Friday, April 13, 2007

Trolls and “limits-testers”

Trolls are a lot like those kids in junior high who were happy to see one kid hurt another kid. They pretended to be innocent while they “passed” messages that got one kid angry and ready to fight another.

Some were so mean that would even say to another kid who’d lost his hair following chemo-therepy: “I’m really sorry that other kid called you ‘Baldy.’ I’d never call you “Baldy.”

Mean and envious kids like that grow up to be trolls commenting at blogs.

One of the most satisfying things about being a blogger is the chance I get to hit the flush key.

The overwhelming majority of you at JinC understand and support flushing.

You also understand this is my blog and the trolls are free to start their own blogs or go to the millions of other blogs and complain or try to do at those blogs what mean kids in junior high do.

I’ll keep hitting that flush key.

“Limits testers” are those who may have a legitimate purpose but test the limits of this blog in a variety of ways.

I’m not one for foul language. I don’t want it at JinC. Some LTs have started using foul language in comments.

One LT who has made some very worthwhile comments here got into LT foul language deliberately.

I gave him a pass because, among other reasons, it was a few days before what I was confident would be the dismissal of the charges, and this particular LT had, as a citizen journalist, made many comments relevant to the falseness of the charges.

So I didn’t want to delete that LT on the eve.

But in the future I will quickly and finally.

Other LTs think this is a place for nasty name calling and personal attacks on each other, kind of like some cheap bar.

No, it’s not.

Just recently some few commenters have decided JinC is a good place to spew their venom. Let’s “hate the 88,” they say. Publish their names. Again and again.


What you “hate the 88” are doing is disgusting and dangerous.

I abhor what just about all of the 88 have done. I think Duke should take a serious look at whether some of them can be discharged from Duke because of violating DU rules governing faculty conduct.

There’s a lot more I think about the 88, and I’ll be saying some of that and supporting it with facts in the not too distance future.

I hope what I say encourages more responsible DU faculty to speak out and expose and isolate the 88 and their faculty and administration supporters.

Meanwhile, to “hate 88” commenters who’ve begun showing up here and posting lists: Stop.

If you must keep doing it, join the trolls and find another blog where you’ll feel “at home.”

And don’t bother with the “but, but, John, what I and others who believe in free expression were ….”

I’ll hit the delete button.

Then you go find one of the 7 million plus blogs where you’ll feel at home.

All of you sensible people reading this post know a lot is happening now that important.

You’ll understand that I’ll be flushing and deleting and you don’t have to ask if I mean you.

A UNC law prof has just posted an article at Slate saying what many of us have been saying for months: Nifong is very likely liable for criminal charges.

You’ve seen Charns’ email to media.

And so much more.

To paraphrase Duke’s President, Richard (“Whatever they did was bad enough”) Brodhead, this is no time to be playing Troll and LT games.

I hope you also take a look at this post: “Saluting citizen journalists.”

It’s about almost all of you.



wayne fontes said...

Limit Testers I'm chuckling to my self. I do remember personally testing John's limits with a post employing Grateful Dead lyrics in a most salacious manner.

The decorum on this board has been a welcome oasis. Keep their feet to the fire John. Have you heard from Charlie Piot lately?

DukeEgr93 said...

John - I definitely think over the last months as it's become "safer" to come out in favor of "Innocent" that some of the lunatic fringe have gotten bolder. It's funny - when I first used the Power of the Delete Post, I apparently pretty much put a halt to all comments on my threads. I think a combination of that and requiring that people register with xanga (it's free, but takes time) kept my blog free from both dangerous and useful conversations.

Here, the Word Verification step alone seems to have really helped limit the LTs and the trolls, as well as your vigilance in patrolling. As you say, it *is* your blog and just as I wouldn't let guests write certain things on my walls it's OK not to let people use your space for certain messages. (well...I wouldn't let guests write anything on my walls, really.)

It's been both exciting and depressing to watch the media re-form it's message, but it is primarily because of the work you have done in both recording the history of their actions as well as demanding accountability for them that we can sit back and see just what illegitimate things they have done. The next few months should be interesting times indeed for our local papers of record.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John for keeping the cussin, personal histories and talk of body parts and fluids off this blog. Winnie would approve.