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Asymmetric commenting

Yesterday morning I had only a few minutes to put up something on the blog before I had to leave for a volunteer gig at the Special Olympics. The article, Obot Wars VII: A New Hope, was one of those articles that I expected to get few comments on, yet as of this writing the number of comments is 330.

I think that number of comments is not due to the article but to a comment left on it, the sixth:

William: Name one vital historical development in the world historically that met an exact deadline to the day?

Over the past week or so, I’ve been watching episodes of the TV series NUMB3RS. For the benefit of those not familiar with the program, a college math professor uses applied mathematics to help the FBI solve crimes and catch criminals. My math training was on the theoretical rather than the applied side and quite a bit on that show sounds like technobabble to me, but the general idea that human interactions can be quantified has stuck in the back of my mind and came forward as I was thinking of the reaction to the comment quoted above. A small commented garnered a big response.

While the comment seems simple enough on the surface, it really is a powerful topic-shattering statement, working in two ways. On topic, it appears to be a defense of Zullo’s continual promises of evidence that are don’t get delivered. It has the goading quality of unfairness, since Zullo is not just late; he has been delaying his last set of revelations for a year and a half, and now is holding out for next October or November. In addition to raising the unpopular (on this site) idea that Zullo should be given more time, it provides the opportunity to revisit everything Zullo ever argued against Obama and every argument that can be raised against Zullo, so we get topics like

  • The full faith and credit clause
  • The de facto officer doctrine
  • Commenter demands of other candidates
  • Donald Trump
  • Obama’s “questionable background”
  • Citizens’ right to an investigation
  • Hawaii verifications
  • Who in the Hawaii Department of Health holds a political office
  • The definition of “hearsay”

The second effect of the comment is to ask a literal question, sending readers scurrying off looking for vital historical developments that came off on time, leading the way for the introduction of topics as far from Obama Conspiracy Theories as could be, like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This online community has selected itself around certain consensus opinions, and gets along pretty well; however, once the topic ranges outside familiar territory, differences surface and arguments start, like secondary fires after an explosion. We get topics such as:

  • Pearl Harbor
  • Moon Landing
  • D-Day
  • Operation Sea Lion

Unlike our typical drive-by birther commenter, this one stayed around to keep things rolling, introducing:

  • Obama’s Selma speech
  • The authenticity of historical citations
  • Eric Holder
  • Anonymous office seeker somewhere who allegedly tried to seal records
  • John McCain birth certificate
  • Vladimir Putin
  • How candidates are vetted
  • Congressional certification of elections
  • Acton & Dystel bio
  • Birther lawsuits: dismissal vs. decision on the merits
  • Is Zullo a witch?
  • Insults, present and historical
  • Tea Party and anti-Obama rhetoric
  • The use of the name “tea bagger” and its origins

The asymmetric comment appears to either have been intentional or at least co-opted based on the closing comment for the day from the commenter that started it:

William: So works done for the day.

That was some hard earned dollars. But it rallied up the team Obots, for what is about to come.

We’re really a pretty soft target. Perhaps this will help explain why I sometimes bring in the topic police here.

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17 Responses to Asymmetric commenting

  1. avatar
    alg April 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    William: “Name one vital historical development in the world historically that met an exact deadline to the day?”

    Name one believable criminal investigation anywhere that delivers “universe shattering” results on a Christian internet radio show from Florida.

  2. avatar
    justlw April 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    “We’re really a pretty soft target.”

    It’s true. As others have pointed out before me: in discussions like this, you usually have one side that tends to say,

    “YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND ANYTHING YOU SAY IS NONSENSE”

    and another side that is more inclined to say,

    “You know, there may be some point you think you’re trying to get to, but…”

    I have studiously avoided assigning any putative ideology to either side, but plug this in to any conspiracy topic you care to, and see if this dichotomy fits.

  3. avatar
    Arthur April 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    Well I thought my comparison of the CCP to Operation Sea Lion was brilliant! Probably deserved it’s own thread . . . maybe it’s own blog!! My first article: “Germany was Zulloed: How Operation Sea Lion Turned into a Steaming Pile of Taitz Because the Luftwaffe Failed to Meet a Deadline.”

  4. avatar
    Bernard Sussman April 11, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    Funny thing: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) website misses its deadline, all the anti-Obama people say it’s a total failure.

    But Crazy Joe Arpaio misses ALL of his deadlines – not just on Obama’s birth certificate, but on court orders relating to racial profiling, abusing prisoners, abusing suspected undocumented immigrants – and the anti-Obama people refuse to notice.

  5. avatar
    Bovril April 11, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    Speaking of asymmetric posting…….8-)

    BitterDelusional has been gifted with a (probably temporary) week long ban on posting insane drivel at Free Republic.

    http://freerepublic.com/focus/news/3142639/posts?page=293#293

    To: butterdezillion

    I see you’re spreading your manure on legitimate threads.

    Take a week off.

    293 posted on 11 April 2014 01:20:28 by Admin Moderator

    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 292 | View Replies]

    No one at home…

    http://freerepublic.com/~butterdezillion/

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    That was an irony that I didn’t fail to notice. I thought first of replying to William:

    “Thank you for making case for excusing the delays in the successful roll-out of healthcare.gov.”

    Bernard Sussman: Funny thing: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) website misses its deadline, all the anti-Obama people say it’s a total failure.

    But Crazy Joe Arpaio misses ALL of his deadlines – not just on Obama’s birth certificate, but on court orders relating to racial profiling, abusing prisoners, abusing suspected undocumented immigrants – and the anti-Obama people refuse to notice.

  7. avatar
    nbc April 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: That was an irony that I didn’t fail to notice. I thought first of replying to William:

    ROTFL…

  8. avatar
    Dave April 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    The commenting on that thread reminded me of another fixed pattern in birther-anti-birther interactions, which is this: birthers make a statement that is both factually dubious and of no real relevance, and the anti-birthers respond to the factual errors even though the lack of relevance means there is no actual point. I think we do this because researching facts is, basically, fun, so we jump on the opportunity to do it.

    An example would be the allegations that the PDF file of the birth certificate the White House posted was a forgery. Birthers act like the implication of this allegation is that it proves that Obama is not eligible for the Presidency, but of course the most it would do is prove an embarrassment to the Obama administration. Yet we had anti-birthers putting in some very impressive effort to demonstrate that the allegations were BS, even though those allegations had almost no implications anyhow.

    In the present case, William’s question about historical events happening on a schedule is I guess supposed to imply that Zullo’s constant delays are ok. But the delays are only a small part of the problem with Zullo. The delays, which have been going on for almost two years, combined with a lame explanation of why he’s keeping everything under wraps, combined with the laughable results last time he did release something, all point in one direction: the man has nothing. It doesn’t prove he has nothing, but it sure points that way. And whether or not Pearl Harbor happened on schedule has nothing to do with that.

  9. avatar
    Paper April 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Dave:

    An example would be the allegations that the PDF file of the birth certificate the White House posted was a forgery. Birthers act like the implication of this allegation is that it proves that Obama is not eligible for the Presidency, but of course the most it would do is prove an embarrassment to the Obama administration. Yet we had anti-birthers putting in some very impressive effort to demonstrate that the allegations were BS, even though those allegations had almost no implications anyhow.

    And it is not even possible, given Hawaii’s verifications and link from its website to the White House posting of the birth certificate online. Or if the PDF is a forgery, it is a forgery just for the fun of it? In that it duplicates all the information correctly and authentically.

    I cannot forge my own signature, though I find that a provocative, paradoxical notion. Hawaii cannot forge the birth certificate. It could only be fraud, not forgery.

    That’s the end of the forgery conversation, but as you say…some very impressive take-downs on the details and facts, nonetheless.

  10. avatar
    bgansel9 April 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Dave: In the present case, William’s question about historical events happening on a schedule is I guess supposed to imply that Zullo’s constant delays are ok. But the delays are only a small part of the problem with Zullo. The delays, which have been going on for almost two years, combined with a lame explanation of why he’s keeping everything under wraps, combined with the laughable results last time he did release something, all point in one direction: the man has nothing.

    That’s not true! He does have a donation button. I’m sure he believed that button needed some attention.

  11. avatar
    justlw April 12, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Arthur: Yeah, according to birther logic, if you laugh at birthers or make fun of their claims, it’s not because you think they’re stupid, it’s because you’re terrified.

    Sidesplitting terror.

  12. avatar
    bgansel9 April 12, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    RanTalbott: Literally: BR has two stories on the topic. One is a link to the Business Insider story, under the title “Feeling The Heat: Obama Laughs About ‘Crazy’ Birth Certificate Questions”. The other is “Video: Obama Whines About Birth Certificate; Felony Sitting On White House Website”

    And yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a headline which seemed to indicate that Kathleen Sebelius was stepping down amid controversy. I get the feeling these people shouldn’t be placed into positions in journalism. They just don’t seem to understand reality enough to report on it accurately.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    The Wall Street Journal is owned by NewsCorp, the same right-wing paranoid folks that bring you Fox News.

    bgansel9: And yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a headline which seemed to indicate that Kathleen Sebelius was stepping down amid controversy. I get the feeling these people shouldn’t be placed into positions in journalism.

  14. avatar
    Dave April 12, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    I’ve noticed the same thing about the WSJ. Their editorial page has always been right-wing, but since it was bought by NewsCorp the reporting has been clearly been heading away from journalism and towards Fox News.

  15. avatar
    bgansel9 April 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The Wall Street Journal is owned by NewsCorp, the same right-wing paranoid folks that bring you Fox News.

    Yes, I am fully aware. I deliver several hundred WSJ’s almost every night, a large portion being packaged in bulk to high school teachers. I wonder if these teachers chose that publication on purpose? I cringe when I think of what the typical student is being led to read these days.

  16. avatar
    Rickey April 12, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    Dave:

    In the present case, William’s question about historical events happening on a schedule is I guess supposed to imply that Zullo’s constant delays are ok. But the delays are only a small part of the problem with Zullo. The delays, which have been going on for almost two years, combined with a lame explanation of why he’s keeping everything under wraps, combined with the laughable results last time he did release something, all point in one direction: the man has nothing. It doesn’t prove he has nothing, but it sure points that way. And whether or not Pearl Harbor happened on schedule has nothing to do with that.

    William tried to equate Zullo’s delays with the D-Day weather delays, as if they are comparable. If D-Day had been cancelled in June 1944 and re-scheduled for June 1945 because the Allies needed more time to work on the invasion plans, that would have been Zullo-esque.

    The talk of D-Day reminded of the scene in The Americanization of Emily where James Garner’s character goes to sleep the evening of June 4 thinking that he is off the hook because the ship that was supposed to transport him to Omaha Beach had left before he was able to get to the departure pier. He wakes up the morning of June 5 and learns to his chagrin that the invasion has been postponed for a day because of the weather.

  17. avatar
    Jim April 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Rickey: If D-Day had been cancelled in June 1944 and re-scheduled for June 1947 because the Allies invasion plans were found to be incoherent, idiotic, and without any basis in fact, that would have been Zullo-esque.

    FIFY…for accuracy’s sake.

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