles!

That's probably my cue to leave again for a bit. Typing too much can give the impression of a one-sided conversation, and overzealousness can sometimes be mistaken for trollery.

#927 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Syd, #912: Ack, you're right; I claim late-night brain impairment. Good catch.

#928 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:12 AM:

You're still here, "Charlie"?

Let me explain it another way: Go read "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Then understand that you, personally, are a sinner.

#929 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Bill @ 922: You can't have waffles without the troll!

We've got Egg and troll,
Egg, bacon and troll,
Egg, bacon, sausage and troll,
Troll, bacon, sausage and troll,
Troll, egg, troll, troll, bacon and troll,
Troll, troll, troll, egg, and troll,
Troll, troll, troll, troll, troll, troll, baked beans, troll, troll, troll and troll,
or Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy with a fried egg on top and troll

#930 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Well, Emma couldn't hold out against a bad cold, so she missed her 893 cue. You people stay up 'till all hours just to talk, don't you? Sorry, Serge!

#931 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 09:54 AM:

"Charlie", 921 and passim. *sigh*

There is indeed a line to be drawn in regards to criticism. So long as it is fair, honest, and well thought out I don't think many people mind it. When it crosses that invisible line of insult versus constructive criticism then I believe that you have a point.
It's about who draws the line, isn't it? If it's my blog, I actually don't have to accept criticism of any kind, no matter how fair etc. It's my prerogative to be thin-skinned, because I define/decide whether the criticism is insulting. And it's the reader's prerogative to give up on me in disgust and take their criticism elsewhere. Pearls before swine, and all that.

I don't believe that all blogs should be required to do anything, but I think those that claim to champion and protect free speech should consider allowing a healthy amount of dissent. You're welcome to believe that and even suggest it, but non-agreement with your definition of 'healthy' and 'dissent' -- for all the excellent reasons which other posters have delineated far more clearly than I can -- Does. Not. Constitute. Censorship.

#932 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:01 AM:

The reading assignment I would suggest is the debate over the nationalization of shoemaking by the People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road in Terry Pratchett's Night Watch.

Charlie, jailhouse lawyers aren't lawyers. That's the point. It's an expression meaning people who have lots of free time to try and game the rules. Your theory about what advertisers are interested in is, to say the least, untested.

Mostly, though, you're suggesting that you, and others like you, should be handed the privileges of ownership without the responsiblities of ownership or maintenance, and you're suggesting that you be conferred those privileges as a right because you, while entirely capable of maintaining your own platform, should be allowed the audience this site has spent many years of concentrated effort building because it's bigger.

That's not how ownership works, and it's not how community works.

You're also ignoring the fact that the overwhelming consensus is that the folks who were disemvowelled should have been. Under the system you're suggesting, unless you're suggesting that you should have a veto over the will of the community (a veto which you'd like to deny to the actual site owner), the outcome here would have been the same.

Either you're making your point poorly, or your point is very poorly thought out, or you're suggesting something monstrously selfish and, bluntly, wrong.

Unless your goal is to cock a snook at people who have annoyed you by not agreeing with your plans for their stuff, you might want to reconsider how you're handling this.

#933 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Fade @ #881:
I ask partly because I already know all the stories (or at least most of them) from the original series; I read them as collections of short stories in my high school library, and was mildly confused years later when I found out that the short stories were based on some sort of television series.

Woo! That's the way I did it too. I was pleased but stunned to find out (as I thought) they'd made a TV show of the Blish stories.

#934 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Paul Duncanson @910: wouldn't the true Star Wars tragic cling to New Hope?

Before the prequel movies came out, there was hope for new things to come. Afterward, such things were only the old memories of hope left unfulfilled; hence the tragedy.

(Lo, how I lament with portentous gothy lamentations and black clothing.)

#935 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Julie L... No rending of garment?

#936 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Lee @ #907:
- The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah +
+ This book and Spock's World both show interpretations of Sarek & Amanda's courtship. While I prefer Duane's version overall, the mystery in this is quite good.

Have you read Jean's fanfic, in which she does the much more extensive version of Sarek and Amanda in two separate ways? VAM is roughly compatible with one of her fanfic universes (and having read the fanfic will therefore make it a richer reading experience), but overall I find the fanfic much more satisfying.

#937 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Emma @ 930... You people stay up 'till all hours just to talk, don't you?

In my case, it was dedication to my remaining employed. In other words, deadlines, and not enough hours in one day.

#938 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Another way of thinking about it is - this horribly censoring blog, this realm of comment fascism, is indeed very popular and has garnered quite a large audience. It might occur to you that the censorship, or what we call moderation, the mechanism by which conversation is guided towards civility, is likely one of the big reasons for this continued success and popularity.

And on the subject of on-topic/off-topic: one of the things I love about this little dining hall on the internet is the way comments become dinner-table conversations, with ideas flowing into new topics just like real conversations. To walk into a dinner party during dessert, seat yourself at a table and to begin spouting diatribes on a topic whose time came and went during the entree, is boorish behaviour. Polite conversation involves listening to other people and finding the right time to have your say - and sometimes accepting that the moment has passed and letting it go.
Teresa throws really good parties. You'll enjoy them more if you relax and participate as a guest, not a soapbox evangelist.

#939 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Susan @ 93... I was pleased but stunned to find out (as I thought) they'd made a TV show of the Blish stories.

Do you still like the show, in spite of the flaws that Time and Changing Mores emphasized?

#940 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Off topic, but has anyone else heard about the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still? When I heard that Keanu Reeves was going to star in it, I thought, hey, that's cool - he'll be great as Gort. But nooooo - he's going to be Klaatu.

Here's to Michael Rennie, the one and only Klaatu.

#941 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Steve C... Alas, we had already heard.

#942 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Bill @ 938... Teresa throws really good parties

That's why everybody comes to Teresa's Café Américain.

#943 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Paul @ 929

LOL!

---
For whatever it may be worth, I read "Charlie's" post proposing the arbitration of blogs and decided that he's totally clueless.

#944 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:50 AM:

My Enemy, My Ally; Spock's World; The Romulan Way; Doctor's Orders; Swordhunt; Honor Blade; The Empty Chair

The first four of these are currently out in an omnibus collection called, IIRC, The Bloodwing Chronicles, and the latter just came out a few months ago so is likely still findable.

I must note, however, that while I enjoyed The Empty Chair immensely, it did a very poor job of explaining how the Rihannsu turned into TNG's Romulans (which Duane promises); hence, I am forced to conclude that the Trekverse with Rihannsu is not quite the same as the Trekverse with TNG's Romulans.

Also I rather enjoyed The Three-Minute Universe, but I may be in the minority. And I second (third?) the recommendation of Uhura's Song, which contains possibly the most entertaining original female character ever to not quite be a Mary Sue.

#945 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Julie #920:

I think the proposal is more along the lines of creating a sort of "right of action" for people who feel that they've been unjustly disemvoweled or banned, an appeals process.

I also don't care for this idea, for two reasons:

a. The burden of moderation is already pretty high for a lot of public blogs. A small number of arbitrations of this kind would consume a lot of time and energy, and would inevitably involve bad blood. The result would be that allowing public comment on a blog adhering to this scheme would become harder, not easier. (Charlie proposes tying this to a nym based is-a-person certificate, which would decrease some of the burden of moderation. But we could easily decouple these two.)

b. Different communities have different standards, and that's part of the diversity that makes the net a nice place. Different kinds of topics and discussions mean different sorts of rules make sense--on a blog with a lot of political argument, you may want to leave a lot of ground open for discussion, so long as everyone stays polite. On a blog focused on some scientific topic, you may delete posts that make assertions without evidence, or refuse to even have some discussions (because, say, PZ Myers or Razib probably aren't interested in another iteration of debate over whether the theory of evolution is really a conspiracy of atheistic scientists, and neither are their readers). And different readers will enjoy different styles of discussion. Brad De Long and Marginal Revolution both cover economics and politics, but have rather different flavors, as fits their different communities.

This diversity means that we have a lot of choices, as readers. If Crossfire style political debates bore us, we can avoid them, while still seeing real discussions of politics. If we like that sort of thing, we can find it.

Trying to impose a single broad set of moderation standards on all those blogs seems like it would kill a lot of that diversity, at great cost to almost everyone.

Now, that said, the blogosphere is a big place. Charlie could try to build his system and get people interested. He could even build it on Google or Typepad or something. Maybe it will catch on and many people will find it useful for their blogs. But I doubt it, for the reasons I stated above.

#946 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 10:56 AM:

You know, I think I still have one of those Blish collections, in spite of all the moves I went thru in the more than 30 years. It had "That Which Survives", with Lee Meriwether, which means the book had stories from the Third Season. Luckily "Spock's Brain" was not included.

#947 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Maybe it's just me, but Charlie's notions about comment-suppression* arbitration made me think of the accounts from Greg London and others of some of the edit wars at Wikipedia. Clearly, (based on what Greg says about the Wikipedia model) the most obvious way to game the system is to make sure the arbitrator called in is a friend of yours--so what if they don't disclose rhis before sweeping in to Set Things Straight! There are, no doubt, others.

*There being, here and at Boing Boing at least, degrees of moderation, ranging from suggestions that one might want to tone it down and use one's inside voice (suppression of one's right to rant loudly) throguh disemvowellment (suppression of the right to have one's rantings read easily) and deletion (suppression of a specific rant) all the way to banning (suppression of one's right to post any comment at all, rant or otherwise) at a blog. Suppression, of course, being in the eye of of the ranter.

#948 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:27 AM:

fidelio.. Is Teresa really that powerful? If so, I find myself thinking of her as one of Jack Kirby's female characters. (Those head-dress thingies must be a pain when she gets in an elevator.)

#949 ::: Charlie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:32 AM:

James D. Macdonald: Let me explain it another way: Go read "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Then understand that you, personally, are a sinner.

Your assertion seems to be that the moderators are the God's and we sinners are here but by their grace only. For the most part that is a correct and most astute analogy for blogging presented in a neat reference.

I think the analogy fails though when a site denounces censorship everywhere else on the web, and hypercritically employs it within its own comments section.

If sinners are told that the path salvation is freedom of speech, and then are back-handed by the knuckle of censorship, then how is a sinner ever to be saved?

Debbie: It's about who draws the line, isn't it? If it's my blog, I actually don't have to accept criticism of any kind, no matter how fair etc. It's my prerogative to be thin-skinned, because I define/decide whether the criticism is insulting. And it's the reader's prerogative to give up on me in disgust and take their criticism elsewhere. Pearls before swine, and all that.

Exactly, I am merely suggesting a means to solve a problem. It isn't right for everyone, but it could solve some of the sock puppetry/trolling problems that occur on major sites.

You're welcome to believe that and even suggest it, but non-agreement with your definition of 'healthy' and 'dissent' -- for all the excellent reasons which other posters have delineated far more clearly than I can -- Does. Not. Constitute. Censorship.

The base definition of censoring is: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

That is exactly what is happening all over the web for better or for worse. Irregardless if you believe it is justified or not, it is still censorship.

What I propose is a clear definition and agreement as to what the expected behavior of a user and a moderator is; all documented in a user's bill of rights and enforced by a non-profit group.

julia: The reading assignment I would suggest is the debate over the nationalization of shoemaking by the People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road in Terry Pratchett's Night Watch.

I have to admit I am not familiar with this reference. I tried to read Guards Guards once and it just wasn't for me.

Charlie, jailhouse lawyers aren't lawyers. That's the point. It's an expression meaning people who have lots of free time to try and game the rules. Your theory about what advertisers are interested in is, to say the least, untested.

I wasn't familiar with the term jailhouse lawyers either so I apologize for not understanding it.

It is indeed an untested theory. It is much like the analogy to talk radio that I gave earlier. If a fairness doctrine were to be passed and talk radio suddenly became a more fair and balanced medium, would more listeners tune in?

Mostly, though, you're suggesting that you, and others like you, should be handed the privileges of ownership without the responsiblities of ownership or maintenance, and you're suggesting that you be conferred those privileges as a right because you, while entirely capable of maintaining your own platform, should be allowed the audience this site has spent many years of concentrated effort building because it's bigger.

That is a very good point. What gives an individual visitor the same right to an audience as those who have created and maintained the blog?

This is of course entirely up to each owner, but for me it's a desire for an honest and open exchange. The draw to any slightly political or informational site should be the ability to process and propagate differing opinions on a particular subject. Truly informing someone involves not only giving your opinion, but allowing your opinion to endure dissent.

That's not how ownership works, and it's not how community works.

Maybe not your particular view of those concepts, but to each their own.

You're also ignoring the fact that the overwhelming consensus is that the folks who were disemvowelled should have been.

The problem is that the consensus was given after everyone who disagreed was removed. It was also given after the evidence was deleted. This is a community that respects the BoingBoing moderator and it would stand to reason that the reaction here would be one of support.

What I would like is an independent means to fairly arbitrate issues like this that arise from time to time.

Under the system you're suggesting, unless you're suggesting that you should have a veto over the will of the community (a veto which you'd like to deny to the actual site owner), the outcome here would have been the same.

I'm not sure where you picked up that concept of veto from, but I don't believe I implied it. If anyone has a veto it is the site owner. Despite what the arbitration process might find, the site owner still has final say over the content of their site. That right is never and should never be taken away.

Either you're making your point poorly, or your point is very poorly thought out, or you're suggesting something monstrously selfish and, bluntly, wrong.

I probably should just right a short dissertation on what exactly the concept is and how I would suggest it be implemented. It is possible that in all these responses someone would still be confused by my descriptions.

Unless your goal is to cock a snook at people who have annoyed you by not agreeing with your plans for their stuff, you might want to reconsider how you're handling this.

My motive here is to effect change, or at the very least foster a new concept in the blog community. It might fail, but perhaps someone wiser than I will pick up a few pieces of what I've said and mold them into something this helpful to the community.

Bill: Another way of thinking about it is - this horribly censoring blog, this realm of comment fascism, is indeed very popular and has garnered quite a large audience. It might occur to you that the censorship, or what we call moderation, the mechanism by which conversation is guided towards civility, is likely one of the big reasons for this continued success and popularity.

That's a very strong argument in favor of the status quo, but it implies that popularity equals justice. Just because something is popular it does not mean it is right or just. I give you the example of slavery, that was popular but was not just.

The real test for a bill of rights would be actual application. If user's have a choice, which type of blog will they choose?

To walk into a dinner party during dessert, seat yourself at a table and to begin spouting diatribes on a topic whose time came and went during the entree, is boorish behaviour.

Imagine this thread is the plate, and upon it was served the initial conversation. (moderation and censorship) Now imagine other guests randomly poured the desert chocolate all over your entree. (Star Trek) Then your waiter comes back, clears your plate, and gives you a new entree. (a bill of rights for users) That is how I see it.

Teresa throws really good parties. You'll enjoy them more if you relax and participate as a guest, not a soapbox evangelist.

I thought that was exactly what I was doing, participating as a guest. I have tried my best to limit the time I've spent here to avoid the image of evangelizing or soapboxing.

What I will try to do is make this one of my last comments on the subject. I have begun repeating myself a bit, and that is generally a sign that a topic is growing tiresome.

#950 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:38 AM:

albatross, 945,
Yes, what you said. The idea is well meant, but the amount of effort required to execute it - on everyone's part - is huge. The solution of least energy is for dissenters to get their own blog. It's not as though there aren't services like Technorati, or concepts like trackbacks and pingbacks to link a dissenter's blog to the blog being dissented about. Granted, those technological solutions are a little creaky, but if you want to have a dialog with someone like Seth Godin, that's the only way to go. Perhaps the wayback machine will one day resolve down to individual diffs by posted comment, or perhaps Charlie would like to start a campaign to fund such a thing. That would be very useful, particularly for nailing scammers, and for resolving civil disputes.

In any case, I know of one website that does carefully track changes and censorship, that does have an administrative appeals process, and a way to manage multiple identities: Wikipedia. And we all know how well that's working.

#951 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Charlie, there are no waiters in private homes. Your hosts offer you hospitality, in return for which you accept the hospitality you're offered.

You're suggesting a consumer-driven model, and that's not what your hosts are offering.

If that's the blog you want, I really think you should start it.

#952 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Jim @ 928

It's probably much more effective if heard in a meetinghouse with a giant eye painted on the front of the pulpit.

I'm getting the feeling that if Charlie ordered meatloaf in a restaurant, he'd complain that it wasn't made to his mother's recipe.

#953 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) :::