Housekeeping Notes, 6/2/09

I made my daily writing quota on the project I’m working on — go me — so herewith a couple of housekeeping notes for the day.

1. I don’t generally ban people from commenting on the site, but when I do, it’s generally because they’ve made it clear they’re not fit to play with the other people on the site, and what I don’t appreciate are the repeated efforts to keep posting. Yes, it’s possible to get around my black list, but that just means I’m going to delete your posting when I see it; you can change your name or e-mail or whatever, but what you can’t do is change who you are, which is a dick. This is why you’re no longer allowed to post comments here, and why I will recognize you when you attempt to post again. Save me the time of having to track down your comments and kindly just fuck off, will you. There’s a whole rest of the Internet for you to play on. Go play on it.

2. I’m getting a whole lot of e-mail recently from people asking for link exchanges for their commerce sites. Some of these are automated and just go directly into the spam filter anyway, but more and more seem to be handcrafted. If you’re someone thinking of handcrafting a link exchange request, please don’t bother; the answer is no, I won’t do a link exchange, or post your URL somewhere on the site or whatever. I occasionally point to commerce sites if there’s something of specific interest to me, but that’s not anything you can ask or plan for. I also don’t accept advertising on the site, etc. Basically, your money’s no good here, so don’t try to flash it around; likewise I have all the traffic I need, thanks.

33 thoughts on “Housekeeping Notes, 6/2/09

  1. I know it’s more work for our Esteemed Host, but I have to say that some of my favorite comments have text along the lines of “[This post was deleted because the poster continues to be an unrehabilitated dickwad.]” Only more creatively phrased. (My hate mail would rate no better than a C-, I’m afraid. I just can’t summon the requisite levels of vitriol.)

  2. Hmph. That sounds like a lose-lose. More work for you, and no entertainment for us. No wonder you’re so cranky about it.

  3. Go you! Now get a head start on tomorrow’s quota! (Just kidding. The list of things I haven’t done stretches to the moon, even if you only count the ones I should have done and meant to do.)

    As for bannees, can’t you at least partially automate that? I suppose you can’t get them if they post from internet cafés and use a different name every time, but are they really that determined? If so, it’s a short path from troll to griefer, isn’t it?

    Am I the only one who thinks that the guy with the same name as that cult leader from the 70s is the one who inspired part 1?

  4. Well, I for one propose that John re-name the Loving Mallet of Correction. If people are being “dicks” and told to “fuck off”, shouldn’t the discipline tool be called something more fearsome? “Loving” just doesn’t do it for me… how about “The Dick Pounding Mallet of Correction”?

  5. I kinda liked that 10,000 lb weight that used to drop on people in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Nobody expects the (CLUNK)…

  6. I would like to think that a comment registration process could help separate the flamers from the genuine folks… Something questionnaire-like:

    1) Are you a dickwad?
    2) No, really, are you a dickwad?
    3) Are you currently upset/aggravated/angry?
    4) Would you repeat the statement that you are about to post to your mother and/or grandmother without feeling like a dickwad?

    I think those questions would go a long ways towards helping; however, one should never underestimate the shear degree of dickwaditude a dickwad possesses. Ideally, Mr. Scalzi should be able to reach through teh interwebs and deliver said mallet blow. Maybe a USB Mallet(R) peripheral required for all posters?

  7. Re: Commerce links.

    The worst one I saw on my own blog said, “Don’t be an asshole and filter this. This is not spam!”

    Sadly, I was unsympathetic to his problems with my Askimet filter.

    Yea, Askimet.

  8. An actual user registration system may help with some of that as it would at least require a valid (and unique) e-mail address but there are certainly tradeoffs regarding the overhead of maintaining the user database, lost passwords, etc, though some of that can probably be automated to some extent..

    All in all, it sure would be easier if people wouldn’t be dicks, or at least, if they wouldn’t be large enough dicks to warrant their expulsion from life in general. I’ve become more of a fan of not enabling comments on most blog posts, though of course that also carries some adverse effects on the community aspects of the blog.

    It’s a tough road to walk, like fighting e-mail spammers, you’re pretty much damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Pretty much all you can do is creatively vent about it to release some frustration, which I guess you, and now I, have just done…

  9. Tim:

    On average I have to ban a person or two a year, and once they continue to see their comments deleted, most stop coming back. Given the generally low incidence of genuine dickheadedness, I prefer to keep commenting open.

  10. Thanks for comment #11. I kinda like it when you go off on the dick wads. I’m able to rant vicariously through you.

  11. DG @ 1

    Darn near spewed powerade all over the computer.

    “unrehabilitated dickwad” just cracks me up.

    On a related note, thank goodness I won’t be teaching middle school students next year. Perhaps my sense of humor will take a step back toward maturity.

  12. Oh, the bane of 21st century youth!! No morals, ethics or understanding of the world in general!

    (Typing another 21yo guy who can’t even write english properly… Give me a good Finnish SF writer, so I can hang on his/her blog and stick to my native language!!!)

  13. At the risk of being a dickwad I do believe those weights were somewhere on the order of 32,000 lbs (16 tons)…

    …of course you could always just release the tiger. As long as he doesn’t have a pointed stick. Or a pomegranate.

  14. Ok… I know this doesn’t actually pertain to housekeeping, but…

    What fulfills your quota? A certain amount of time spent reading/researching/writing/editing? A certain number of pages? A certain number of words? Sorry to stray, but I’m always interested in a person’s process.

  15. LMOC is perfect as is. In a kind of “this hurts me more than it does you” sorta way.

    This could go off into how anonymity breeds contempt rather easily, which is true, but what I prefer to talk about, and have seen here many times, is when a member of the family chills when John reminds them or self corrects before John has to say anything at all. To me, that is one of the touchstones for deletion or banning. If you back up, apologize, and restate in less inflammatory terms, you made the cut. If you have a jug of kerosene and use it, you’re done, and I’m OK with that.

    “Unrehabilitated dickwad” is too funny and sadly too true.
    The “would you say this to your mom or grandma” thing echo’s how I approached certain topics when teaching sexual harassment classes while in the military. A majority of the young sailors seemed to get it when stated in those terms.

  16. In the interest of completeness: presumably the intermittent pimp threads you start are exempt from the commercial link posting ban…or at least the restrictions are loosened.

  17. You know, being banned from the Whatever has kind of a cachet to it. Well, OK, more like infamy. Considering that these banned people are a special form of assholiness, perhaps as a public service they should physically be marked in some way?

    I suppose branding or tattooing is a little beyond the pale, but maybe we could force them to wear a special T-shirt?

    Front: “Caution! I’ve been anned from the Whatever by John Scalzi! Stand Clear!”
    Back: “Dickwad”

    I’ve had to ban a few commenters, mostly anti-LHC fanatics and a couple of neocon crazies. Mostly they just email me death threats now. It’s sort of amusing, in an illiterate frothy spittle fashion. I’ve had a rash of them in the last couple of days.

  18. I’ll tell ya one thing. When I discovered this blog and decided to post my first reply, the obvious first question was what kind of name to use. There’s a lot of fora and otherwise on the ‘net where I go by the handle Spudboy, or, if that’s taken, Spudboy57. And I’ll be perfectly candid in that I agonized over the wisdom of using my real name here. However, the way I see it, John is here under his real name and I think it only polite to honour him with the same courtesy. Lo and behold, the urge to be a dick diminishes somewhat when it’s your real name heading up the post. Not that I didn’t break into a sweat when I read the title of this subject. I’d hate to wear out my welcome here.

  19. Why do I read about people getting banned and think, what? I’m not good enough to be banned?

  20. Although I don’t propose to mark offenders with a scarlet ‘D’, a page of infamy would be awesome. Kind of like the wanted posters in old westerns, they could provide the quotes that got this person banned and ‘Have you been trolled by this dickwad?’

  21. Since it takes a really special kind of jerk to be banned here I suspect they are already blocked from wide swaths of the rest of the internet outside 4chan.com

  22. The ban I’m most proud of was this one:
    ‘Suspended
    Your account has been temporarily suspended. This suspension is due to end on Thursday, March 20, 4747 3:52:58 AM.’
    Man. Talk about overkill. That’s not just a ‘ban’ anymore… that’s a ban of ‘biblical proportions’.
    The guys that run corporate fora are really sensitive about threads that cut through the marketspeak in their product hype. For the record I’ve been reinstated there although there’s one vicious dweeb that tries to ban me every couple of months or so; fortunately I have friends ‘on the inside’.

  23. John,

    I linked to Whatever on my weblog; the least I could do after blatantly stealing ” the mallet of loving correctness”, and was thinking of editing the post in explanation of what your site is about, and specifically to mention the column you do for AMC.

    Yes, No, Who Cares?

    Bron

  24. “what you can’t do is change who you are, which is a dick. This is why you’re no longer allowed to post comments here, and why I will recognize you when you attempt to post again. Save me the time of having to track down your comments and kindly just fuck off, will you. There’s a whole rest of the Internet for you to play on. Go play on it.”

    Or go play in traffic, even.

  25. Others have covered the dickwad issue; as for the link exchange spam, that’s one of the unfortunate side effects of winding up with a decent placement in Google. There are people who make a business (of sorts) of trying to set up link exchanges for other people’s lame-assed, low-traffic sites (“Dear sir, your literary history site is excellent; please link to my client’s site about toilet plungers…”). I manage a couple of high traffic sites and get so much of that stuff that I just filter it all into a spam folder and dump it without even looking.

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