Your Thought For the Day
Posted on August 17, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
What is best in life? TO MALLET THE TROLLS, SEE THEM DELETED BEFORE YOU, AND HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEIR BROS. #ConanTheModerator— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 17, 2012
It’s funny because it’s true! Mind you, it’s also sad because it has to be true. But isn’t that life on the Internet for you.
But the swinging mallet brings a great deal of joy to those of us who would otherwise have to read the bloody stuff!
You sir, just made my afternoon.
Virtual mallets are so much better than real ones. I get so tired of cleaning the ‘yech’ off of mine….
My Google reader said 2 comments. I got here and there was only 1! It seems like you had the mallett out quickly on this thread?
Ha! I’m going to be chuckling all day.
Your mallet skills make this a wonderfully civilized place to be.
I’m assuming you’ve seen the Conan the Barbarian: The Musical video?
The way you handle the comments here is actually inspiring. I fully plan to get my own mallet of loving correction for my own (extremly tiny, but hopefully growing) communities.
I love this blog & a big reason is the mallet of loving correction. Thanks for giving me a smile today!
Cmon, admit it to yourself. You’ve all been tempted to troll once in a while…
Quoted by a man who would one day be Moderator by his own hand!
Sir, you just made my day
Now if only we could mallet into oblivion the vocal minority who from time to time take it upon themselves to try and disrupt normal life and business to bleet on about whatever silly cause or opinion they have.
I have this image in my head of Conan the Moderator: the bastard lovechild of you, Arnold, and Gallagher…I think that’s going to be enough to keep me giggling most of the day.
As a moderator/admin on a large Star Wars board I totally agree with this..
Only now do I appreciate how thoroughly Warren Ellis has conditioned me to respond with fear and loathing to the phrase “What is best in life?” (See http://www.warrenellis.com/index.php?s=Conan%21+What+Is+Best+In+Life%3F for reference — not immediately NSFW, but all click-throughs are probably NSFW.)
Also, Conan the Moderator should seriously consider forming a super team-up with Cat Valente’s new moderation policy, The Iron Fist of Elizabeth Bennet.
(Bizarrely, although my work Internet filter is happy to give me horrible Warren Ellis body mod posts, it blocks Cat’s blog on grounds of “Games,” so I can’t provide the link right now.)
Does that mean the LAMENTATION OF THEIR BROS are landing in your inbox? Makes one wish there was a filter for that.
I hope you’re having a productive August! ;-)
Alas that the Mallet of Loving Correction is best applied virtually and not physically. There are certainly times I wish I could apply it in real life with impunity. Nevertheless, I have a lovely mental image to soothe my frustrations.
I want that on a T-shirt. Really, really, bad.
If you submit a comment to a paranoid assbag sociopath’s blog ad he mallets you, are you a troll?
stencil: Woah, too deep for the AM, man.
I’m likely to be the sole dissenter here, but I miss the pre yes men days that came before the “everyone is my friend which I shall not disagree with” current Internet.
Forums were a many to many form of communication intended primarily for the participants. Sure, there were trolls, but they were easily tuned out. Some of the most interesting material was in the diversions off the original poster’s thread.
Today’s blogs feel more like newsprint editorials. The remonstrations (wow, is that really in my working vocabulary, I think not) in my mind translate to “Come on people, we’ve got a theme going here! Stick to it. We’re not here for the enjoyment of you participants, you know, this is the age of few to many communication. This carefully crafted thread and comment stream is intended for the comfort of the nonparticipating readers. You are just here to provide the illusion of consensus. Back in line. *Snap* *Crack*.”
Malleting is nice, but I prefer Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s disemvolwing. There’s nothing like gutted corpses lying about to warn off incipient troll activity.
Rich Van Gaasbeck, have you read many of Mr. Scalzi’s posts and the attendant comment threads? IMO, they don’t fit your model at all. You might be the sole dissenter here because here, the malleting is done with discrimination and thought (and often wit) to maintain an ambience in which commenters can have lively discussion, including sometimes vehement disagreements, not to present a carefully crafted anything.
@stencil: that’s right up there with “If you get into an internet flamewar with a neo-nazi, does Godwin’s law still apply?”
“So, did Conan The Moderator return the wayward discussions to their topic. And having no further concern, he and his companions sought adventure on the Internet. Many flame-wars and online feuds did the Moderator fight. Honor and Coke Zero were heaped upon him and, in time, he became Alpha Geek by his own hand…”
John, do you want to be played by Schwarzenegger or Momoa in the movie adaptation?
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Wish I had me a Mallet. I’d use it *all the time*, and not lovingly, either. And I’m snerching “assbag” while I’m at it. Why, yes, I’ve recently been pissed off; why do you ask?
Good choice. Costanza the Destroyer was totally robbed at the Oscars.
Bah, the movies don’t count.
I’m a bit surprised that no-one’s posted a version of this yet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNZTaR5M-2A
I’ve been a message board moderator. This. VERY MUCH THIS.
Reblogged this on Collectables and commented:
I agree, but what do you do when the troll concerned is actually a right-wing politician who’s bullying and threatening you on social media because of an off-hand reference you made to his earlier tweets?
The ironic thing is that if I’d realised he was right-wing I wouldn’t have followed him even for a few days after someone’s recommendation (wakey, wakey). If I hadn’t followed him I wouldn’t have seen him bitching about QANTAS not moving him forward on a flight for free when he was sitting near what he described as screaming kids who, if memory serves, were in grade six. Because of Peter’s obvious entitlement issues (wanting to move FORWARD) etc, I decided he was an asshole and unfollowed him when I saw those tweets.
Shortly afterwards – maybe in the next day or two – John Birmingham wrote a funny blog about how HE’D PAY not to sit next to kids, to which I responded that at least he wasn’t ‘doing a Peter’, one flippant reference in one tweet. Two days later Peter realised I’d mentioned his name in spite of not actually @-ing him on twitter, so the haranguing began. He accused me of lying (not true), he threatened me with defamation proceedings, and on and on. I’ve looked at the twitter stream and either the stream is broken or he’s deleted tweets because this harassment went on for some time and yet that conversation that comes up now is very short. A friend even piped up with *popcorn* sometime after I’d already said that surely the dude is a troll, surely no politician would do this on social media etc.
I found Peter’s original tweets via Google and reposted them (I originally forgot to format them correctly as RT by Peter, but they’re there). Within a minute of posting the original content copied and pasted from Google, Peter again accused me of lying but then said he’d BLOCKED me, and subsequently ceased to harass me.
So, John, what do you recommend to people who are getting trolled or bullied by people of extraordinary power in open forums? (Politicians have both money and extraordinary power in addition to being practised bullies: you should watch Australian parliamentary proceedings for a demonstration of appalling parliamentary conduct.) Bear in mind that my twitter avatar shows I’m a woman, which Peter obviously knew before he started ripping in to me.
@Dark Matter – Make friends with his political opponents? Take your story to a newspaper? File charges if he crosses the line into physical interaction? The possibilities seem endless from where I’m standing. Bullies are ultimately cowards and they’ll back down when confronted with a greater threat.
@BW, Yeah, my comment wasn’t directed specifically at @scalzi. I’ve got two of his blog collections (shhh don’t tell him, he’ll get a big head). I totally want to get a tee shirt with his cover “You’re not fooling anyone when you take your laptop to the coffeeshop” to wear when I’m writing at the coffeeshop (or a sticker for my laptop). I’ve also got “Your hate mail will be graded”. True story, saw this title in an independent bookstore, my first exposure to @scalzi, and I’ll admit that I looked up the cost on Amazon right in the store. I consider the cover to that book the Best. Cover. Ever. Still too expensive, but I did eventually buy the ebook version. Neither of these include the comments, but yes BW, I have read some posts and comments.
My comments weren’t specifically regarding this blog. @scalzi moderates this forum more skillfully than I could do. But even he gently nudges folks toward a finely manucured English garden rather than the tumble weeds of the wild west I recall in the “old days”.
My comment was really directed toward many of the other writer, agent, and editor blogs I follow in which all the comments follow a single point of view and the blogger occasionally admonishes commenters to stay on topic and to not be controversial. As a reader, this does give a coherent story to readers. As a contributor, I’d much rather not be subject to the arbitrary whims of someone else. (And how many people do we need saying “^this” anyway?).
Say! How very considerate of you to post this just now! I’m setting up a blog so that some of my neighbors and I can discuss some local issues. Last time we tried this, it quickly became a festering troll-bridge and burned to the ground in the resulting flamewar.
I’d like to avoid having this happen again, so I plan to moderate to the best of my ability. I have Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s wisdom to refer to over on Making Light. Additionally, I request permission to link to your comment policy, at least until we get one of our own worked out. It says what I want to say, much better than I am currently able to say it, and it would be really great to have something to point to sooner rather than later.
Pretty please? :-)
And thanks for being a bastion of light on teh shadowy IntarTØØbz
@Sheila: thanks for your supportive comments. It appears he’s since deleted a whole bunch of tweets as someone else said she could only find one mention of defamation, and when I open the conversation in twitter now it’s really short. He lives interstate from me so a face-to-face is highly unlikely. Without the full list of his tweets recorded it’s much less of a story, but a few people have chipped in with comments over the past 24 hours, all of them supportive, some of whom seem to have seen the entire debacle.
I console myself with the thought that he probably had a bad week and wanted someone he could shit on from a great height to console himself: the ‘kick the cat’ analogy, he just wasn’t prepared for this cat to have claws. He’s leaving me alone at the moment so as long as that continues, I’ll let matters rest. I have enough dramas with science fiction fanzine people (all MEN as far as I’m aware) discussing ‘the Nalini thing’ (I’m Nalini and Dark Matter fanzine is my ‘thing’) and putting down my zine, being sexist and rude and patronising to boot, plus I am disabled and unemployed. Taking on a politician is one thing too many, so if I can avoid this fight I will. But if he starts a fight, like Sheridan I will damn well finish it.
Sorry, I got completely distracted when Peter Cashwell mentioned Jason Momoa….what were we talking about?
@ Rich Van Gaasbeck August 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm:
“My comment was really directed toward many of the other writer, agent, and editor blogs I follow in which all the comments follow a single point of view and the blogger occasionally admonishes commenters to stay on topic and to not be controversial. As a reader, this does give a coherent story to readers. As a contributor, I’d much rather not be subject to the arbitrary whims of someone else. (And how many people do we need saying “^this” anyway?)”
In the cases you cite, I think it’s reasonable for those actors to heavily moderate and keep comments civil and on-topic. Those types of blogs are marketing, a professional presentation of self on-line. The comments reflect back onto the blog owner, and could impact their career. In general, if a blog or site isn’t anonymous (or corporate, or effectively ownerless), it’s appropriate for the owner to remove content that could affect sales or have legal consequences. I don’t think it’s accurate to portray a blog or site owner’s best personal and professional judgement as an “arbitrary whim.”
I’m not a habitue of Reddit and it’s like, so I might be mischaracterizing them, but my impression is that one can go there for controversial threads that go off-topic, and are not subject to rebuke or removal. I don’t know if there really are quantifiable benefits to one or the other model, whether one type or other is more successful or popular, but obviously there is an audience for both. The internet is large enough for readers and commenters to find what they like and avoid what they don’t. As a reader and contributor, myself, I’m glad that there is such a variety, so that I may visit sites where I am not subject to the “arbitrary whims” of trolls.