Sunday, June 1, 2008

WWWtW-Watch #15: Mole


Dedicated to the proposition that it can happen here.


It can now be disclosed – since I have been banned for a second time – that, over the course of several days, I had again been posting comments on threads at What’s Wrong with the World. As I am no geek, I was without technical knowledge of how such a ban is effected. What I discovered, almost by accident, is that one can apparently only be banned on one computer network at a time. (Or something like that.) Anyway, I found that I could post to WWWtW from home, and so I did.

I was not without some moral misgivings about entering a “place of business” from which I had been 86’d. But, as the saying goes, I decided that I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Taking those misgivings into account, however, I entered without disguise, using my real name, and providing the address of an email account that I have been using for nearly a decade. I expected to be discovered and shown the door immediately. As it went down, I was able to comment there over the course of several days. If I was a mole, I was a mole who was hiding in plain sight.

I was spotted almost immediately by a guy named Brandon. Brandon had previously known me as “Rob,” primarily at Disputations. There is a Brandon in every grade-school classroom and on every cell block in the slammer. He’s the guy who runs up to tell Teacher (or the turn-key) about whatever it is that his classmates (or fellow inmates) are trying to get away with. The most polite word for Brandon’s type is probably “snitch.” Unless they are very large guys, the Brandons of this world usually pay for their compulsive police work on the playground (or on the exercise yard). I just ignored Brandon. For whatever reason, his I.D.ing of me was without result.

I next aroused the suspicions of the redoubtable Lydia McGrew (and isn’t that a perfect name for the female heavy in this drama?) who thought that she recognized the rhetorical stylings of “Rodak” in the commentary of “Rob.” It is nice to know that one has developed a distinctive voice. Again – since she did not directly ask if “Rob” was, in fact, “Rodak” – I simply ignored Ms. McGrew’s musings on the subject.

What I believe to have been the terminal Rodak-spotting was effected by an intellectual pug named William Luse. This is an individual who is in the habit of taking any counter-argument to one of his unimaginative pronouncements as a personal insult. If that ESPN announcer who delights in giving nicknames to sports figures turned his talents to the WWWtW regulars, he might dub this jamoke as William “Fast and” Luse – because that’s how Bill plays with the words of his interlocutors. Billy was the easiest to ignore sans twinges of guilt.

I have to believe that WWWtW staffer, Zippy Catholic, who had known me well as “Rob” – first at Disputations and then on his own site – was immediately aware of my reemergence at WWWtW and decided, for whatever reason, to let me slide for awhile. It was Zippy who originally aroused my ire by suggesting that I had been operating as a “troll” in my exchanges at WWWtW. (see comment section here).

As I said, I am no geek. I knew, obviously, that “troll” was a pejorative term. But I had only a vague idea as to the specific shortcomings included in its usage. Now that I had been commenting at WWWtW illicitly, it occurred to me that maybe Zippy had been correct. Nonetheless, I did not really worry myself too much concerning this transgression of cyber-etiquette, since, for all their intellectual pretensions, the WWWtW cabal are absolutely vulgar and déclassé in their response to any comments that are other than adulatory affirmations of their narrowly orthodox dicta. They disrespect honest dissent. So be it, then. To put it in the vernacular – what goes around comes around.

But the question remains: what is a troll? This will be considered in a subsequent post.

12 comments:

brandon field said...

I was spotted almost immediately by a guy named Brandon.

Oh, come on. If you wanted to post in cognito, you might have adapted a different persona. It wasn't really that difficult to recognize the belligerence.

Your name calling and threatening to beat me up at recess aside, Rob, I actually don't frequent WWwtW that much, and I was actually surprised that Paul et al. had let you back on.

And, my advise to you, as a long time correspondent: Just leave them alone. You're not going to change their opinions, and the belligerence is only going to fortify their opinions. It's like Zippy says about voting, it's not going to change the outcome, and it is changing you.

Finally, yes, someone who posts from a different ip address under a different name on a website that he was formerly banned from is a troll.

brandon field said...

But the question remains: what is a troll? This will be considered in a subsequent post.

One more point, because I just read WWwtW watch #8 that you posted to. The etymology of the term "troll" was a fishing term. The original internet trolls "trolled" for arguments in discussion threads. I don't know if that's what you were doing or not, but it's not just a meaningless word.

Rodak said...

Thanks for the etymology, Brandon. I look for a good debate. If that is "trolling," so be it.

As for incognitos, I deliberately did not use one. As I said, I expected Zippy to "out" me almost immediately. But he didn't.

Rodak said...

As for just leaving them alone, Brandon, I don't think so. I will not change their minds, of course. But, in that there are several areas in which I think their party line to be radically wrong--sometimes within the context of the U.S. Constitution, sometimes within the context of the Christianity they imagine themselves to profess--I think that it is worthwhile to continue to oppose them. I may not change their minds. But if I can reach some of their readers, who may be less rigidly doctrinaire, I might at least cause such persons to think about what they're reading.

brandon field said...

As I said, I expected Zippy to "out" me almost immediately. But he didn't.

And, like I said, I was surprised too which is why I posted something to the thread. (And, you'll note that I did make reference to common ground that you had with the editor-in-chief of that website in your musical taste and the respect that he had for you for seeing Robbie Z. in person at your high school).

As for entymology, see the Wikipaedia page on internet trolls.

brandon field said...

But, in that there are several areas in which I think their party line to be radically wrong

I assume by "their party line", you mean the editorial views of the website, because I think you err if you mean they represent the views of the Republican party.

I disagree with much of what they write as well, some of them more than others. But I'm not sure that you're really doing the public service to their readership that you think you are. Especially with the antagonistic attitude that got you banned. If anything, you will just convince their "on-the-fence" readers that the opposition is nothing but hot-headed fools, which only makes the owners of the 'blog look more authoritative.

That's my opinion. You are, of course, free to do what you like. And in spite of you calling me a "snitch", I still consider you among my online friends.

Rodak said...

I assume by "their party line", you mean the editorial views of the website

That's right. If they were just common garden variety Republicans I would have no interest in them.

But I'm not sure that you're really doing the public service to their readership that you think you are.

I will know that I'm not if I don't try.

Especially with the antagonistic attitude that got you banned.

I don't expect you to take the time, but if you would go back and examine examples of my "antagonistic attitude," you would find that it was, in I think every instance, reactionary. Several of the writers there--particularly, Lydia McGrew and William Luse--never fail to resort to ad hominem insults when a person disagrees with their thesis. They are, in fact, trolling their own site, which is their perogative, of course. But let it be known for what it is.

And in spite of you calling me a "snitch"

What in the world prompted you to do that?

brandon field said...

but if you would go back and examine examples of my "antagonistic attitude,"

Point me to a thread and I'll scan through it. I was skimming through the "What is a vote" thread, and I was less than impressed with your witness to Christian charity.

What in the world prompted you to do that?

To do what? To ask how you got back in spite of being banned? I was surprised to see you.

Rodak said...

To do what? To ask how you got back in spite of being banned? I was surprised to see you.

So you thought you'd point me out to them and get me banned again? Nice.
Why didn't you send me an email, or ask me that on my blog?

What do you find objectionable that I said in the WWWtW thread you cite above?

brandon field said...

Why didn't you send me an email, or ask me that on my blog?

Did I mention that I wasn't aware that you were trying to post in cognito? That it wasn't clear to me that you were trying not to be detected, by using your actual name and your same persona? And I wasn't 100% positive that it was you, so I wasn't going to send you an email asking "Hey, there's this guy that sounds a lot like you posting over at WWwtW, is that you?" I'm not really into this internet-handle thing; I use my real name, and my name actually google-resolves to me (well, not the Wikipaedia article about the football player, but two of the top five are google-hits are currently me).

What do you find objectionable that I said in the WWWtW thread you cite above?

Mostly your attitude. I'm not going to go digging for direct quotes right now, but I can do that if I get a change later today. Point me to the thread that you got re-banned, and I'll let you know.

Rodak said...

I don't know what got me rebanned, as they didn't announce it. I just tried to post one evening and found that I was banned again.

My "attitude" on the thread you cite, however, was that pro-life people would have a better chance at changing the hearts and minds of pro-choice people if they spoke to them civilly and reasonably, rather than calling them murderers, ghouls, cannibals, and the like. So I find it rather ironic that it is my bad attitude that you cite in connection with that thread.
On my own blog, I call them whatever I want. But at WWWtW I never initiated any exchange of insults without provocation.

Rodak said...

think that this is the last comment I was allowed to make. The words in italics are quoting the comment to which I was responding. My words are bolded:

But its another thing, quite another thing altogether, to give a leftist administration like the one Obama will bring, four (or gasp, eight) years to openly advocate a gospel of death.


People are writing about Obama here as though they truly believe that his primary impetus towards the goal of becoming POTUS is to increase to the maximum possible level the number of abortions performed per diem. That is absurd.
If the goal is to eventually eliminate abortion, the only route to success is to gradually change the hearts and minds of the pro-choice contingent. Look--abortion has become a political issue. Tunnel-visioned fanatacism is just not that attractive. It's not the way to go. Trust me.


When you get a chance, go to that thread ("What's a Vote?") and compare what I said to the response it evoked from "thebyronicman" at May 30, 2008 12:23 PM