Haters and spammers and trolls, oh my!

by 1389 on December 27, 2007

in 1389 (blog admin), anti-Semitism, blogging, flame war, forums, Holocaust, Israel, Nazism, Serbia, spam, trolls, wikis

To our readers, and other bloggers and admins:

As we all know, some people in the world are angry and destructive, and many of those are on the Internet. These angry people exert a negative effect on anyone who has the misfortune to encounter them, even if it is only a feeling of fatigue and disgust. Some angry and destructive persons are genuinely dangerous.

Angry orange smiley Angry red devil smiley

The Internet is a tool that can be used for good or ill. The team at 1389 Blog is working hard to do some good: to use the Internet to confront and curb jihadism and expansionist Islam, and to provide knowledge and tools to others who are working to accomplish the same goals. We will never allow anyone to abuse the comments on this blog for the purpose of undermining this effort.

False accusations, mudslinging, and editorial discretion

We have grown especially weary and disgusted with haters who use blogs, comments, forums, Wikis, social news sites, or email to circulate false allegations against others – whether it be public figures, other bloggers, entire groups of people, or whomever else they hate. Despite claims of “fairness” and “impartiality,” disinformation has been planted throughout Wikipedia and other social media, where it becomes fuel for flame wars, mudslinging, and propaganda.

Typically, one or more responders will put in hours or days of unpaid effort to refute those accusations, but then, the malicious accuser simply goes elsewhere and starts the same process all over again.

We have other things to do besides responding to the same falsehoods again and again. If these miscreants can’t win the argument on facts and logic, they hope to win by shouting us down and wasting our time.

Yes – these haters have the right to post what they want – on their own blogs – and to face whatever consequences accrue. When haters commit libel, their victims may sue. When haters incite violence against the persons or groups that they hate, they have passed the boundaries of protected political speech, and we will do what we can to shut them down.

No one has the right to take advantage of other people’s blogs and websites to spew false accusations, obscenities, and bile in front of the readership that reputable bloggers and admins have worked so hard to earn. No one has the right to spam the comments or forum threads on someone else’s website for the purpose of interfering with that website or harassing its owners and participants.

Excluding malicious comments is not censorship – it is vital editorial discretion. No blog or forum administrator – or for that matter, no publisher or media producer – can, or should, publicize every response that comes in. Bigoted ranting, name-calling, bullying and threats, spam, obscenity, incoherent rambles, libel and slander, and ad hominem attacks, attract a lynch-mob mentality, drive away decent readers and participants, and expose the website or organization to repercussions, legal or otherwise. And the endlessly misused argumentum ad Nazium, a/k/a reductio ad Hitlerum, is a signal to readers that the argument has worn itself out, and that intelligent life has departed from that venue.

Oh, and by the way…

If you want to argue with us, you’d better be loaded for bear. We expect to see verifiable evidence and valid logic, presented in a clear and civil manner. Just for starters:

  • Calling us liars, racists, Nazis, or whatever else is evidence only of your incivility. Accusing us of being “racists” or “Holocaust deniers” or “fascists” merely because we do not accept your accusations against Jews, Israelis, Serbs, European conservatives, white Americans, or whomever it is you happen to hate, doesn’t cut it either.
  • Hearsay, rumors, innuendo, or unconfirmed urban legends, or something you thought you heard from a “friend of a friend,” does not make for sufficient evidence to back up an allegation.
  • Articles in Wikipedia are acceptable only for noncontroversial matters, such as technical background, computer and Internet history, and definitions of words and phrases (as shown here in the previous item). But when it comes to controversial political, religious, or historical issues, Wikipedia is far too vulnerable to vandalism, flame wars, and spin, and we generally cannot accept it as evidence. (See our Reference Material resource page, and Byzantine Sacred Art: Wikipedia, the Source of Disinformation, for more on Wikipedia spin jobs.)
  • For that matter, we roundly condemn Wikipedia’s self-righteous pretense of enforcing a neutral point of view. It is senseless to make a virtue out of amorality! When we write or blog, we do our best to gather and publish the whole truth and nothing but. There is no neutral ground between right and wrong, between good and evil, between truth and error. There is no room for diluting the truth by presenting falsehood alongside it, in an effort to appear “fair and balanced.” The devil has too many spokesmen already, and too many spokeswomen too!
  • Making patronizing remarks, such as claiming that you “pity” us, is nothing more than mudslinging disguised behind a false sense of moral superiority, and it will get your remarks flushed into the spam bucket without a second thought.
  • If you, or any of your sources have a vested interest in the issue that could affect credibility, we expect you to disclose it.
  • Just because you saw something in the mainstream media does not automatically mean it is true. Many stories, photos, and videos have appeared in the mainstream media and have later been shown to be planted by untrustworthy sources, staged, mislabeled, Photoshopped, or otherwise falsified. Check it first!

In particular, we will not post comments that contain racist or bigoted ranting, especially the anti-Semitic ranting and the Serb-bashing that seems to be plaguing the blogosphere these days. We don’t care how many times you have seen or heard the same piece of Serb-bashing or Jew-bashing or Israel-bashing in the blogosphere or even in the mainstream media. As we have just pointed out, this does NOT make it true, nor does it give you any right to repeat it here.

What’s a blogger or admin to do?

1389 Blog posts a comments policy and we enforce it consistently. Anyone with a modicum of common sense should already be aware of what is acceptable on this and most other blogs. But if you have any doubts, read it before you send us email or comment on this, or any other, post on this blog.

We encourage people to post comments or use the Contact Us form in our blog to expose injustice or other wrongdoing. We have no objection to leveling verifiable accusations against public officials or other culpable individuals, organizations, or governments. We have no objection to polemics or to strong opinions. We encourage readers to engage in vigorous debate and to point out any factual errors that we or other commenters might make. We also encourage readers to investigate and report suspicious incidents and criminal or terrorist activity, and to keep us up to date with that information. But if the accusations cannot be substantiated, the communication in question will be either refuted or deleted.

It is up to us, as bloggers and admins, to maintain civility in our part of the blogosphere. If we fail to make this effort, the better part (in both senses of the word) of our audience will leave. I suggest that it is time for each of us to set up and enforce our comment policies to stop that from happening. And when it comes to dealing with haters, I suggest that we take care neither to let malicious commenters spew their bile until everyone else gives up and lets the haters have the last word, nor to allow false accusations to stand unanswered in any of our comment or forum threads.

Also see:

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ken the Murfreesboro Web Design expert December 28, 2007 at 6:16 pm

Ouch! It is pretty sad that we have to deal with the jerks – I guess it’s how they feel important.


2 Kerry Lanaux December 30, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to keep us informed. This battle goes beyond the physical and I know you know that. GOD bless you all. Keep up the good fight.

3 Murfreesboro SEO August 27, 2008 at 1:02 pm

It makes me sad when I hear of 13 year old girls killing themselves because of a online bully, people do not understand that words do hurt even if they are not spoken words!

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