Patterico's Pontifications

10/26/2007

A Note on Commenters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:17 pm



Several people have expressed disgust at alphie and have asked me to ban him. As of right now, I don’t plan to do so.

alphie is reminiscent of actus, another commenter whose name began with a, was typed in all lower case, and tended towards drive-by commentary. I don’t think they are the same (and actus hasn’t posted here since January), but they are similar. People often asked me to ban actus. I never did.

alphie is more of a kick-sand-in-your-face jerk than actus. But actus made some decent points from time to time, and so does alphie. Let me quote steve, a valued commenter to whom I have considered giving posting privileges (if he’d want them):

I’m not grasping how this is “hijacking the thread”:

And the commentors who think TNR is staying silent to prevent any more punishment coming Beauchamp’s way, Paul?

Let’s wait until he’s discharged from the Army and out of harm’s way and see what he says.

Comment by alphie — 10/24/2007 @ 7:29 pm

#

Are we expected to believe that the guys who lied about Rusty Tillman’s death are above spinning this story, nk?

Comment by alphie — 10/24/2007 @ 8:06 pm

#

All it would take is for one of the Army guys to suggest to Beauchamp that he gets to spend the rest of his tour driving an unarmored mobile IED detector around Baghdad unless he shuts up, right.

Comment by alphie — 10/24/2007 @ 8:20 pm

The argument Beauchamp was coerced is all that stands between TNR and its complete humiliation. That aspect *should* be articulated and brought forward. Alphie is needling and inclined to quarrel. Is he the only one with those qualities?

I agree with steve and alphie to this extent: as I said in this comment, “It should be allowed for someone to raise the possibility that Beauchamp is being pressured by the military.” Unlike many of you, I don’t think that is a ridiculous possibility to be automatically discounted. I think it’s legitimate for someone to raise it and debate it. alphie does so in an extraordinarily irritating way — but, as steve notes, he is not the only person around who is irritating or spoiling for an argument.

I have seen a lot of blogs become echo chambers, on both sides. I don’t want to see that happen here. I am willing to go to great lengths to see that it doesn’t happen — including alienating long-time commenters. Yes, I am willing to ban people or restrict conversation in limited circumstances, but I prefer to err on the side of greater expression.

Does this mean that there is no line that can be crossed? Not at all. It’s hard to formulate a clear policy, but I’ll give you a couple of recent examples where I have banned people or deleted their comments. Hopefully it will give you an idea where I draw the line.

Weeks ago, I banned m.croche — who had commented here for years — after he left this comment:

Edwards spent his own money – of which he has plenty – as he saw fit. No one was harmed.

As opposed to the smart decisions of the genius who decided to fly his family (including two small children) on a cut-rate airline during one of the busiest times of the holiday season, with predictably disastrous results. Now that’s dumb.

“P.S. Never, ever fly AirTran. I know, I know; you get what you pay for. Spare me the recriminations. We feel bad enough as it is.”

http://patterico.com/2006/01/02/who-knows-faa-regulations/

That was it. m.croche will never comment here again.

I tolerated croche for years, even though every single comment he ever posted made one point: Patterico is a bad guy. The reason I tolerated his comments is because they were generally expressed in terms of my opinions: “Patterico is a bad guy because he argues x.” He always phrased the comments as a personal attack on me, but generally, he made a substantive point in there somewhere.

But when he chose to simply call me stupid — in a way that implied I had been neglectful to my children — he revoked his own commenting privileges.

Buh-bye.

Similarly, I posted about Radley Balko the other day. I disabled comments on the post, because I knew the comments I’d see if I enabled comments, and the point of view articulated therein had already been beaten to death on this blog. Yes, yes, I know: I supposedly declared Kathryn Johnston the Queen of All Evil, and canonized her killers as the Sainted Law Enforcement Agents who could not possibly have done anything wrong. (That’s bullshit, but I’m sick of the argument.) We’ve had that debate so many times that we’re all tired of it. Regardless, I invited people who couldn’t possibly restrain themselves to leave comments to that effect on one of the old threads. Because of my “Recent Comments” feature, any such comment would have been picked up anyway.

But still, an anonymous prick currently calling himself “Dude” (previously “King Christian X,” “Tefnut,” and any number of other aliases — which alone justifies banning) insisted on leaving a comment on a completely unrelated thread, crying huge tears at his inability to criticize me on the Balko post. His comment, which was 100% inappropriate to the post in question, was deleted without a second thought.

So I’m open to banning people and deleting comments, in appropriate situations. But quite frankly, my tendency is towards openness. And I really, really don’t want this blog to be an echo chamber.

This means I am willing to alienate people I otherwise respect, if they can’t deal with someone having the ability to comment who is both a) liberal and b) annoying. It’s a large price to pay — but it’s a price I’m willing to pay for a principle: that of having an open forum where people who aren’t deliberately insulting, and who are honest in their commenting practices, can express any opinion they like — even in an annoying and argumentative manner.

It’s not easy to draw that line, and alphie may cross it. But I hope this explains a bit better why I am reluctant to ban him.

And if he bothers you so much, then for God’s sake, just ignore him.

73 Responses to “A Note on Commenters”

  1. I understand the purpose in avoiding being an echo chamber but instead of banning alphie, or otherwise constraining alphie’s comments, you ask others to constrain their comments in response.

    I am missing the logic.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  2. I ask you to constrain your comments if you think his comments are pointless and not worth responding to.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  3. I understand, but that means you are asking me to constrain my comments but not imposing a constraint on alphie.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  4. I ask alphie not to be annoying.

    But if he fails to comply, he won’t necessarily be banned.

    I ask you not to respond to him if you think he is being a troll.

    But if you fail to comply, you almost certainly won’t be banned.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  5. The vast vast majority of blog posters are not interested in learning more about underlying truth but in gathering more validation of thir prjudice. And they’re not too bright either. Reminds me of Climate Audit and Steve McIntyre’s sophistry (failure to answer questions, admit points on things where he was in error). I know I’ve been cutting with you on occasion for sport. But you’re better than most, pattycakes.

    TCO (79dafb)

  6. I agree with Patterico. One of the best features of this blog is that it attracts smart conservatives, libertarians, and liberals who are willing to debate ideas from different perspectives. The fun of blogging is to be challenged and see if my opinion stands up to scrutiny. As a conservative, the primary challenge I get is from people who aren’t conservative.

    For those who want to ban Alphie, let me ask you one question: Do you think banning Alphie will make other liberal commenters more or less willing to speak up here? I think it would have a chilling effect and even though I rarely agree with them, I don’t want that to happen.

    DRJ (207a4b)

  7. Your bandwidth, your rules. Anyone can understand that.

    Beldar (822001)

  8. Thanks for taking the time to explain your position and views.

    voiceofreason (27592b)

  9. alf eventually overreaches and then abandons the thread… something I’ve been known to do also…

    Thanks for the explanation on why you didn’t ban alf, and I’m glad banning him at this point wasn’t seriously considered… dumbass argument about “driving an unarmored IED detector” aside.

    By the way, I am pretty sure that the other three guys that would have to ride with Scott in the unarmored IED detector would be pissed and it would be a rare combat commander in todays army that would send three kids to a near certain death to keep some other knucklehead in line when obviously it’d be easier to have a sniper put a bullet through his head like everyone knows happened to Tillman in order to stifle his dissent… but hey, everyone in the army is cynical, cruel and dumb just like in the movies so I’m sure it happens every day and Beachamp fears more for his life in his FOB than he does outside the wire.
    Because it fits the narrative.

    Then you have to give alf the credit for stating the obvious…. oh… so when Beauchamp gets stateside and discharged his tune will change?
    Oh. My. God. gasp what a shock that is shaping up to be. Soros will try to put him on a speaking tour within his first week home. $50K. all travel and expenses paid. Book deal dangled.
    I’ll be amazed if the kid doesn’t roll.
    alf gets it both ways.. if Scott stays quiet or even dies, it was conspiracy, coercion and cover up. If Scott gets out and resumes his stories, he’s a hero speaking truth to power regardless of who is paying him.

    Great meaningless win for alf. Kudos all around.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  10. gee wiz, dont ban the fruitcakes, it makes the blog interesting.i almost never read MM comment section because it is an echo chamber. this isnt a slap at malkin,lord knows she gets plenty of slaps elsewhere.

    james conrad (7cd809)

  11. Patterico, it’s your blog, but alphie has a habit of making entire comment threads unreadable by throwing out dozens of juvenile barbs that are so stupid that others can’t resist pointing out how stupid they are. It’s gotten so that if I see two or three comments by alphie then I don’t bother reading any more because the noise is going to outweigh the light by ten to one.

    Have you considered switching to some blogging software that lets readers selectively turn some commenters and their replies invisible?

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  12. Any cross country trip involving small children, regardless of mode of transportation, is going to be an adventure.

    Alan Kellogg (964732)

  13. I only post comments occasionally here…(Patterico, remember the good old days of music quizzes?) but will say in general what drives me crazy about debating liberal trolls is they always take over threads in one of two ways…

    If it is on a military topic, they seem to always resort to the chicken hawk argument. People spend post after post fighting that ridiculous charge…

    And if it is a general post on any other topic, they go for the ad hominem attack…and people spend post after post fighting back.

    I just wish the libs were capable of debating issues rationally without snippy comments and personal attacks…

    :)

    Stacy In Tucson (b99466)

  14. Thanks for running an honest and tolerant blog. Any comments short of threatening violence, solicitations, or libel should be allowed. All blogs should be so open.

    dade747 (1125d2)

  15. For those who want to ban Alphie, let me ask you one question: Do you think banning Alphie will make other liberal commenters more or less willing to speak up here? I think it would have a chilling effect and even though I rarely agree with them, I don’t want that to happen.

    alphie is supercilious, sophomoric, and has bragged in the past about being banned from most Pajamas Media blogs for doing exactly what he does here. He was not banned in any attempt to silence counterpoint voices and there was no danger of creating an echo chamber.

    I doubt it would make any difference to other liberal commenters here if alphie was chased off. Why don’t you pose your question above to them? Ask ‘voice of reason’, ‘itsme’, ‘aphrael’, ‘leviticus’ ‘ADA’, ‘Andrew Lazarus’ etcetera.

    Because I think you are insulting them by conflating them with alphie. This is not a matter of degree. There is a clear delineation between the approach, intentions, and style of ‘voice of reason’, ‘itsme’, ‘aphrael’, ‘leviticus’ ‘ADA’, ‘Andrew Lazarus’ and alphie. I may not always agree with their take on matters, but sometimes I agree 100% with them even when the majority doesn’t. And whether I agree with them or not, they add to the discussion.

    Don’t ask whether they think alphie should be banned. Ask them to put aside any consideration of whether he shares their general politics and answer in terms of whether they think alphie adds any thing but white noise to any discussion. Ask simply whether they believe his intent is to disrupt the debate or contribute to it.

    In the post steve is quoted providing his quotes from alphie and asking why those particular comments should be considered thread jack attempts or counterpoint observations. For every example he quoted, minimal effort could provide 5 examples of initial comments made by alphie in a thread designed solely to steer the discussion off topic.

    I have a limited amount of time I can devote to perusing blogs. I don’t read echo chambers on either side of the fence. I select blogs on either side of the fence where discussions are spirited, contentious, and even acrimonious on occasion because I WANT to read point and counterpoint on matters I consider important. But I don’t read blogs where discussions of matters I find interesting become discordant because one individual disrupts every discussion arising from a post with a theme he takes exception to. Not voice his exception, but disrupt any coherency in the discussion.

    Consider it this way. Your intent is to provide a forum where all positions can be presented and considered. You don’t want to chase alphie off because it might give the wrong impression to people holding counterpoint positions and ask the readers to support you in this. Alphie wants to suppress the positions he does not agree with and is chasing off other readers.

    ????

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  16. I appreciate your position Patrick, but I’m with JPT because I have observed Alphie’s act on other blogs. Libs come here because they have no opportunity for debate on their own side of the blogosphere. Alphie isn’t interested in debate. You’ve seen it yourself when you ask him questions.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  17. I’m pretty much anti-ban as it’s entertaining to watch dolts (like alphie) make fools of themselves and a guilty pleasure to watch folks (like Paul) eviscerate them. The mocking title “Stauch Brayer” never fails to make my day.

    Old Coot (20ca0f)

  18. There are so many other blogs that are so boring becuase anyone who doesn’t toe the line is eventually “trolled”. Keeping the alphies is part of what keeps this blog interesting. Especially coz a- brings up some good points now and then. There are other unbanned poster here who offer ridiculous sweeping generalization type commentary too, more cleverly tucked into the body of their posts of course but its there nonetheless. So what? Arguing against peoples biases may not convince THEM but it lets other readers see how absurd those biases are.

    EdWood (fcdfda)

  19. Libs come here because they have no opportunity for debate on their own side of the blogosphere.

    That’s a good point for the moderators to consider. It’s a reasonable case that honest Libs (I’m not sure I like that term in this case but realize the intent in using it) come here to learn from the counterpoint to their positions.

    Patterico said:

    This means I am willing to alienate people I otherwise respect, if they can’t deal with someone having the ability to comment who is both a) liberal and b) annoying. It’s a large price to pay — but it’s a price I’m willing to pay for a principle: that of having an open forum where people who aren’t deliberately insulting, and who are honest in their commenting practices, can express any opinion they like — even in an annoying and argumentative manner.

    Blogs service the marketplace of ideas. The consumer can choose which services offer the best choice and range of products that interest them. In this case, the product comes in packaging that is extremely annoying to strip away. You would prefer to risk alienating and losing some portion of your consumer base rather than pay the price to correct that. Your assumption is that most consumers will bear the inconvenience because they find your product of a quality sufficient to offset the packaging issue.

    Me…I’d rather buy the beer with the twist off over having to carry a bottle opener when the difference between the products inside is a matter of taste, not quality.

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  20. It’s the lie about being a conservative that really keeps me from being able to appreciate anything about alphie.

    If you tell such a blatent lie about who you are and constantly try to change the subject to something that’s been talked to death, I think it takes something away from people who would like to comment on the subject at hand. It makes too much white noise.

    where people who aren’t deliberately insulting, and who are honest in their commenting practices

    Yeh, I agree, which is what bothers me…

    MamaAJ (788539)

  21. I should clarify the following:

    …honest Libs (I’m not sure I like that term in this case but realize the intent in using it)…

    It’s not the honest part, but rather the term Libs in this case. People hold political views across a spectrum and not in isolated niches for the most part. It easy enough to look at two arguments and make the distinction bewteen progressive and conservative. The difference between liberal and conservative is often more a matter of degree and where one choses to place the delineating boundary. The question of alphie is not one of degrees of difference between other commenters one chooses to place on the liberal side of that boundary (or any side). It’s somewhat a question of style but mostly one of intent.

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  22. “And if he bothers you so much, then for God’s sake, just ignore him.”

    Thanks for that, Will do.

    There was a Russian writer who defected to the west and who said something like this, “Living in freedom can be difficult, in the Soviet Union I could be sure that at least the KGB would read my book”. In comment threads, “ignore the troll” should be understood by all as common practice. Perhaps a better method than simply ignoring them would be for the next commenter to restate the offending trolls premise in human talk, so the discussion could proceed. under those conditions the ideas and information can continue to flow and the level of discourse might rise. Rebutting the valuable kernel while completely ignoring the stupid parts might help them to drop the stupid parts and just seek the truth.

    The internet has been around for a while but we haven’t really started to develop rules for proper behavior that have any consistency. Given it’s global nature we probably never will and maybe that’s a good thing.

    Perhaps later on you could write about the merits ,or lack thereof, of thread hijacking. In a few years you may be teaching University classes on blogs. You do a good job of explaining what you are doing and why, and your blog is better for it.

    tyree (55870c)

  23. Alphie doesn’t use foul language, he doesn’t, to my knowledge, engage in personal attacks and he’s never malicious.

    Is he irritating? Oh yeah. But as Patterico says, ignore the rash as best you can.

    More important – and more troubling – is that, if you think about it, Alphie’s views on this Administration and US policies are probably more in tune with most of world opinion about the US than those who disagree with him.

    Let’s face it, if this was a blog of world opinion, those of us disagreeing with Alphie would be considered the “Alphies”. He would be viewed as the reasonable party.

    Yikes.

    Now, there’s something to be irritated about.

    SteveMG (c7dbb7)

  24. Patterico’s position is an admirable one and is far too uncommon in the world of blogging. I’ve seen despicable deletions and bannings from both sides and although it pleases the local trollop population, it does nothing to move the discussion forward.

    Many view me as a troll, but the definition of same seems as loose as the medical diagnosis ‘asthma’ or Attention Deficit Disorder. ‘Troll’ has a vast resevoir of meanings which commonly is inferred as; ‘someone who disrupts the daisy chain’. Sometimes you need someone to ‘punch through the crust’ in order to enlarge the ‘debate’. I try not to answer the trollops, and do not get too concerned about those who ignore me.

    Semanticleo (f46d18)

  25. For those who want to ban Alphie, let me ask you one question: Do you think banning Alphie will make other liberal commenters more or less willing to speak up here? I think it would have a chilling effect and even though I rarely agree with them, I don’t want that to happen.

    How would banning a troll make people interested in constructive discussion less willing to come here?

    Alphie doesn’t use foul language, he doesn’t, to my knowledge, engage in personal attacks and he’s never malicious.

    The non-bold part of the quote is entirely inaccurate. Alpo regularly engages in personal attacks, usually in the form of generalized taunts, and is always malicious.

    The rest of your post about alpo being in the majority of world opinion is nonsense as well SteveMG.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  26. Just went and checked out some of those other blogs and the comments, again, just to convince myself…Malkin, Think Progress, Red State….. Yah. Those may be extreme examples but… yuck. You do things the right way.

    EdWood (fcdfda)

  27. alphie is supercilious, sophomoric, and has bragged in the past about being banned from most Pajamas Media blogs for doing exactly what he does here. He was not banned in any attempt to silence counterpoint voices and there was no danger of creating an echo chamber.

    Which is why I’ve mocked him unmercifully at times. Anybody who serves up links to his own refutation while posting such ridiculous, illogical arguments in such a juvenile fashion simply to yank people’s chains will be mocked.

    I’m pretty much anti-ban as it’s entertaining to watch dolts (like alphie) make fools of themselves and a guilty pleasure to watch folks (like Paul) eviscerate them.

    But I haven’t always mocked him. There have been times I have agreed with him when he’s made a valid point, and I’d do so again.

    It’s the lie about being a conservative that really keeps me from being able to appreciate anything about alphie.

    That (and his juvenile remarks) is why he’s the only commenter I’ve given an alias to. The other liberal commenters here I’ve treated with respect except when I’ve mocked them when they put up an lazy argument, when I know they know better. (That’s you, Levi.)

    Arguing against peoples biases may not convince THEM but it lets other readers see how absurd those biases are.

    Exactly.

    Bottom line: I’m anti-ban because when staying on topic, he has it in him to be a great commenter. When not–I’ll say it again–his writing is its own punishment.

    Paul (66339f)

  28. he doesn’t, to my knowledge, engage in personal attacks and he’s never malicious.

    I’ll stand corrected re personal attacks if one can find them. I’ve crossed swords with him (gave up after three tries) and he never attacked me personally.

    I don’t consider, by the way, responding to personal attack with personal attacks as necessarily being a bannable offense. Sauce for each party.

    The rest of your post about alpo being in the majority of world opinion is nonsense as well SteveMG.

    Okay, please provide me/us some poll data on world opinion about the US to contradict it. All the data I’ve seen has the US viewed quite harshly by the rest of the world.

    As I noted above, unfortunately on many issues regarding the US and foreign policy, Alphie’s critical views apparently are more in touch with international opinion than not.

    Much of the world – incorrectly – views the US as one of the world’s greatest threats to peace and order. Right after Iran and right before Israel.

    Absurd? Yep. But it can’t be ignored.

    If you can provide contradictory evidence, I’m all eyes and ears.

    SMG

    SteveMG (c7dbb7)

  29. I don’t need anyone to make me consider whether the Army is pressuring Beauchamp.

    Of course it is! Any society tries to ensure conformity to some significant degree. An institution, like the Army (or any military force) requires a high degree of conformity. So we can take for granted that Beauchamp IS being pressured in various directions.

    That said, one direction is the direction of truth, honor, duty. Another is to not sling mud on the Army’s image.

    All that can be safely assumed.

    But that’s the starting point. Against this we run the available evidence to determine what the net outcome of all this pressuring (including by TNR, another society in itself, his wife, lawyer, etc.) actually is, and that’s where there’s jsut no observed EVIDENCE that the Army is pressuring Scott to lie. On the contrary, evidence as presented to date is the opposite. TNR and his wife are pressuring him to hold to their desired line.

    I just don’t see anything that suggests the Army is coverning up anything. I do see evidence that TNR is trying very hard to make the story stand.

    How do we know Scott’s lawyer hasn’t counseled him to not provide TNR the docs? It’s interesting that he wanted to speak to Scott privately before committing to any course of action, and that after he did apparently no forward motion took place on acquiring the docs that TNR wants to see. I would expect that lawyer to be talking to the media if the Army wasn’t playing straight on delivering docs that Scott had the rights to release. (And I believe the rights in play are Scott’s rights to privacy.)

    No, maybe others (but I give them more credit than you are, Pat) need a voice whispering sensible doubts into their ear, I do not.

    So I reiterate my request. If you’re gonna let him stay around, can we please get the format tweaked so that the commenter’s name appears atop their comment instead of as a too late warning?

    Thanks. I won’t stop reading the blog in any case. I may, however, stop going to the comments. Contrary views presented in a respectful fashion are of great interest. Drive by trolls with zero argumentation or citation of facts are just as annoying as a spoilt two-year-old tot pitching a temper tantrum in a quiet restaurant.

    Dan S (604080)

  30. I guess it comes down to why one visits this blog.

    I read Malkin. I read Josh Marshall. I read the blogs posts on those sites because they offer a considerate interpretation of the events that shape the great debate of our times. I do not read either blogs comment threads. The comment sections are echo chambers. I have no patience with the myopic views of the vast majority of the commenters endlessly repeating the same dogma on either site.

    I do not read or visit Pandagon. I do not read or visit Daily Pundit. I have no patience with nor will I pay the danegeld of even visiting blogs that offer nothing but disengagement from the debate in favor of polarization in the posts.

    Alphie is not engaging anybody nor does he intend to. Alphie taunts. He taunts continuously. He is a thought policeman. That is his only purpose in being here. Asking people to bemusedly tolerate this as the price of distinguishing the views of people interested in thoughtful debate is asking them to tolerate something they wouldn’t even consider doing outside the marketplace of blogs.

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  31. alphie is harmless, and i applaud his perspective of skepticism about our current government, our war, etc. he doesn’t sound like the staunch republicans i know, and some of his comments undermine the proposition that he’s the brightest thing to ever hit the blogosphere; you’re welcome to say the same thing about my comments.

    out of many blogs i’ve contributed to here ‘n there, i’ve only been banned once: a guy set up a blog covering just local news, but he didn’t want anybody to know who he was, so he registered his url through “domains by proxy” in arizona which hides your info on the whois. his initial post was a plea to family and a few friends to preserve his anonymity from the hoi polloi, e.g., me. since i prefer the fearless country editor model over the anonymous wanker model, i figured out who he was, outed him right on his own blog, whereupon i was banned. i returned the next day under a different username to mock him, the day after that his blog disappeared and hasn’t returned.

    assistant devil's advocate (85160b)

  32. Pat,

    It’s you site & you can run it the way you see fit. And thats the way it is because Bud Dickman said so, or was that Stone Cold Steve Austin?

    Bud Dickman (2a4d4b)

  33. #6 DRJ asks:

    Do you think banning Alphie will make other liberal commenters more or less willing to speak up here?

    The answer is yes. Er, more willing anyway. alphievictim entered The Scroll Zone [eerie theme music…] for me long ago. IOW, constructive discussion has ended once alphievictim starts to hijack a thread~and because there are a number of intelligent, erudite posters here; views from all sides are effectively silenced.

    However, it’s Patterico’s house, and I certainly understand the desire to use a small banning stick rather than a timber.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  34. The sad part is that alphie probably couldn’t care less about Patterico’s tolerance of him.

    But, the tolerance isn’t really for alphie’s benefit, it simply insures that everyone is treated equally.

    wls (fb8809)

  35. The sad part is that alphie probably couldn’t care less about Patterico’s tolerance of him.

    That would be in character for him given his deportment and eventual banning on other blogs. But if he’s read this thread, he’s probably gotten a kick over the level of notice absent his usual efforts to get far less.

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  36. Since you’ve now opened the gate on this one…

    Yes, yes, I know: I supposedly declared Kathryn Johnston the Queen of All Evil, and canonized her killers as the Sainted Law Enforcement Agents who could not possibly have done anything wrong. (That’s bullshit, but I’m sick of the argument.)

    Do you think that is a fair representation of what Balko has written about your views on Johnston?

    As for the post where you didn’t allow comments I thought you distorted the facts in several places. Such as the “biggest blunder – ever!” comment. Clearly the politico write-up on Balko was about blogs–i.e. it was what Balko considers his biggest blog blunder – ever. Why did you feel a need to inflate that comment the way you did? Are you going to retract that comment? Post a correction or further explanation?

    Steve Verdon (49796d)

  37. He annoys me because he’s liberal and he makes my side look bad, and because he’s been confused with me on at least one occasion, which makes *me* look bad … but it’s your site, and you make the rules, and i respect your openness and dedication to conversation. :)

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  38. The reason that driveby liberal posts distracts the discussion is because there is a prevailiing climate and it enrages many people who share that climate. In actuallity, there are many owrthless “me too” drivebys that share the views of the prevailing climate. But they don’t snarl things up. Because they go with the flow…

    TCO (79dafb)

  39. I’m not convinced Alphie is so much about ‘skepticism re our current government, our war’, etc., but perhaps more about the need for attention, be it positivie or negative…and after this post, he must be doing some serious reveling.

    Dana (27e032)

  40. Steve Verdon,

    There was a bit of comic exaggeration in that post. It misled no-one. It probably amused some. And it probably put off the die-hard libertarians — especially the humorless ideologues.

    Seriously, it was a little amusing to me that I figured in his biggest blunder EVER! (Of course it was the biggest blog blunder. I’m sure he’s made plenty of other blunders in other contexts.)

    Patterico (43332d)

  41. See, Steve, when Patterico distorts it is amusing. When he doesn’t disclose, it’s because he doesn’t have to (since it doesn’t matter in the big picture, even though he exhorts other to disclose even if they THINK it doesn’t matter). When he jumps to conclusions while admonishing others not to do the same, he is being taken out of context. When he turns his comments off while chastising others for not having comments, it’s because he KNOWS what arguments are coming his way.

    AND FINALLY…

    When he makes excuses for his own misdeeds, it is because he is entitled to defend himself. When others make excuses, it’s because they are just making excuses and won’t accept what Patterico says as truth.

    Dude (6d25e4)

  42. What was I saying about humorless ideologues?

    Patterico (d030bd)

  43. Patterico,

    If that is your attempt at humor, keep working at it. Your style and delivery need quite a bit of work.

    What I do find amusing is that Balko’s 150 or so words induced you to write a 750 word response with two post scripts. Now that is funny.

    Steve Verdon (49796d)

  44. Steve Verdon,

    Please find me one person — one! — who was so humorless that they were MISLED by my phrasing and thought I really meant it was Balko’s worst non-blogging blunder ever.

    You won’t find one.

    If you do, my message to them will be: my God, you’re humorless.

    Patterico (851d1c)

  45. Finally, Steve Verdon, why would I retract it when I quoted the entire relevant passage from that horribly written blog post?

    Retract the quote?

    Patterico (cb6d26)

  46. Boy, talk abut a thread hijacking…

    Paul (66339f)

  47. Steve Verdon,

    What I find funny is that you bothered to count the words in our posts.

    This whole discussion has been very clarifying for me, as it clarifies for me something I had noticed, but only subconsciously. Namely, ideological libertarians (and ideologues in general, for that matter) are generally pretty humorless.

    Employ a light tone, and they’ll misunderstand. Tell them you were employing a light tone, and they’ll tell you very seriously, with a furrowed brow, that you aren’t very funny.

    Then they’ll go count the relative number of words in your post as compared with the number of words in the post by the All Knowing God of Libertarianism.

    And yes, Steve, that is a very fair and accurate characterization of your view of Balko. And I say that Very, Very Seriously.

    Because this is not a laughing matter. Not when Serious Libertarian Principles are At Stake.

    Patterico (0be643)

  48. Well, Paul, you see, it’s like this. It’s relevant to the post because I said I was tired of people coming on here misrepresenting what I said about Kathryn Johnston (or Katherine Johnson, as she is known at Politico). That gives anonymous losers like “Dude” the green light to come on here and misrepresent what I said about Kathryn Johnston.

    Patterico (dc7924)

  49. This is all very simple. Have some self-control and “PLEASE DON”T FEED THE TROLLS!” If they are totally ignored they tend to go away. All it takes is one poster to throw them a peanut and encourage them and then they never go away.

    Remember the first rule of parenting: You’re the adult and they’re the child. I have yet to find a satisfactory way of administering a virtual spanking, so the best solution is to ignore them.

    Have some self-control.

    KobeClan (bc05d2)

  50. Patterico #49:

    I knew it was relevant because you brought up “Dude” as an example of commet deleting in the original post; I guess I was amazed at how quickly this swerved into Balkofest because his defenders couldn’t restrain themselves to have that Kathryn Johnston debate yet again.

    Paul (66339f)

  51. Just wanted to chime in and say, that even though I’m much closer to Balko poltically than to you, I appreciate this site as a source of viewpoint from an honest conservative. You may be more combatative than I would be, and you certainly take viewpoints I don’t agree with, but that is good. Especially because you explain yourself, rather than simply taking the knee-jerk position I see so often at other conservative blogs. Making me (and, I hope, others) is a public service. I look forward to arguing more in the future…

    fishbane (1f2790)

  52. Doh. …”Making me _think_”…

    fishbane (1f2790)

  53. Paul,

    There’s nothing amazing (or even remotely surprising) about it.

    Patterico (e210cd)

  54. Pat #54:

    Maybe not to you. I only recently started visiting here again after a long absence, and I haven’t yet read any of the Balko threads.

    Paul (66339f)

  55. Do you think that is a fair representation of what Balko has written about your views on Johnston?

    Actually, I was writing about what commenters had written about my views on Johnston.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  56. Maybe not to you. I only recently started visiting here again after a long absence, and I haven’t yet read any of the Balko threads.

    Oh, they’re endlessly fascinating.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  57. Jeff Goldstein kicked alpo’s ass off protein wisdom.

    Mostly for abuse of the passive voice.

    I keep warning alpo that someday the passive voice is going to turn on him, gut him with and eat his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

    N. O'Brain (de7362)

  58. Oh, they’re endlessly fascinating.

    You sold me, Pat. I’ll get to it.

    Paul (66339f)

  59. Dude, the whole funny/not funny thing is totally lame. What ya gotta do is troll the motherfucker if he’s humorless. Rip his butthole. Fucking pot-smoking, right to bear atom bombs…guy.

    Oh, btw, I actually like Ron Paul and about 95% of libertarian stuff.

    TCO (79dafb)

  60. My $.02:
    Stacy in Tucson, #13…
    Quoting Larry Elder:
    “Facts to a Liberal, are like Kryptonite to Superman.”
    Alphie is best ignored. The suggested format change (leading with the name of the commenter) would probably short-circuit a lot of Alph’s vitriol, sort of like coming across a “Carol Herman” comment at QC (wearing out scroll button).
    But, hey, it’s your blog, you decide. The rest of us will survive.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  61. Should be CQ, not QC (dyslexia strikes again).
    Sorry.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  62. I like Carol, AD. Don’t be mentioning her in the same breath as alphabrayer.

    nk (da3e6b)

  63. The Sox are up 6-zip, so I’m surfing. My lefty blogs are adrift in the Sargasso Sea of Hillary inevitability and there’s nothing new on YouPorn, so I take a deep breath and venture into my old haunts on the righty side of the dial, and find my old friend Patterico in full blown Hamlet mode about banning alphie which inspires a few between innings comments. The first is that I always found Pat remarkably tolerant and actually encouraging of opposing views. So he scores on that point. I post at many sites under various nome de guerrres and have only been banned once–Democratic Underground. Don’t think the irony has been lost on me, and don’t think I’m not aware of the Stalinist tendencies among my political brethren. Anyway I ended up banning myself from the Pontificators when Pat’s obsession with Greenwald and appetite for tracking down his commentators got a little creepy for me. Alas. Nice to see you’re all doing well considering the fires burning thoughout the Rovian Empire. Go Sox!

    Asinistra (aa1317)

  64. First, the idea that we libs come over here because of the stifling orthodoxy of our own blogs is a little silly. You could check Kevin Drum’s liberal site full of right-wing trolls. Drum is great but I gave up on the comments a long time ago. While on the other hand, RedState and Little Green Footballs have a conscious, announced policy of banning anyone outside an approved band of beliefs. Kos doesn’t do that.

    Some of the most interesting writing in the blogosphere comes from Bush apostates like Cunning Realist and Belgravia Dispatch. I like to think my comments even helped Balloon Juice’s John Cole see the light. [links omitted in the hope of avoiding moderation queue, easy to find] I thought by commenting here, I could drive Mr. 24 percent down to Mr. 2.4 percent. (I might learn something myself: I’m much less impressed with new gun control laws than I would have been five years ago.)

    As far as alphie goes, his style isn’t my style. But it doesn’t seem any worse or more insulting (to say the least!) than daleyrocks’, mutatis mutandis. And when alphie links to sources, it often saves me a trip to Google or my disorganized Bookmarks folder in finding the refutation.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (3e9cb8)

  65. TCO – Surprised to see you commenting here as I didn’t realize you were a regular. Bit of a cheap shot at Steve Mc in #5, but that’s not much of a surprise coming from an HVAC “engineer”. Seriously, I was sorry to see you go as about half your comments brought up valid technical points that helped prevent Climate Audit from becoming the echo chamber Patrick speaks of in the post. The other half were juvenile taunts, but nobody’s perfect. Did Watts ban you too?

    The whole discussion surrounding this post illustrates to me why many political blog readers don’t even bother with the comments. Sure there are some smart people with good comments but it isn’t worth the 20 point rise in blood pressure to get to them. If a great point is made in the comments, Pat or the other posters usually add it as an update to the main post anyways. It’s appreciated since those of us that stick to the front page get to see it without having to wade through the snark and ad homs.

    Jeff C. (592845)

  66. AJL – You’re being far too modest for the size of your ego. If you eant to take credit for ruining Balloon-Juice, I’m not sure Cole would fight you over it.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  67. down periscope…

    TCO (79dafb)

  68. Who’s that with the drool?
    Alphie!

    Mythusmage, maxing the silly since 1965

    Alan Kellogg (41e1f4)

  69. Let Alphie stay, although I would encourage him to choose his fights more carefully.

    I just wish I had more time lately to be “annoying.”

    Psyberian (9a155b)

  70. You’re not “annoying,” Psyberian. At least not to me.

    Paul (66339f)

  71. “The other liberal commenters here I’ve treated with respect except when I’ve mocked them when they put up an lazy argument, when I know they know better. (That’s you, Levi.)”

    -Paul

    I’m not sure as to which of our arguments you’re referring, Paul… but you could be right. I’ve taken my fair share of ill-advised (and later recanted) stands. You’ve done the same, from my perspective (“perspective” being an integral influence in labeling something a “lazy argument”) , and I’ve mocked you similarly. The beauty of this site is that we’re all still talking to one another in a respectful tone at the end of the day.

    Thanks for this post, Pat.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  72. That’s cool, but personally, a breath of fresh air from the people you meet everyday is better. Check this out: http://www.breathoptimizer.com/blog

    Breath Doctor (bc5f39)


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