30 December 2019

Trolls again.....

One of the disadvantages of a blog becoming more widely read is that it starts attracting the attention of various kinds of nutcases and obsessives.  These include ideological purists who feel obligated and entitled to post tendentious screeds in the comments to "correct" me whenever I deviate from the mandatory orthodox position on something or other (Brexit and Israel come to mind).  They practically never address the specifics I raise, but just regurgitate their own canned talking points.  Such incursions remain rare, however, probably because I don't post about those topics very often.

Recently, though, I've been targeted by much more intensive trolling focused on one particular issue -- transgender ideology.  This is odd because I've only ever written one post on that topic, which says pretty much everything I have to say about it.  However, almost every time one of the link round-ups includes a link related to transgender ideology, one of these trolls (I'm not sure whether it's multiple people or one person using multiple names) shows up and tries to hijack the comment thread into a squabble about that issue.  The degree of obsessiveness displayed is disturbing.  Most trolls just post short, incoherent challenges with the intent of getting the blogger to waste time and energy responding.  These people write multi-paragraph tirades laced with what feels like religious fanaticism, which is all the more weird since I've repeatedly made it clear that that kind of thing probably won't make it through comment moderation.  And remember, they're reacting to just one link, to another site, among dozens in the round-up.

I generally don't engage with trolls because, as that linked post explains, experience has shown that refusing to engage is the only way to make them go away.  These people (or this person?), however, aren't going away.  If anything, they're getting worse.  I don't know why they're targeting my blog, which only occasionally references transgender ideology by including a link or two about it in the link round-ups, rather than the many other sites (including right-wing ones) which address it regularly, but it's obvious from some of their screeds that these particular trolls aren't quite what most people would consider mentally stable.  This is disquieting given that the ideology they're pushing has an extensive history of advocating violence against people who disagree with it.  I'm not too worried about that since I've been careful about protecting my anonymity, but it's still unsettling to be in their crosshairs.

Avoiding the topic to appease them isn't an option.  I never go looking for items to put in the link round-ups, but when I happen to see something I think is important or interesting, I do include it.  If I start censoring myself to avoid harassment, that will just lead to more and more of the same, and I might as well just shut down the blog entirely.  Nor am I going to submit to the endless arguing they seem to want.  This is a blog, not a debating forum, and I'm under no obligation to provide a platform for views I find repugnant.  Anybody who dislikes anything I say is perfectly free to start their own blog and bash me there as much as they like.  Not here.

It's also obvious that any such "debate" would be a waste of time in this case, for reasons clear to anyone who's ever tried to "debate" a street preacher or a door-to-door Bible-thumper.

I do want readers to be aware of the issue, however, just in case it escalates.  For example, I've never worried much about anyone trying to hack my blog because I couldn't imagine anyone feeling strongly enough about it to go to the effort of doing so, but in this case, I'm not so sure.  If one day the blog suddenly disappears or shows signs of tampering, well, I want you to know what happened.

Now (hopefully) back to fun things.


Anonymous Rick T said...

It would be a great thing if commentary from trolls could appear in green on the system. You’d know at a glance to avoid them.

30 December, 2019 08:45  
Blogger Unknown said...

Right on. Ignore the buttons and write on (or post on).

30 December, 2019 09:10  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

I don't recommend it, but I have a confrontational nature that enjoys some cat and mouse interactions with trolls.

I've had a particular troll for years. Occasionally I'd let one of his comments through as an illustration of my point in the post's topic. I often discuss the Right Wing Authoritarian personality, the techniques of far Right propaganda, and their dishonesty in discourse.

Not that it takes much, this incites him to fits of anger, as he goes on sprees of dumping his most racist and hateful garbage. He even inadvertently submitted one of those far Right forward memes that included his own name. He knows that I know who he is and where he lives.

One small comfort is knowing I get under the skins and into the heads of deplorable people.

Also my variable ratio reinforcement schedule has succeeded in wasting a lot of HIS time.

30 December, 2019 09:29  
Blogger Ami said...

You get all the exciting stuff.
My troll(s) just want to post smutty comments about large-breasted women.

30 December, 2019 10:39  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Comment moderation is all you can do. Don't even read them before hitting delete.

30 December, 2019 14:19  
Blogger dellgirl said...

Trolls, uggghhh! They are so irritating!! I wish there was a magic ZAPPP button to get rid of them.Oh well...guess I can forget about that happening.

What a great post, I love it. It’s so full of interesting information. Thank you for sharing this.

Wishing you a terrific week!

30 December, 2019 14:45  
Blogger Mike said...

I've got a troll that likes to use famous peoples' names to promote his infatuation with an old-time stripper. I tried comment moderation and didn't like it. And I have a few people that don't have blogger accounts so I have to leave the Name/URL pick. I haven't found a way to track down the URL of a Name... yet.

30 December, 2019 14:52  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

There are two things that you can easily do about transgender trolls.

1) As I do, and as I see that you do, simply moderate all posts. When the trolls come along and try to post on your blog, vaporize them. (However, I must admit that if I got a truly vituperative or violent transgender troll comment, I might print it out of sheer perversity.) At any rate, the sheer frustration will likely make their heads explode.

2) Challenge the troll to a duel. This could go in a couple of different directions. You might offer to duel them at five paces with automatic rifles. Or, as Abraham Lincoln once did, at ten paces with cow pies. Usually, either offer will leave them flustered.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank
Acceptable pronouns: Him, his, sonofabitch

30 December, 2019 14:54  
Blogger jenny_o said...

I feel lucky not to have had unpleasant/mean/dangerous comments ... yet. Comment moderation seems to be the only way to keep it from getting seen by readers.

30 December, 2019 17:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to blog. Don't anymore due to health reasons. But there's one line of yours I noticed.

"rather than the many other sites (including right-wing ones) which address it regularly,"

Reminded me of something someone told me several times. Basically, "You're good on everything else. Why are you stubborn and wrong on this one?"

Might be why they're going after you instead of a right-winger who's wrong on everything. They think you're rational enough to understand.

Regarding violence. Julie Berman was killed just a week ago.

30 December, 2019 23:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rick: Or in the electronic equivalent of invisible ink.....

Unknown: Thanks, I intend to.

Dave: More power to you if you actually like doing that. I have just the opposite type of nature -- as soon as conflict arises, I need to disengage from it and end the interaction. It's when the aggressor refuses to end the interaction that I get nasty.

Ami: I'd gladly trade you.....

Debra: And the moderation helps a lot. Unfortunately I need to read to some extent just to know a troll is a troll.

Dellgirl: Refusing to respond or interact usually works, eventually. This bunch is more persistent.

Mike: People certainly choose odd things to be obsessed about. But nothing wrong with being obsessed with a stripper if he just started his own blog about it instead of pestering others.

Crank: My choice of weapons is comment moderation at a range of 1,000 miles.

Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with trans people as such. It's the way the trans ideology violates the rights of other people.

Jenny_o: It probably helps that you don't generally post about potentially controversial topics. Although for almost anything imaginable, there is probably someone who will stand forth and declare himself offended by it.

Anon: I tend to agree that, to an extent, they are indeed manifesting the staggeringly arrogant attitude you describe, and that includes the Brexit-bashers and Israel-bashers too. But it's generally pathological and counter-productive to attack allies you have some disagreements with instead of attacking the enemy. And again, they don't address the specifics I raise about why I take the positions I do. They just demand mindless conformity.

Violence against trans people is terrible and should be condemned. The dangers of trans ideology which I've called attention to remain dangers.

31 December, 2019 02:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Deleted Anon: Your comment was completely off-topic, and I nothing I've said supports the "purity" thing. I regularly criticize ideological purists.

31 December, 2019 02:02  
Anonymous Seafury said...

You could let us have some fun with your trolls, but seriously keep up the good work glad to see you back.

31 December, 2019 09:16  
Blogger Adam said...

One of the worst parts of the game. I don't get them much anymore.

31 December, 2019 13:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Seafury: It's tempting, but I really don't want my comment threads turning into battlefields. And thanks.

Adam: Glad to hear it.

31 December, 2019 17:10  
Anonymous Percy said...

Your bio says you're a transhumanist. I thought it had something to do with transgender.

How wrong was I? What do you think transhumanist is? I'm confused.

31 December, 2019 22:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Percy: No, transhumanism means the use of advanced technology to overcome the biological limitations humanity presently suffers from -- for example, developing a cure for the aging process, or integration of computer technology into the brain to increase intelligence. See also here on work already being done.

01 January, 2020 03:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've never worried much about anyone trying to hack my blog because I couldn't imagine anyone feeling strongly enough about it to go to the effort of doing so, but in this case, I'm not so sure."

Kind of like how some people can't imagine someone pretending to switch genders to get an athletic advantage, etc.

01 January, 2020 05:55  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I agree with you in not engaging the trolls. It's just easier to delete their comments and go on.

01 January, 2020 10:22  
Anonymous Big Ezra said...

Good article, but I hate, hate, hate that image.

The big nose, the unshaven beard, the bulging eye and the sinister smile -- all combine into something that looks anti-Semitic. My first thought on seeing it? "What the hell is that anti-Jewish stereotype doing here?" I was half-expecting it to leap out with a "Kike" or "Jude" written on its chest.

It's not a matter of being sickening or offensive. It's that images like that face were used to scare people into hating and killing us. We don't need an image which suggests "troll = Jew."

There are plenty of troll images which don't look like Nazi propaganda. (The trolls from Frozen don't, for example.) Would you be willing to use one of them, please?*

*Not necessarily one from Frozen.

02 January, 2020 11:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: Good point. It's hard to imagine, but people do do such things, apparently.

Mary: From now on, I intend to.

Ezra: The image didn't strike me as looking like a Jewish caricature, but out of respect for your concern, I've replaced it.

02 January, 2020 16:43  
Anonymous Big Ezra said...

Thank you for replacing the image.

02 January, 2020 16:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with everything you say but, on this, I totally agree. IMHO you are handling it well.

04 January, 2020 07:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I appreciate the support.

04 January, 2020 12:09  
Blogger CAS said...

This kind of behavior totally stinks. I see that you wrote this over a year ago and you're still here so that's good. I assume there are enterprising people out there working on anti-viciousness AI algorithms to help people protect their sites. The web is still like the wild west in too many ways.

I am amazed by the amount of material you get through in a week. The link line-up on Sunday is a great resource and I feel extremely lucky when one of my posts shows up there.

Your site is a gift to both readers and writers.

14 March, 2021 10:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Carol: Yes, still here -- although I'm taking precautions like backing up the blog more frequently, which would (hopefully) help me re-establish it at another hosting site if I had to.

I really appreciate the kind words. I look upon the link round-ups as a chance to help others enjoy all the interesting things I keep finding around the internet.

16 March, 2021 01:26  
Blogger Daal said...

I just get usual spam stuff - I wonder if it has to do with being wordpress?

26 April, 2021 16:41  

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