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Opening the open thread

I’m going to write this article and see if I still agree with it at the end.

The entire issue of free speech vs. good order involves trade-offs. This blog ran for a long time without any bans. Anybody could say anything. But there came a time when some commenters appeared who had the ability to hijack discussions, get everybody angry, and generally make it impossible for the commenting community to function. I banned some people, and in fact I banned quite a few people, and sometimes I banned one person under a host of names.

I tend to ban people who use sock puppets, and people I think are here only to provoke conflict. Whatever the reasons for a ban, they are subjective and of necessity applied in the context of my own biases.

The way a ban works now is that any comment from a banned individual is placed in moderation, not automatically deleted. I see them even though you may not. I generally delete them.

I tried something before called the off-topic dump where banned comments could be moved. The dump was time-consuming to maintain, and it didn’t allow responses. That project was discontinued.

So I’m going to try something else, using the open thread to allow uncensored speech (with the exception that copyrighted material, personal attacks and personal information on non-public figures is not allowed there or anywhere). Under this new policy, folks will still be in moderation, but posts on the Open Thread will be generally approved. Folks in moderation who post in other areas may be approved provided they are polite and not provoking a flame war, or the comment may be moved to the Open Thread when off-topic, or it may just be deleted.

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33 Responses to Opening the open thread

  1. avatar
    John Reilly November 11, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Doc:

    When we post here we are guests in your home. As guests, if we are rude, you have a right to ask us to leave.

    The First Amendment protects the right of everyone here, if they are unhappy with how you run your home, to set up their own web site.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I agree that I have the right to control the content of my own web site. The conflict arises not with the First Amendment, but with the goals of the site, “fishing for gold coins in a bucket of mud.” That activity does not require any gold coins, but it does require buckets of mud.

    John Reilly: When we post here we are guests in your home. As guests, if we are rude, you have a right to ask us to leave.

  3. avatar
    Jim November 11, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    John Reilly: Doc:When we post here we are guests in your home.

    Where’s the beer and pretzels?

  4. avatar
    alg November 11, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    It’s your blog and you can choose to run it any way you like. As for being guests in your home, it’s perfectly appropriate to remind visitors not to put their feet up on the furniture.

  5. avatar
    3fiddy5 November 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    You may see more of BR cohorts Falcon and Barry Sorerto Esq. Looks like they’re on a mission to get themselves banned from even that cesspool of a site. No small feat! It’s hilarious watching them attack one another.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I just happen to have a couple of recent comments in the trash bin, one from Scott Erlandson and one from Henry Blake, which I restored and moved to the Open Thread.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    Gerbil Report(tm) posted an article about a couple of sock puppets who posted there, giving their IP addresses. I know who they both are. That site would go totally ballistic if they knew who one of them was. 👿

    3fiddy5: You may see more of BR cohorts Falcon and Barry Sorerto Esq. Looks like they’re on a mission to get themselves banned from even that cesspool of a site. No small feat! It’s hilarious watching them attack one another.

  8. avatar
    RanTalbott November 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    The good news is that I’m in the middle of debugging a very complex system that’s behind schedule, so I don’t have time to bore people with rambling on about the philosophy of forum management. The bad news is that my necessary terseness may sound harsh.

    I think that, in practice, this will turn out to be a bad idea. If you give people with disruptive intent more latitude, they _will_ use it to disrupt. And that disruption will often result in completely trashing the open thread. Which I find especially valuable, because it often brings in useful tidbits along with the banter. I regularly unsubscribe from threads when, e.g., Nancy shows up, because the crap it generates is not worth wading through, and I suspect others do, too. I wouldn’t want to find that happening with the open threads.

    I think you were on the right track with the “off-topic dump”: instead of making it “read-only”, divert the disruptive postings there, and let them draw the nastiness away from the other threads. Let the people who want to engage the obvious trolls and other nasties do it to whatever extent you feel appropriate, but not in the middle of “the good stuff”.

  9. avatar
    gorefan November 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Gerbil Report(tm) posted an article about a couple of sock puppets who posted there, giving their IP addresses. I know who they both are. That site would go totally ballistic if they knew who one of them was.

    When was that article posted?

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    Last January:

    http://www.birtherreport.com/2014/01/obots-exposed-disinformation-campaign.html

    gorefan: When was that article posted?

  11. avatar
    Color Me Skeptical November 11, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    That birther report site is getting to be a real snoozefest unless the Doc is posting. That riles them up!

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    If it doesn’t work out, I can try something else.

    RanTalbott: I think that, in practice, this will turn out to be a bad idea.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    I’ll give it a try again in a while. I suppose I could change my IP address. My interest in their site (such as it was) is even less now that I can’t post there, and without the occasional Obot to attack, they are left to fight among themselves.

    Color Me Skeptical: That birther report site is getting to be a real snoozefest unless the Doc is posting. That riles them up!

  14. avatar
    RanTalbott November 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I suppose I could change my IP address.

    Spend the weekend in the Research Triangle, and find a university with an open campus WiFi network and lots of DARPA contracts. 😉

    Dr. Conspiracy: without the occasional Obot to attack, they are left to fight among themselves.

    Gerbil Report denizens are fungible (as in “fungi”): if there are no real Obots around, they’ll just pick a straggler and turn him into one.

  15. avatar
    Kathy McCrory November 12, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    Now here in Canada they are starting this- http://www.maxresistance.com/meet-nathan-cirillo-crisis-actor-of-the-canadian-fake-jihad/ I live in Hamilton where cpl. Cirillo is from. I wish they would stop with these Conspiracy Theories it hurts so many people.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 12, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    I was able to comment at Birther Report this morning without automatic moderation. I suppose it could get deleted later. We’ll see.

  17. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 12, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: and without the occasional Obot to attack, they are left to fight among themselves

    You could take sides with Blue Falcon and really get their panties in a knot. 😉

  18. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 12, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): You could take sides with Blue Falcon and really get their panties in a knot.

    Or more devious still, “out” one of the more vile birthers there as an obot sleeper agent. 🙂

  19. avatar
    Jim November 12, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: My interest in their site (such as it was) is even less now that I can’t post there, and without the occasional Obot to attack, they are left to fight among themselves.

    I take a peek every now and then, but it’s kind of worthless without being able to interact with them. Pretty sad that their main hate target, the President, doesn’t know or even care that they exist. They can’t have others come in and debate them because they’re so insecure in their convictions. And in order to keep their hate going, they have to hate each other. It’s like a birther game of Clue, only instead of who done it, it’s who’s the Obot?

  20. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    Jim: It’s like a birther game of Clue, only instead of who done it, it’s who’s the Obot?

    Rather more like watching a bunch of children trying to play a board game that they’re too young for.

  21. avatar
    Color Me Skeptical November 13, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    Who’s more funny at the birther report than that Cahill guy?

  22. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 13, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Or more devious still, “out” one of the more vile birthers there as an obot sleeper agent.

    No, don’t you see, you always have to do the opposite of what you actually want. If Doc “outs” someone as Obot, it will just convince birthers that someone it anything but an Obot.
    But Doc supporting Falcon against Scott would convince many that Falcon is the Obot. 😉

  23. avatar
    realist November 13, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    RanTalbott: Gerbil Report denizens are fungible (as in “fungi”): if there are no real Obots around, they’ll just pick a straggler and turn him into one.

    In my experience with birthers over the last 6+ years, that has been the reality of every birther site I’ve encountered. They eventually eat their own and disappear.

  24. avatar
    bovril November 13, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    Wading through the posts of insanity over at Gerbil Report I see it slipping more and more into a version of Dr K(H)ates site. Fewer and fewer posters, more and more denunciations, higher and higher the level of crazy.

    The site seemingly rallied for a short time after the toned down and rather submissive one post telling off of Bull Sh8T Extreme by Bob Nelson. He and Bird Brain pinky promised no more Sandy Hill or associated spam but ramped up their inner punk on Li’l Snotty.

    For a moment, it looked like the birther version of sanity would prevail with a selection of posters finally growing a (small) pair and telling BSE and Budge to knock off the internecine warfare…….. Foolish children……

    The act of attempting to reduce the cray-cray immediately meant that the dyspeptic duo had a new set of enemies to target and label as Obot’s, commies and general ne’er do well “Mozztards”.

    Since then the level of foaming, spittle fuelled, drooling insanity has hit all time highs. Everyone now must kowtow to the Duo of Dumb lest they be labeled bad-thinkers and be chased into the outer darkness and more posters are now proudly, nay hysterically waving their inner racist and general CT fuelled madness as a proud badge of honour.

    Right now you couldn’t separate BS and Birdy with a crowbar and they REALLY need to get themselves a room….

    In amidst the general, burning, leveling and sowing the ground with salt we have gems such as “Tony Bonn” screaming about how it’s all the Joooooos, “Ziocons”, Rothschild and Satan duking it out with “furtive” who proclaims herself as Jewish but with substantial self hatred and a taste for any and all conspiracy theories.

    Right now it’s all scary Moslems all the time along with a few desperate cries of “Save us Obi-Wan-Zullo, we know you can do it, we neeeeeeeeeeeed you and know you will do the right thing ANY DAY NOW”.

    The thing is they are getting boring, same lies, usually just written larger as time progresses. No pride in their work, lack of real commitment, basically just phoning it in.

  25. avatar
    wrecking ball November 13, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    bovril: … lest they be labeled bad-thinkers and be chased into the outer darkness …..

    we’ve gone from “the monsters are due on maple street” to “it’s a good life”.

  26. avatar
    Jim November 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    wrecking ball: we’ve gone from “the monsters are due on maple street” to “it’s a good life”.

    More like “Lifeforce”…sucking the birther right out of each other. 😀

  27. avatar
    Bob November 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    The Gerbil Report’s internecine battles are amusing — it’s like eavesdropping on five-year olds arguing about who gets to enter the clubhouse.

  28. avatar
    roadburner November 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    i bet bob is starting to regret his latest censorship policy

    with no obots around, the birfoons are eating each other

  29. avatar
    Jim November 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    roadburner: i bet bob is starting to regret his latest censorship policywith no obots around, the birfoons are eating each other

    Got any juicy examples? 😀

  30. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    roadburner:
    i bet bob is starting to regret his latest censorship policy

    with no obots around, the birfoons are eating each other

    I think his decision has turned out beautifully. Birther infighting always makes for good popcorn theater.

  31. avatar
    Suranis November 16, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    I just went through 3 pages of Gerbil reporting and I don’t think a single comment actually reflected the actual point of the article. It was like 10 guys in a room yelling their own particular hate filled theories and no-one was listening to one another.

  32. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Suranis:
    I just went through 3 pages of Gerbil reporting and I don’t think a single comment actually reflected the actual point of the article. It was like 10 guys in a room yelling their own particular hate filled theories and no-one was listening to one another.

    A true harmony of dissonance!

    Note: Not to be confused with the excellent Castlevania game of the same name.

  33. avatar
    Curious George November 19, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    The Post & E-mail article reveals an interesting comment made by Commander Z at the 11/18 Surprise Tea Party meeting. He is reported to have said,

    “Zullo spoke about the posse’s activities, reminding the listeners that the “first nine months” of the probe were spent “validating and verifying information that somebody else gave them.” Zullo reportedly said that following that period, the investigation “took a life of its own.”

    So how did the 9 month validation period of other people’s information (OPI) magically appear?

    From the March 1, 2012 Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office News Release :

    Arpaio stated : “A six month long investigation conducted by my cold case posse has lead (sic) me to believe there is probable cause to believe that President Barack Obama’s long form birth certificate released by the White House on April 27, 2011, is a computer generated forgery. I do not believe that it is a scan of an original 1961 paper document, as represented by the White House when the long-form birth certificate was made public.”

    (Snip)

    “Investigators advised Sheriff Arpaio that the forgers committed two crimes: first, in creating a fraudulent document which the White House characterized, knowingly or unknowingly, as an officially produced governmental birth record ; and second, in fraudulently presenting the document to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large as “proof positive” of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate. ”

    (Snip )

    “Suspecting that the long form birth certificate is a computer generated forgery, they [the investigators] now say they have identified persons of interest in the case.”

    Okay, this was announced after 6 months of “investigation.” We’re now supposed to believe the March 1, 2012 press conference didn’t happen, because it happened in 6 months instead of 9 months? If it took 9 months to validate other people’s information, why was this press conference held within 6 months of the inception of the probe? According to Commander Z, 9 now equals 6. It must be new math. AmaZing!