Patterico's Pontifications

7/13/2006

A Note on Comments and Internet Nastiness

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:33 pm



One Fine Jay, the computer wizard who has helped with with many technical issues in the past, has a post today titled Strange software behavior does not a liar make. It addresses some of the wonky stuff many of you have seen on this site in recent days. I hope Jay doesn’t mind if I simply quote it in its entirety:

I’ve been working with WordPress since it was b2. In that time I have seen a growing scourge of spam comments and all sorts of efforts to take sites down.

In my experience, the best spam plugin out there to hit the WordPress market is Spam Karma 2, which uses a heuristic, points-based system to assign a score to every comment that hits a site.

A comment approved is approved invisibly. You won’t even see it happen. When a comment is held for moderation, you will be told about it. When your comment has been detected as spam, you will be told that you will.

Now, there is an additional plugin for SK2 that revives the following features:

* An administrator must approve the comment (regardless of any matches below)
* Comment author must have a previously approved comment

Unless those checkboxes were checked as “on,” it will not force an SK2-approved comment into moderation.

This series of facts is brought to you today, by me, for all the people who would be quick to accuse one of my clients, Patterico, of being a dastardly comment-deleter.

That said, I can certainly state that these strange happenings are not a fault of the spam blocker alone, rather, a possible conflict with one or the other of the plugins that are installed involved in something else. Not that any of this matters to those who refuse to believe, but, I’m just letting it out there.

I appreciate Jay making this point, because I think that the accusation that a blogger is deleting comments to cover up his own hypocrisy is a serious one. And part of what distresses me is knowing that, if I were on the outside looking in and I didn’t know me, I would wonder what in the hell is going on too. And I might think that Patterico is trying to cover up his hypocrisy.

I already alluded to the comments problems in a previous post. Since Jay installed Spam Karma for me, I have had all sorts of bizarre problems here. I know that the people who don’t like me think that they are the only ones who have had problems. But when I went into the Spam Karma folder, I saw dozens of posts from sympathetic commenters like Jim Treacher, Just Passing Through, and Rick O’Shea. I think Rick has given up entirely on trying to comment here, but Jim e-mailed me numerous times about the problem, and Just Passing Through persisted. Also, alert reader hank k., a personal friend of mine whom I have known for 10 years, has had trouble.

The most bizarre part has been that comments have been appearing on the site and then getting put into moderation with no action from me. Jay explains that this is not my fault. But it sure looks weird. I understand that.

So to everybody who has had commenting problems over the past few days — including the people who have been desperate to make the point that I am dishonest, or a hypocrite, or some other bad thing, and have had their posts put into moderation, or posted and later eaten — I apologize. It has been very frustrating for me.

Even more frustrating is the attack that I have deliberately taken posts down because they showed me to be a hypocrite. When I came home yesterday and looked in the moderation folder, I saw numerous posts from folks like m.croche and Sev, trying to link to some complimentary comments that I had made about Misha the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. They were eager to post those comments, because those comments did indeed contradict a statement I’d made, in which I said: “His over-the-top rhetoric has never appealed to me.” Obviously, in January 2004, it had appealed to me some — not a lot, I think, but enough for me to say some kind words about him.

The kind words were probably a bit sycophantic, too, and I’m ashamed of that; I was a fairly newbie blogger and thought it was cool that a more well-known guy had left a comment on my site.

Now, I do think it’s a minor point. Our tastes change over time. I consider Bill O’Reilly a blowhard nowadays. But if you found an old diary of mine from a few years back, I wouldn’t be shocked if you found an entry that said something like this: “Watched O’Reilly again tonight. Man! That guy is great! He doesn’t let anyone off the hook!” Because I used to watch him pretty consistently.

Now, if you found that diary entry and posted it, would it mean that I would be a hypocrite nowadays to call him a blowhard? Obviously not. But it would be sloppy of me, to say the least, to say that his show has “never” appealed to me. (I don’t think I’d ever say that, but I remember watching his show better than I remember reading Misha’s site.)

So when I saw these comments in the moderation folder, I thought: “Uh-oh. They’re going to have a field day with this.” But I also thought that I had better post the comments, even if they were coming from people whom I had flagged for previous misbehavior. So I did.

Later in the evening I learned that I was being accused of having deleted the post. My detractors say it’s impossible that I approved the comments from the moderation folder in the evening, because they had appeared earlier in the day. There are screenshots to prove it.

That does sound strange. Like I said, I would find it strange myself looking from the outside. But the comments have been hiccuping for days, and the plain truth is that it happened the way I have just described.

Now, as Jay says, there are plenty of people who won’t believe this. I have made some enemies over the years. It’s my fault to a large degree. I have dived into comment threads in varying places, and have often said harsh things about people who disagreed with me. I’m sure I believed everything I said at the time. But I’m also sure that, many, many times, there have been better and more polite ways to say things.

Cassandra of Villainous Company put it very well in a great post that lines up with what I’m saying today:

And so we shoot off – and react to – thoughtless comments in haste and repent them at leisure, often too late. For the damage has been done. Our harsh words cannot be called back to us as though they were erring children. They continue to irritate and burn the recipients long after we ourselves have forgotten them. It’s not called flaming for nothing.

I have been guilty of this. I will try not to in the future, but I may be guilty of it again.

But here’s the larger point that I’m heading towards, and it’s an elaboration of what I said last night: I’m really looking for a way to get out of the spiral of increasingly personal, nasty, venal, inside-baseball, destructive behavior that is so typical of the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but its anonymity, coupled with its wide reach, makes it all too often a sewer for liars, stalkers, and people who threaten others and seek to destroy them — or maybe just bring them down a peg or two.

As I have said, my hands are not altogether clean in this. I have been nasty many times when I could have made the same point with politeness and respect.

But I want off the merry-go-round, folks. It’s spinning out of control and I want off.

My Achilles heel is that I go bonkers when someone accuses me of dishonesty. There are actually good reasons for this. Honesty is paramount in my profession. I have a strong reputation for honesty among those who work with me, so I take great offense when someone questions my honesty. What’s interesting is that such questions usually come from someone who doesn’t know me well. Talk to virtually anyone who has known me a long time, and they’ll tell you I am honest.

But on the Internet, it’s frightfully easy for people who really don’t know you at all to make a cheap-shot statement about your honesty, and publicize that to thousands of people. Couple that with the distressing tendency of each side of the political spectrum to overgeneralize about their opponents, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

(Again, while I currently try to avoid such overgeneralizations, it’s something I’ve learned over time. I’m quite sure I have been guilty of it in the past. Did I mention that I’m not perfect?)

So when someone who is barely familiar with me makes an outrageous accusation about my honesty, or intellectual consistency, etc. — I take it too personally.

I want to respond. To set the record straight.

But I’ve gotten to the point where I am realizing that I can’t respond to every attack out there. I’ve had a surge of traffic lately and have no idea how much of it will stick long-term. But more commenters and more links means not only more readers, but more people distorting my record, more people lying about me, and more people out to take me down a peg or four.

I can’t respond to every attack. And I’m going to try like hell to stop.

I’m also going to try to do fewer posts (hopefully none) that are personally directed at other bloggers. You know, it annoys me to see some prig preening about their own amazing civility towards others, even as they carelessly trip around the Web telling lies about others and distorting their record and statements. But while a post about such a person might be satisfying in the short run, it is going to drag me down into the sewer in the long run.

Many of you have written or commented lately to ask: why are you in a blog war? Why are you wasting your time and energy attacking [person x]?

I appreciate that.

As I said last night, quoting the movie “American History X”:

Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.

This will probably mean a change in the way comments are handled around here. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to do that.

I’m not perfect. I am bound to violate the goals I am setting for myself. When I do, please (figuratively) get a baseball bat and whack me across the head, okay? Ace did it last night, and I’m counting on you to help me do it in the future.

Sorry for the rambling, but I needed to get that off my chest.

38 Responses to “A Note on Comments and Internet Nastiness”

  1. I understand the sensitivity about claims of dishonesty; dishonesty is the kiss of death in the legal profession. I know it’s hard for folks outside the bar to understand that {all lawyers but my own lawyer are lying thieving skunks is the civilian mantra} but inside the bar, a lawyer can lie or be dishonest with a fellow lawyer one time only. After that, it’s all over. In a big city like Los Angeles, you might not come across that dishonest lawyer again in your practice–but you remember, oh boy do you remember. That lawyer is dead to you when next you see him or her.

    So while it might have been more appropriate, if physically possible, to give Greenwald a Zidane style headbutt you called him a douchebag in front of maybe eleventy thousand people who read your blog. Better not to have done that–it makes you look smaller. Go for the headbutt or some other direct, private action.

    Mike Myers (290636)

  2. Nearly every site on the Intarweb that allows user response stands as proof of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F***wad Theory; interestingly, the given formulation is identical to Patterico’s, even though it deals with the more volatile realm of online multiplayer gaming.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  3. I hope (can I say I hope a few more times????) that people on all sides of this can try to be gracious. It is never easy to walk away from an argument.

    When you try and walk away, and someone says, “Hey, great post… but gee it really sucked when you did x, y, and z…” and picks up the feces and starts flinging it again, it doesn’t help. And it is almost inevitable that someone will do that. Please don’t.

    And by the way, nice post :)

    Like I said, I’m a Pollyanna. Heh…

    Cassandra (c9069a)

  4. I had Spam Karma installed about a year ago at my blog but disabled it when I realized that it was ignoring words and names I had put in the moderation word box, so I disabled the plugin. I don’t know if newer updates have addressed that issue or not. If the updates have, I would be interested in re-enabling it. Right now I use the moderation box but legit comments get held up in moderation because of it and sometimes comments haven’t even appeared on the blog because part of word used by someone matches part of a word in my WP blacklist.

    Also, something else to mention: just because someone has a ‘screencap’ of a comment that looks like it immediately appeared doesn’t mean it has. I still get banned commenters who come to my site thinking their comments initially appear and then get deleted. I figured out what happens: their comment appears briefly and only to them. If they were to hit the refresh button it would be gone, and you’d see it in your moderation controls. Banned commenters in the past would attempt to post things like “you gonna quickly delete this one too, Toldjah?” which puzzled me because I knew the comment was not showing up in the blog because I could see it held in moderation. So for future reference, remember that just because someone has a screecap of a comment they think they’ve gotten past moderation doesn’t necessarily mean that it did.

    On getting involved in blog wars, you’re absolutely right – with my GG post I broke a rule I’ve had at my blog since the beginning, which is to not start or fan the flames of a blog war. In the long run, it’s pointless. Honestly, I can’t say I’m sorry that I got involved in this one because the person on the receiving end truly deserved to get verbally knocked down a few pegs. I had read some of his stuff in the past, and had to sit on my hands to avoid responding but this time around it was on. I haven’t posted anymore at my blog about Greenwald outside of that one post and a few responses to his proxies in my comments section, in spite of his retaliatory follow up post yesterday, because I thought the dead horse had been beaten enough. I commented at a few blogs yesterday about the issue, but don’t plan on re-addressing it again in a post of its own at my blog. In the future, I’m going to do my best to refrain from engaging in a blog war again. I was able to do so for almost three years, and I think I can hold off for at least another three years 😉

    Don’t beat yourself up over this. So you let some jerk get to you. That’s not a crime – you’re human. My recommendation, for what it’s worth: next time someone gets to you like this, if you feel you must respond, do so – but only once. Then move on, even if they try to retaliate at their blog or your own. Moving on means you’ve moved beyond finding whatever they’ve said remotely relevant or important – and that will drive them nuts. People like GG thrive on self-importance, and a lot of bloggers (including myself) fed into his ego this week by acknowledging his existence, no doubt making him feel ‘more important.’ That is my only regret about what went on this week in response to his faux outrage post.

    Sister Toldjah (7ce608)

  5. Patterico,

    Okay, for this post you deserve a ton of respect. You have it from me, in any event. That you specifically acknowledge that there are no angels in this goes a long way with me, far enough to shame me into my own admission of culpability.

    My problem, my fault, my sin in all this (and I know I’m less than a gnat to you and your regulars, so what I have to say is of no account to you all, but like you, I can get it off my chest) was that I took advantage of the obvious weakness, if you will, that you presented…that you were extremely sensitive to charges of dishonesty. So, I took unfair advantage, not caring whether the charges were true or trumped up, blown up or mere misunderstandings. I’m ashamed to acknowledge that once it was apparent that I could so easily add to your level of rage, I hastened to do so. That’s a despicable calculation on my part and more than unfair to you. I disagree with much of what you say much of the time, but it is possible to do so without impugning your character, and I did not do so.

    Again, I am fully aware that the overwhelming attitude here is that a rare commenter such as me is a lightweight to be ridiculed. In this case, I’ve earned it.

    So, for all the mocking I’ve done of your demand for a “retraction and an apology,” in this case, you’ve more than earned it from me. I apologize.

    Nash (d7a00f)

  6. Nash,

    It’s accepted. And it should be obvious you’re one of the people I was talking about, whom I flamed in the past. I apologize for that.

    And I expect and hope people will be polite to you.

    Now let’s wipe off our tears and all sing Kumbayah.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  7. Nash,

    Wow.

    Patterico,

    Good post, I can see the merry-go-round slowing already.

    I try to comment on a blog the way I’d say something in person. Since I almost-never know anything about a correspondent other than a couple of his/her typed remarks, that boils down to, ‘would I say it that way to a stranger sitting next to me in a bar?’ I doubt I’ve lost many arguments as a consequence of choosing Delete over Submit.

    The NYT (gag) essay What Shamu Taught Me About A Happy Marriage (free reg. req’d.) isn’t, duh, about blogposts, but some of the insights of animal behaviorists have general relevance to your topic. Particularly ‘least reinforcing syndrome.’

    AMac (528d4b)

  8. NO! NO!

    Let’s trample our enemies and glory in their defeat and ignominy as we roast their entrails over the bonfires that consume their very bones!!!!!

    Or not.

    Classy thing Patterico’s done. probably wont be may not be reciprocated by the lefties of his intimate acquaintance, but that’s really not the point, is it?

    Let’s seriously leave this all this acrimony and accusation behind us and look for, if not points of agreement, at least civil ways of expressing disagreement with our opponents.

    Those poopy-heads.

    Abraxas (828688)

  9. NO! NO!

    Let’s trample our enemies and glory in their defeat and ignominy as we roast their entrails over the bonfires that consume their very bones!!!!!

    I condemn it.

    Or not.

    Better.

    Classy thing Patterico’s done. probably wont be may not be reciprocated by the lefties of his intimate acquaintance, but that’s really not the point, is it?

    Let’s seriously leave this all this acrimony and accusation behind us and look for, if not points of agreement, at least civil ways of expressing disagreement with our opponents.

    Those poopy-heads.

    I condemn it.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  10. My recommendation, for what it’s worth: next time someone gets to you like this, if you feel you must respond, do so – but only once. Then move on, even if they try to retaliate at their blog or your own. Moving on means you’ve moved beyond finding whatever they’ve said remotely relevant or important – and that will drive them nuts.

    Amen, preach it, sistah.

    Patterico, I read your blog for your ability to scissor down to facts. Others who comment here, notably Xrlq, are excellent at the same. Keep it up. Of course you want to defend yourself against misunderstanding, spite, and attacks. From where I sit if you stick to putting the facts on the record you won’t fall into the muck.

    Anwyn (9ca7a1)

  11. Patterico, while I respect you for this post, it’s surprising someone who only days ago called someone else a “douchbag” in front of tens of thousands, now wishes to play nice.

    If you don’t want any nastiness to be directed at you, simply don’t fire your own venom at others. What’s even more scary is the fact that many people from both the left and the right actually want to, or have tried to destroy other people’s actual careers over political differences online. That is sad.

    saladshooter (806ed6)

  12. “If you don’t want any nastiness to be directed at you, simply don’t fire your own venom at others.”

    SS – that, as I at least understood it, wasn’t exactly the point of the post. He’s declared a moratorium on “firing venom”. I think he’s grown up enough to know that doesn’t preclude others from directing nastiness his way; there’s no “simply” about it.

    He’s responsible for his thoughts and words, you’re responsible for yours, and me, mine. That’s a defining feature of conservatism, as I see it.

    “or have tried to destroy other people’s actual careers over political differences online”

    You are quite right, and not only online, but in realtime, realspace.

    You poopyhead.

    I condemn myself.

    Abraxas (828688)

  13. Patterico, while I respect you for this post, it’s surprising someone who only days ago called someone else a “douchbag” in front of tens of thousands, now wishes to play nice.

    I did no such thing.

    I called him a “douchebag.”

    Tryin’ to lighten things up.

    Did I mention I wasn’t perfect in the post?

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  14. Passion in argument is indispensable. Like lemon in egg-lemon sauce. But you have to get the proportions just right. Too little or too much makes the soup inedible.

    For my part, as an anonymous kibitzer, I thought our host’s posts on Frisch and Greenwald were right on. Frisch struck a nerve. I think she got off easy. I consider Mr. Greenwald a disingenuous disgrace. Is that the same as a douchebag? xrlq has some ideas about that with which I tend to agree.

    I confess to prior bias against Mr. Greenwald and in favor of our host. This is a very good and classy site which I enjoy visiting very much. I include my fellow regular commenters in that estimate.

    nk (ca8012)

  15. I commend both Patterico and Nash for their comments, though I’m sorry to say that I don’t wish to sing Kumbayah with either of you guys! :-)

    It is indeed funny how the Internet works. I’ve engaged in some harsh rhetoric with some people, and even though I think my points were well taken, I certainly could’ve been more polite and sometimes I’m embarrassed at my harsh words.

    I think calling someone a “right whinger” (from the perspective of a liberal) or a “moonbat” (from the perspective of a conservative) is all too prevalent. Such an “accusation” often seems to be nothing more than an attempt to short-circuit argument. On the other hand, what is to be done with people like Glenn Greenwald? He may make some valid points on occasion, but as Patterico’s post re: his condemnation of Coulter made clear, Greenwald obviously didn’t care if his accusation was true or not (as Patterico pointed out the numerous times he’d harshly criticized Coulter). That’s plain as day. Is it wrong to call Greenwald out on that?

    mh (5b638c)

  16. It must be in the air. All my favorite bloggers have spent the past week away from their usual routes, and have instead been vituperating at other bloggers.

    Is this to be the fate of bloggerdom?

    bobby_b (163be3)

  17. Not if I can help it.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  18. rather than call them douchebags, i prefer to maintain an attitude of aloof, olympian superiority to my many critics.

    assistant devil's advocate (facc23)

  19. Paterico,
    Remember when someone calls you a liar, that doesn’t make you a liar. They have to show evidence of your lying that holds up to scrutiny. Absent that, they are just demonstrating the hollowness of their claims. I don’t like others calling me a name, but at some point I have to just let them make a jackass of themselves by doing so. My friends and honest opponents will know me for what I really am.

    Steve G. (feb53c)

  20. Patterico:

    Sometimes I feel so left out. I’ve never been in a blogwar in my life!

    I suspect that has less to do with any angelhood or abnormal rectitude on my part and more to do with the fact that I blog in semi-hermit fashion, typically not responding to other blogs (though I read and enjoy several of them, including this one, obviously).

    In my case, this is because I rigidly follow this pattern, like an ant prowling the ant-trail; if a leaf fell across my blogging pattern, I would be totally lost:

    1. Spring out of bed at the crack of noon;
    2. Scan the Drudge Report;
    3. Look at Newsmax.com (a guilty pleasure… I never quote them because I think it’s mostly made-up!)
    4. Read the AP feed; pick out an article that looks blogworthy and open it in a new window;
    5. Read the Reuters feed (see above);
    6. Read the NYT feed (see above);
    7. Write a blogpost on one or maybe two of the open pages I still have, then get bored and convince myself the others are probably dull and pedestrian (hey, no comments about the posts I do write!)
    8. Then and only then do I go look at other blogs… after I’ve already written the afternoon posts; thus, even if someone else’s take on something strikes me as nuttier than a bedbug, I’ve already written my posts, and it’s just too much work to go back and write another one…
    9. Until evening; but by then, my notoriously poor memory has erased whatever annoyed me in the afternoon, unless it had to do with somebody’s hand-painted tie on TV.

    Anyway, that’s my secret; I think my work habits are rather like Robert Benchley’s. Does anybody here even remember Robert Benchley? Typical Benchley sentence (I literally played bibliomancy with my new copy of Benchley Lost and Found):

    With all that I have to do, it seems a little too bad that I should have to keep worrying about the constitution of the atom. One day Sir Arthur Reeves Reeves-Arthur comes out and says that the atom is made up of electrons and protons. The following week Dr. Hjalmar Rensnessen reads a paper before the Royal Society of Locomotive Engineers and says that the atom is composed of little pieces of old pocket lint. The hell with both of them! I can’t be bothered.

    (From “Atom Boy,” probably ca. 1932.) There; if you don’t think that’s funny, you probably like the Pussycat Dolls.

    Where was I? Oh. Such illogical order (and sloth) makes my blogging life calmer but probably much less interesting than yours!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  21. I appreciate Jay making this point, because I think that the accusation that a blogger is deleting comments to cover up his own hypocrisy is a serious one. And part of what distresses me is knowing that, if I were on the outside looking in and I didn’t know me, I would wonder what in the hell is going on too. And I might think that Patterico is trying to cover up his hypocrisy.

    I wouldn’t. I’d think Patterico was deleting some random comments because … it’s his friggin’ blog and he can. If I did think Patterico was deleting some troll’s comments to cover up the truth about a 2 1/2 year old post, I wouldn’t just think Patterico was dishonest; I’d also think he’s a moron for not deleting or editing the 2 1/2 year old post, instead.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  22. I saw something weird was going on but I wasn’t worried about what it was.

    I’ve been reading and posting here for a while now – what maybe 1 1/2 or 2 years? – and I’ve seen plenty of stuff posted that amounts to little more than trolling. I’ve also seen plenty of people go over the line of reasonable disagreement and into insult territory.

    Heck I’ve approached the line myself a couple of times recently. I’d like to think I stayed on the proper side but in at least one case I thought Patterico would be justified in slapping me back a bit or deleting or editing my post but he didn’t.

    Don’t worry about it Patterico. Those that have been around here know what your blog is about. Try to keep blogging something you enjoy rather than a battle to be fought all the time.

    You already walk around with a huge target painted on your back as a critic of the LATimes and in the job you hold.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  23. Does anybody here even remember Robert Benchley?

    But of course. My favorite Benchleyism is his cable to Harold Ross, his editor at the New Yorker, when on assignment to Italy in the 1930s:

    “ARRIVED VENICE. STREETS FILLED WITH WATER. PLEASE ADVISE.”
    (Frequently misquoted as “STREETS FLOODED. PLEASE ADVISE.”)

    Add me as another non-Kumbayah fan. But my daughter plays a mean cello–last evening, I listened to her working on Bach’s unaccompanied cello suite #1 in G major, and it struck me for the first time how like a prayer without words this sounded. So, if anyone can contribute non-Kumbayah-esque words to that piece, I’m all ears.

    Or, as Stan Freberg’s Ben Franklin says, “I’m with you in spirit.”

    Nash (d66115)

  24. Daffyd’s #20 comment is spot-on, for a reason he’s unaware of ( that, right?

    Witnessing you, Nash, and some others engage in introspection with the intent to self-improve is inspiring; perhaps the civil-behavior meme will persist or spread.

    Blogging has to be personally rewarding and stay personally rewarding, whatever that may mean. I understand the pay isn’t that good. So, keeping virtue in mind, I hope you don’t become so bored or so perpetually outraged that you take up Rollerball or Quilting instead.

    AMac (b6037f)

  25. Not to brag, but I’ve been reading commentary on-line from 1984 (netnews) through today (blogs). And, unfortunately, I found out a long time ago that there’s just too little info to be found in random comments. I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of good insights, but when you have to read through dreck, trolls, flames, spam, etc to find the ever smaller percentage of diamonds, it’s just not worth it. I’ve been amazed that huge organizations (BBS, WSJ, etc) spend money and time encouraging people to “comment” on stuff, when the comments turn out to have vanishingly small informational value.

    Solutions? I’d just abolish an open comments section altogether, perhaps letting only valued colleagues’ email’d comments be posted. Frankly, if someone wants to post a thoughtful reply to an article I write, they should just put it on their own blog. There will still be terrible things written, but at least the ownership and management are their problems, not mine.

    Richard C. (456a79)

  26. Patterico, I have to go find a hat so I can take it off to you.

    You just wrote a fine post that shows you to be a damn good person, and I’m happy to read it. We may not – any two of us may not – agree about everything (or anyhting, for that matter). But we’re all in this together, and you’re showing that you get that loud and clear.

    Attaboy. And to you too, Nash.

    A.L.

    Armed Liberal (13ffa0)

  27. Is it time for that group hug now? 😉

    Sister Toldjah (7ce608)

  28. Jesus. Somebody say something mean or tasteless. I’m getting sick to my stomach.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  29. Testing with the word casino

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  30. I’m going to cockslap that fucking troll.

    Dan Collins (b6ac5d)

  31. Yep. It’s working, Pat.

    Oh, and Greenwald is still an asshole fuckhead lying douchebad, in case anyone is wondering.

    Dan Collins (b6ac5d)

  32. lovely lollies lickety split

    lolita (a8a947)

  33. first time baton insertions at twirling camp

    lolita (a8a947)

  34. “Oh, and Greenwald is still an asshole fuckhead lying douchebad, in case anyone is wondering.”

    Dude.

    You are *so* condemned.

    Abraxas (828688)

  35. Patterico – Dan said your mother wears toeless army boots, and dress’s you funny.

    (Was that ok Dan… Hard hitting enough?)

    Oh. Also the Great Joooooo Leader has posted new orders of the day. We don’t simply denounce posts anymore. We’ve raised the bar to:

    “Drown them in Chicken soup from orbit…..It’s the only way to be sure….”

    (Sponsered by Laika the Space Dog: Beaming Truthiness to tin foil hats since 1957)

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  36. I missed all of the controversy, since I first came to your site a just couple of days ago, but I believe you. You seem to honestly want to raise the bar above the usual trading of hatred between the commentors.

    If I revisit your site, we will probably disagree at times, but I think it’s good that you are calling for a civilized discussion. I would rather exchange ideas than hurl insults, and I but that there is a lot that we can agree upon.

    MplsDog (1fc1a2)

  37. Damn stubby fingers! I BET there is is a lot that we can agree upon.

    Shit

    MplsDog (1fc1a2)

  38. Patterico – the only way you can truly avoid the nastiness that we have seen of late is to shut down comments altogether. But that would change the entire nature of the blog. Even that measure might not do the job – witness all the BS that Malkin has to put up with.

    An intermediate step would be to put comment in moderation, and take the chance of being accused of philtering, not to mention losing three hours of sleep a night. Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer chance.

    The venom going back and forth is a by-product of the subject matter being discussed. Passion brings more passion, and passion mixed with politics is a very nasty concoction indeed.

    As an aside – calling Greenwald a ‘douchebag’ is unfair to the douchebag. Remember, folks, it isn’t the douchbag that counts, it’s what’s inside the douchebag that matters.

    JD (94b0da)


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