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 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.