I Think Clive Crook Is Right and Wrong...
links for 2007-11-26

Teresa Nielsen Hayden Moderates BoingBoing!

Don't try this at home, kids. Watch a skilled professional at work:

Fox News Porn - the prurience of prigs - Boing Boing: #37 POSTED BY TERESA NIELSEN HAYDEN / MODERATOR , NOVEMBER 19, 2007 8:03 AM: Yo, Moonbat: If you're so smart, how come you can't remember who takes the vowels out of rude comments?

Nelson.C: These days, Realcatholicman, BB's comments sections are filled with twits trying to prove how politically-motivated every post that mentions Fox, or copyright, or voting machines, etc. In other words, the same stuff that BB has always been interested in.


Boing Boing's a high-visibility weblog. There are a lot of sullen, disappointed right-wingers out there who miss the old days, when they had jolly times smashing the shop windows of the early liberal blogosphere. Some of them are fixated on Boing Boing as the uppity liberal enemy that must be suppressed.

This is middling bizarre of them, seeing as how Boing Boing isn't primarily a political weblog. It's very effective at focusing on the political issues it does pursue, but it isn't all politics all the time. I suspect that's what actually brings in the wingnuts: unlike weblogs like Firedoglake or Hullabaloo or Daily Kos, Boing Boing's entries can be understood (more or less) by someone who isn't up on current events, and who never learned the song about how a bill becomes a law.

(I think that's why we have so much trouble with commenters who misunderstand Cory's take on the realities of copyright law. As a rule of thumb, just about everyone thinks they're an expert on art, sex, traffic laws, popular music, and copyrights, and just about everyone is mistaken. I can't vouch for their adherence to the rest of the rule, but when it comes to copyrights, these guys are definitely not an exception.)

If you want to see how much they distort the local discourse, look at the difference between a thread on global warming and one on some other complex scientific subject. These guys get their talking points dished out to them by the source feed right-wing weblogs. This means that if global warming comes up, they swarm the comment thread because they know something they can say. But if an entry's about some scientific development that isn't covered in their spoon-fed talking points, they're at a loss, and so that thread will instead be full of science buffs discussing the actual entry.

And what kind of insult is "politically-motivated" anyway? Is it illegal in Bush's America to have a political opinion? If the politics here offend you so much... go somewhere else.

You'd think, eh? But they don't find it contradictory. They don't even find it funny. I think what they mean by "politically motivated" is "You are pushing your agenda, not our agenda." They're not real clear on this democracy thing.

I wish that being politically offended made them go away. Unfortunately, it's a lot of the reason they're here. I very much appreciate having commenters call them on their larger errors of fact, as has happened in this thread. It clears the air.


I'm sick of the comments being a forum for people to either bitch about what is being posted or bitch about being "censored."

Bless you. I don't know why people feel impelled to write comments about how some entry bores them. As I keep saying, it's a big internet out there, and everyone else seems to have got the knack of moving on to something new if they're bored.

Personally, I think it's mere attitudinizing: they can't think of anything interesting to say, so they accuse Boing Boing of being boring.

The alternative to moderated comments is mind-bogglingly ugly. Remember usenet? Without moderation, trolls take over. And cries of "hypocrisy" ignore the fact that this a private site that has been kind enough to allow us to leave our comments on. Until BB tries to take down sites they don't like, they're in the clear on that charge.

I've done my time and then some on Usenet. If learning to moderate online forums is like studying trolls and demons, then hanging out on Usenet is like living in Sunnydale: if you survive long enough, you'll eventually come up against one of every kind of monster -- and after a while, your reaction will change to "Bored now."

Not enough people seem to remember that the main reason Boing Boing's first set of forums got shut down was that the Boingers didn't have time to moderate them, and they went septic. Every large general-interest web forum that's worth reading is moderated, many of them far more strictly than Boing Boing.

The "come and see the violence inherent in the system, help help I'm being repressed" crew are less of a puzzle than they initially seem. Their own online activity tends to be dull and disruptive, but they think they're entitled to the kind of large audience for their behavior you can only get by being interesting. This is why they don't actually want free speech. All that would give them is the freedom to call the shots on their own websites. What they really want is someone else's audience.