Lesson Learned, Disregard Previous Post (Damn, not the Venn Diagram, the One Before That One)

6 March, 2008

I am a newbie.  I discovered blogs about six months ago.  I began commenting on blogs about four months ago.  I started blogging a month ago.  Yesterday I made a mistake and will now do my best to rectify the situation.

I recieved some comments from trolls.  I was surprised and disturbed by the comments.  Not just dropping Fuck three times in each sentence, but also some homophobic and racist slurs.  I allowed myself to get angry.  I acted before I thought the situation through,  and reacted in a knee-jerk and childish manner.  And I tried to blame commenters for a decision I made.

I deleted the comments, thus, (as PhillyChief and the Exterminator both pointed out) I allowed the troll to get to me.  Then, since my foot was not far enough in my mouth, I decided to post some policies on comments. 

Sorry, folks.  I screwed up.  My blog is a free speech zone.  I ditched the comment policy.  I will not trash comments which are offensive, I will leave them there for all to see.



  1. It takes guts to publicly acknowledge when you’ve screwed up. Kudos to you.

    Trolls are exasperating and it’s really tempting to delete their stuff and make it go away. It’s natural to get really offended by them – which is exactly what they want you to do. Why they feel compelled to preach their crap and get vicious at other peoples’ blogs is beyond me. I seriously think people like that are psychologically impaired.

    Phillychief often responds to jerks by calling them out on their own terms. Exterminator often responds with ridicule. I’m still figuring out what I should do, because I haven’t been blogging much longer than you. Hang in there. Your regular readers will quickly recognize who the jerks are and stand by you. As Philly says, feel free to send smoke signals, fire flares in the air, whatever, if you feel surrounded.

  2. Chappie: I guess I got caught up in the idea that this is my blog, and that it would reflect poorly on me if commenters were asses. I’ll try to keep in mind that they are only making asses of themselves, not me. T’ain’t easy.

  3. I guess I got caught up in the idea that this is my blog, and that it would reflect poorly on me if commenters were asses.

    For those of us who are old farts, accustomed to controlled media, it’s hard to get used to the idea that we’re not responsible for much of the content at our blogs.

    Remember that your turf is defined mainly by your own writing and just a little bit by the comments of your most frequent readers. The odd trolls leave no impression whatsoever.

    So keep up the good work.

  4. That makes you a better person than I. I have deleted comments. Mostly because the roids can make me mean, and I do what is needed to not let things affect me that shouldn’t.

    Oh, and you still need to come by and pick up your award.


  5. Billy, nothing to apologise for. I only delete the obvious spam comments, but I have been known to ban the IP of a couple of problem commenters (including someone who turned a throwaway comment I made about wanting to emigrate to Sweden into a massive long rant about post-WW2 governmental oppression, changing his argument every time Paul and I quite successfully shot his argument down in flames). If you have the option with your comments to ban an IP, simply and quietly do so – plenty of blogs only entitle registered users of a particular service to comment, and I don’t see that it’s any less free speech. If they feel so strongly they can take you to task on their own blogs.

  6. The only thing that reflects poorly on us is what we say and do, not what others say and do, so it’s good to hear the rules are gone so to celebrate, let’s exercise our new freedom…

    Rules are fucking bullshit and the bloggers who have rules piss me the fuck off.
    Billy and Ex are wienies
    So let me tell you how awesome it is to be a Chiefs fan, Billy…
    I was surprised the other day when I found out I’m not unique in that my navel fluff is always blue. Apparently most everyone’s fluff is blue? What’s that about? So I looked into it online and there’s all kinds of shit about this blue fluff thing, and one whackadoo who has a collection of his fluff in mason jars that goes back years which, btw, is mostly all blue.
    So have you heard about Divine Interventions? It looks like quite a company with some fabulous products. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂
    I thought the jackhammer Jesus might be an interesting thing to hang on the wall. It could be one of those things people would just absently see and not notice until they get up close and then, well, then the hilarity ensues. You can’t say that thing wouldn’t be a conversation piece. Of course if it and the Mrs. can’t be found, well, that might be a problem.

    Ah, freedom. Feels good. You know what else feels good? The peace of mind one can only get from quality life insurance and…

  7. I think your decision is the right one. Even though my blog will continue to have a comment policy we came to our own decisions for different reasons. I also came to mine after a lot (see: months) of internal debate (still not happy it has come to this). For my part, the numerous theists that frequent my blog like to look for fights and endless debate in my comment section (I have dubbed them blog crusaders). These ad nauseum debates unsurprisngly accomplish very little and are essentially futile endeavors as neither side is going to change its mind and the comment section is not the appropriate forum for long-winded debates with belligerent theists(which they seek, sending me essay sized comments frequently), but clear and concise comments (whether they are respectful or offensive). And just because my policy says “if you expect respect, show some,” does not mean you must be respectful, it is a warning that if you are not you should expect any mercy. In any event, the theists my policy is designed to prevent from dragging us into endless debates without cause have also given them other ways to debate me, such as the radical idea of writing a post of their own in response. In effect, the only things my comment policy screens are challenges for endless debating (made by theists who camp out at my site) that should take place on blog post sections and spam (though if it is amusing I may approve it).

  8. Debates are rarely ever to change the mind of the one you’re debating, but rather to influence the minds of the audience. If you think “winning” an argument is having your opponent concede, you’re dead wrong, at least in terms of atheist/theist debates. Also, if you think that kind of win is what equates to accomplishment, once again you’re wrong. So with these obvious errors as your foundation, it’s no surprise you’d have a comment policy since you’re missing the whole point.

    If in a debate, you should welcome the rants, the caps locks, the cursing, the wild irrational behavior, all of it. Your play is for the audience. Make no mistake, the approach most christians take is one of being a frustrating little shit until you snap and then they go on and on about how angry and irrational you are. Why? It completely undermines you, and by extension, your argument. Turnabout’s fair play, imo, only I won’t resort to snark and tricks to provoke heated responses. I’d rather rely on the overwhelming power of my position and how I present it. 😉

  9. I think having a comment policy is just fine. This is your blog, not a public forum. There are things you don’t want to see here and you posted a policy so people will know before they participate. If someone doesn’t want to participate because rules stifle their intellect, they can get their own blog, link to yours and tell everyone what an idiot you are.

    Trolls aren’t just people who may hold opinions that you disagree with or find offensive. Trolls are seeking to interfere with and disrupt the dialogue. Fuck them. Not that I have a problem with trolls (or readers 🙂 ) but that’s how I would handle it. I state right on my blog, everything is subject to the “reasonable people” standard. On my blog, “reasonable people” means me.

  10. Nice Philly. You take one element of my argument, blow it out of proportion as if it is my entire argument, then condemn me based on your conclusion, which is fed by your own flagrant assumptions. Well done. You prove your point well that if you are going to debate in a meaningful way, it should be on your own terms – and I entirely agree with that point. And all manipulation of the facts aside Philly, the comment section is not an appropriate place for long-winded debates – the posting sections are. You talk about the Christians who swear and use CAPS and all of this other nonsense. Yeah, fine, those are easy to discredit in about five seconds. But I haven’t run into those guys on my blog yet – I have the essayists who come back again and again and again no matter how many times I have their asses to them. It is a waste of my time to converse with them and destroy their arguments anywhere but my posting section, as it takes valuable time away from that section and my writing on a logical worldview.

    And any theist who thought my position was weak after adopting the comment policy is rethinking that now after I dissected one of their ranting comments and destroyed one of their friends in a post (I mercifully kept the poor man anonymous). The comments have stopped, for now, anyway – probably regrouping at church. Anyway, it is all about the proper forum and the best way to get your message across. And if you are going to take a man down, you may as well do it so he can’t get up again (or at least for a long, long time). In the end, what matters is that we promote a logical view of the world and we can do that and debate theists best our posting sections, not in our commenting sections. Commenting sections are for such things slogans and idle chatter, not any meaningful debate, regardless of what you think the point of debating is.

  11. How am I blowing anything out of proportion? Saying you’re wrong is condemning you? Talk about “blowing out of proportion” (can someone say “drama queen”?). LOL

    Rather than wishing to play god with my blog, laying down the wisdom from on high and laying down rules for how the masses must behave as they feast on my mana from heaven, I prefer my posts to be sparks or starting points for discussion. Comments are encouraged, challenges are desired, and corrections begged for on my blog. Knock yourself out with your controlled environment, pal.

    Have a nice day.

  12. It also depends on what you want your blog to be. If you wish to encoursge dialogue but not host debate, a comment policy is warranted. If you wish it to be more of an anything goes along with flames and trolls and what have you, knock yourself out. However, I don’t think trying to publicly bully someone in their own blog is necessary or appropriate. We are guests in this space. (((Billy))) gets to decide what he wants this to be, not any of us.

  13. Bullet: As stated in the original post, I acted without thinking the situation through. In their own way, both PhillyChief and Exterminator helped me to think the situation through. Comment policies will not stop an induhvidual from making an ass of themselves. Nor will it stop trolls. Nor will it stop an attack.

    You are correct in that this is my blog and I get to decide what I want it to be. That does not rule out asking for advice (which I did) or taking that advice and using it. I still have a comment policy. If you look at the top of this page on the left, you will see it. It is not the original knee-jerk policy I first developed. It is a policy put into place using the advice of bloggers who have my deepest respect.

    I have no problem (so far) with debate. I fully expect that sometime in the future I will make an egregious logical error and (rightfully) get my ass handed to me. As far as flamers and trolls, well, I need to develop a thicker skin. My new view is, however, that trolls and flamers come with the territory and if they wish to put their ignorance and/or stupidity on public dislplay, I will not stop them.

  14. Well if you want to create a fantasy land and play god in it then by all means, create your fucking rules and have your little sheltered corner of the internet. I prefer embracing reality, and in reality you can’t control what people say or how they say it. I thought the atheists in these parts were more entrenched in reality than escapist fantasy. My mistake I guess.

    As for saying Billy was forced to change, explain pal. Show me how saying a such a policy will make me not come back was bullying. I for one am not delusional about my sense of importance. I know I’m not some wildly popular guy whose support is sought in order to secure a successful blog, so saying I won’t return to such a blog is hardly a threat. If the roles were reversed and I was convinced my rule choice was right, I’d let the person go and not give a rat’s ass. No, what happened is Billy listened to WHY I didn’t like the rules and guess what? Not being a pig-headed, close-minded ass he listened, considered, and decided he favored my opinion more than his hasty one.

    Now maybe if Billy was 13 you might have some case but for fuck’s sake, we’re talking about a grown man, a fucking vet! You really think you need to come to the rescue to save such a man from the likes of me? That’s cute and all but once again, please, come join us in reality. It’s nice, you’ll like it. 😉

  15. Thanks Philly, you have a nice day too. And don’t let anyone tell you to stop being a jackass. Flaunt your right to be one.

  16. And continue to assert your authority to be THE jackass in YOUR world, Chase, although honestly, I’d allow you to claim it out here in reality, too. 😉

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