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Monday, March 2, 2009

“My blog, my rules. If you want ‘free speech,’ go get your own blog!”

Contrary to what some bloggers and some blog readers seem to believe, a private blog is not a “public space.” Yes, most are open to the public for reading, but the blogger is ultimately responsible for the content on his or her blog (including the content in the comment section), and is under no obligation to allow readers to comment.

Comments are a great way to network, and interact with readers, but just as in a private home or in a private business, the blogger has the right to set the tone and ambiance, and to kick unruly guests out at will.

And no, it is not hypocritical to support “free speech,” and first amendment rights and at the same time to implement what more obnoxious commenters may refer to as “gestapo” tactics that would rival airport security. Just like our Dad’s used to tell us (paraphrased), “My blog, my rules. If you want ‘free speech,’ go get your own blog!”

The irresponsible, the angry, the obscene and the stupid have virtually taken over many Internet dialogues. But there is an easy fix, and websites owe it to society to use it. Just ban anonymous postings and send the trolls packing.

Blog Troll, aka, septic neurocritic

1.(n) -A pathetic and moronic person who maintains a blog with an unhealthy obsessive-compulsive drive, especially angsty goths (sorry to all the likeable goths out there). The content of their blogs usually includes events that no sane person would care about. Here's sample of what a blog troll might write on their blog:

"today, I ate a sanwich. It bad - it was just ok, mediocre, I guess you could call it. After that I read a few chapters out of an Anne Rice book and was deeply moved by her erotic descriptions of gay vampires fornicating. . Then I took a nap.

2.(n) -A depraved individual who sits in front of a computer all day and posts flames of an idiotic or pseudo-intellectual nature on public forums and private websites. Many of these people actually become emotional about what is said on the afore-said mediums and feel it is their duty to punish those who disagree with them. They too may pursue this object in an obsessive-compulsive manner.

The Common Blog Troll

Scientific name: Blogus-trollus

Physical Characteristics: Since the common blog troll is a very elusive species and tends to emulate homo sapiens when confronted in Real Life (the habitat of homo sapiens) it has thus escaped proper description. It is said that its head is covered with green warts and its body largely resembles a cone.

Color: Yellow-green, orange, red, black, white, purple and variations there-of.

Habitat: The common blog troll can be found nosing around any weblog that allows the posting of comments.

Belongs to the common troll group.

The Common Blog Troll is a recently discovered species, most likely evolved from the Common Usenet Troll or perhaps its close cousin, the Common Forum Troll. Its primary source of nourishment is a response to its excrement, which is left in the form of a comment on any weblog which allows comments. Its best not to feed the troll, otherwise it might make itself at home and litter said blog with ever growing piles of excrement. Once the pest moves into a weblog the best way to eradicate it is by the use of "IP Ban" which comes free with many forms of weblog -- if yours does not possess such feature you can always enlist the help of a local system administrator.

It should be noted that even an IP ban is not entirely effective in removing the most persistent of trolls - as the more clever ones have the ability of using different IP addresses. In that case only vigillance, patience and time will get rid of the pest completely. As always there are exceptions to that. Do The Right Thing and a few other friendly blogs have the same blogus-trollus frequenting the various comment sections, posting IT's inane, irrelevant lies for the sole purpose of reminding us just how stupid this particular trollus ignoramous is.

Excerpts taken from; 5 Ways To Defeat Blog Trolls and Cyberstalkers;

Essentially, a troll is a person who posts with the intent to insult and provoke others, Wood explains. The goal is to disrupt the normal traffic of a discussion group beyond repair. "A group is considered to be cohesively destroyed when two-thirds to three-quarters of the messages are a result of [trolls'] comments," Wood explains. They often target new users, who are more likely to take offense, hence the term "troll" (as in "trolling" for newbies).

Many trolls are characterized by having an excess of free time and are probably lonely and seeking attention, Wood says. "They often see their own self-worth in relation to how much reaction they can provoke," he says.

Woods categorizes trolls in the following ways:

Spamming troll: Posts to many newsgroups with the same verbatim post.
Kooks: A regular member of a forum who habitually drops comments that have no basis on the topic or even in reality.
Flamer: Does not contribute to the group except by making inflammatory comments.

Hit-and-runner, (aka, drive-by): Stops in, make one or two posts and move on.
Psycho trolls: Has a psychological need to feel good by making others feel bad.

Cyberstalkers can also assume many different forms, according to Wood, although they're basically characterized by a continuing pattern of communication that the recipient considers to be offensive. Other common traits of cyberstalkers are malice, premeditation, repetition, distress to the victim, an obsession on the part of the stalker, seeking of revenge, threats that make victims fear for their physical safety and disregarded warnings to stop.

As with trolls, there are several different types of cyberstalkers, according to Wood:

Intimate partner: The most common type of stalker, this is usually a man who has a history of controlling and emotional abuse during a relationship.
Delusional stalkers: This type of stalker builds an entire relationship with the victim in his or her mind, whether any prior contact has taken place or not. Such stalkers are likely to have a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or erotomania, which means they believe the victim is in love with them. The typical delusional stalker is unmarried, socially immature and a loner who is unable to sustain close relationships with others.

Vengeful stalker: This type of person is angry with the victim due to some real or imagined insult or injury. Some of these stalkers are psychopaths -- a person affected with an antisocial personality disorder -- who have no conscience or remorse. They may have paranoid delusions, often feeling that they themselves are victims and are striving to get even.
What to do

In many cases, victims feel they have very little ammunition -- whether legal, technological or tactical -- to stop the abuse. However, there are some things bloggers and other online contributors can do to try to avoid this kind of harassment or at least keep it from crossing into the physical world.

1. Know the trolls' tactics

According to Wood, the first rule for dealing with trolls is to avoid being deceived by them in the first place. Don't trust anything you receive or read without verifying the poster through known, reliable sources, he says. Also, ignore postings or private e-mails that are suspicious, such as those that praise, flatter or evoke a sympathetic response.


This is one of the more important acronyms in the blog world, meaning, "Don't feed the trolls." "Just like in-person bullies, trolls feed off your reaction." "Under no circumstances should you acknowledge the behavior or repay it with anger or defensiveness. If you don't react, they'll get bored and go away."

Even if ignoring the harasser doesn't get him to stop, at least you won't fan his flames, Wood says. "The more a person responds, the more they teach the stalker about themselves or divulge information they shouldn't," he says.

3. Maintain your privacy

Don't publish any personal information, such as your address or phone number. If you need to, use a Post Office box number. Wood suggests asking your state's motor vehicles and voter registry to put a block on your address and phone number. "Otherwise, any person may obtain them just for inquiring," he says.

Some longtime bloggers, such as Bray and his wife Lauren Wood, a senior technical program manager at Sun, refrain from posting photos of their children on their blogs.

4. Block and ban

If you're experiencing abuse on a moderated blog, you can appeal to the administrator, who can try banning the troll. Be prepared to include a history of the troll's posts, including full headers.

Some blog services offer technologies that enable you to block offensive participants. Using Wordpress, Silverstein can moderate the comments of anyone who hasn't contributed to the site before, which helps eliminate the hit-and-run type of trolls. "That allows me to weed out 90% of the abuse I get," he says.

Another plug-in enables him to ban certain IP addresses. "That's especially good for the really crazy people, if they post one comment that goes beyond the pale," he says.

5. Keep a log

Be sure to keep a copy of anything you receive from the harasser, Lauren Wood suggests. If they contact you by phone rather than e-mail, take notes on what they say and how often they call, she says. "You'll need proof rather than, 'I think he was calling three times a day,'" she says. "You'll want a log that says, 'He called at 9:14 p.m."

Above all, when you have an online presence, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility of becoming a target, Wood adds. "Just like in the real world, you need to realize which dark alleys you shouldn't enter at night, and if you do, have protection and know what you should do when," she says.

Adds Silverstein, "you're very vulnerable as a blogger. You're out there hanging on the line, and anyone can take a shot at you."

The comment section is for the readers of Do The Right Thing, a place for political conservatives and Christians to share information and discuss current events. We are not "fair and balanced," and we aren't refereeing a "free speech zone." Intelligent, funny, and on-topic comments are welcome. Trolls, spam, left wing fools, liberal propaganda, and cyber stalkers are not. We may occassionally approve a comment with an obvious lefty-slant so that we can amuse ourselves by making fun of it, but most will be deleted. (Why? Because we're busy, we have lives, and when we want to talk to you we'll go visit you on Digg or the Daily KOS or your own pathetic blog.)

This is a private blog, and we reserve the right to make up our own rules as we go along. The few comments which manage to squeak by our censors reflect the opinion of the commentator, and not necessarily the staff of Do The Right Thing.

While it may be fun to "whack a troll," the best policy is to ignore them. The more vile manifestations of trolls expose themselves as the slimy gutter crawlers and cave dwellers they are.

Trolls are utterly worthless to any decent discussion. They systematically inject their own hatred, spewing whatever dreamed up or conjured untruths they think will impress readers to disrupt a discussion. Most are in various stages of dementia while some can even be classified as psychopathic narcissists.

The solution is to ban and delete them whenever they rear their ugliness. Most go to great lengths to hide their identities, using multiple on line aliases, random I.P. generators, and false emails set up for the purpose of projecting more of their inner hatred to those they stalk.

We keep logs of all comments. Particularly those of the more vile cave dwellers, gutter rats, and moonbats.

Finally, as a warning to our daily readers we ask that you not respond to the vitriolic nonsense that may on occassion make it past our moderators.

Remember DFTT.