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June 14, 2005

Comments

Carlos, the uncovering of Tacitus' mild-mannered reporter identity, as juicy as that bit of news might seem, has sort of been in the public domain for...several months to a year or more. Just so ya know.

OTOH, an actual outing is contrary to posting rules. I suggest you acquaint yourself with them. Consider that a strong suggestion.

As far as I can tell, though, he's yet another Internet troll

Tacitus, in a big way, was responsible for this here blog, and for the both the people who post and those who read here. Anybody who dismisses him as a troll is both ignorant and pompous. This not an insult, but a simple fact.

To be more specific, look around on this web page and you will find the annotation Tacitus, blogfather.

OMG "Tacitus" is the Josh Trevino?

Yeah, it's a very tip-top secret. Only 70k or so Google hits. Shhhhh.

Why should the liberal blogs be doing better than the conservative blogs, so suddenly? The most-useful conservative Web Site, Lucianne.com, is still fairly passive in nature: people post links to stories they've seen in the media, and invite comment. The stories are media stories, first and foremost, not your own.

In contrast, the liberal sites invite people posting links to comment first, or at least establish the context. If you don't want to link to anything, that's OK too. The latter process requires more thought, and maybe it's healthier. It certainly makes a better read for others.

DaveC: Tacitus, in a big way, was responsible for this here blog, and for the both the people who post and those who read here. Anybody who dismisses him as a troll is both ignorant and pompous. This not an insult, but a simple fact.

Indeed. Tacitus is privileged to break the posting rules without risking banning, unless he actually verbally assaults one of the ObWing committee, in which case he risks being banned for a few days. That too is a simple fact. This privilege is understandable, given his status as Blogfather: it says something about Tacitus's character that every time he shows up, he takes advantage of it. Me, I tend to think more highly of people who know that they can't be made to abide by the rules - but who abide by them anyway. But maybe that's just me.

Hmm, while theres a lot of high horse'n going on, I'm going to try to take a different approach. I would say the blogsplosion occurred around 9-11, it seems rather intuitive that the conservative side gained dominance in this period, and kept it for some time. Since then you have the 2002 elections, 2004 pres elections, iraq war et al. which would certainly seem to lend itself more to the people who feel they aren't being heeded (ie liberals) at that time.
Ok, now time for me to hop in the saddle. This thread, and many many others at liberal blogs, and even at coservative ones that have comments are full of "ME TOO" "I AGREE" "ME TOO(2)" posts. One could come to the conclusion that righties don't want conversation so they don't have comments as has been the position of many in this thread, or you could say that they don't feel the need to be patted on the back, cheerleaded etc. I don't believe theres one explanation for any of it, and its pretty silly to try to make a case that the "Republican Party" is to blame for not having comments. Just take it case by case if you wanna talk about it, the blogosphere is far to diverse for generalizations of the sort.
-bro

Jesurgislac, if you have a problem with the way Tacitus is treated, email the kitten. Speaking for myself, we give much more latitude to those who show up and troll whenever Tac comments here than we do to Tacitus, which to my way of thinking isn't quite fair, either. Carlos' comments were a clear violation of the posting rules, IMO.

"Slartibartfast" and others -- although I really shouldn't bother answering the "anonymous coward" crowd; I follow Alan Lothian's rule that the sillier a pseudonym is, the sillier the person usually is behind it -- this was rather some time before Trevino outed himself. I call his personal conduct the way I see it. I do have some expertise regarding Internet trolls.

Of course, Trevino might simply post another link to a graphic that says, "And one more thing... please let my friend know how much I CARE." How non-trollish. At least it wasn't to Goatse.

JEK, I know, I know. Doug's the cute one, I'm the smart one; Doug's the forgiving one, I'm the accurate one. It's a pattern. I haven't even posted that much to HDTD lately, but I should get a hold of Ikram, some others. When Jonathan was away from the Head Heeb, he had a fair number of shwi guest-bloggers, which went pretty well. So.

Golly, I'm...crushed.

So, am I going to have to ban this and all the other AOL IP addresses that you use, or are you going to drop this bit about Tacitus? Drop it here, I mean; you still have your own forum to obsess about others from.

Another:
"The Democratic leadership, he said, embodies "the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the roadblock."

DaveL: "Not to get all Friedmanesque or anything, but when you've got a dry drunk driver running the ship of state into the twin ditches of debt and defeat, a few traffic controls ain't necessarily a bad thing."

Way back when I took driver's ed, the cars had one modification - a second brake pedal, on the passenger's side. Where the instructor sat.

Speaking of trolls:

Hey, Tac, how's that war going?

Rememeber, the one that was supposed to leave WW2 in the dust?

Tacitus is privileged to break the posting rules without risking banning, unless he actually verbally assaults one of the ObWing committee, in which case he risks being banned for a few days. That too is a simple fact.

Actually, that is wrong "fact". He's already been banned once and he has risked banning on several occasions. It would be fair to say that any well-established commenter gets a bit of leeway, liberal or conservative, but the lines remain.

Slarti: Jesurgislac, if you have a problem with the way Tacitus is treated, email the kitten.

I did. I do. The kitten never does anything but purr at Tacitus, as far as I can see. Maybe I should send the kitten catnip next time?

Charles: Actually, that is wrong "fact". He's already been banned once and he has risked banning on several occasions.

Actually, you are describing what I already described. Tacitus was banned for a few days for verbally assaulting Edward_, but unbanned again: and, despite breaking the posting rules many times, that was the only time he was banned. So, we're both right; you're just giving the facts a slightly different spin.

despite breaking the posting rules many times, that was the only time he was banned.

Likewise, despite having posting rules broken at him multiple times, AFAIK none of those breaking the rules were banned. Would you like us to tighten up on everyone, or maintain a sort of global laxity?

"Would you like us to tighten up on everyone, or maintain a sort of global laxity?"

The whip, the whip!

Slarti: Likewise, despite having posting rules broken at him multiple times, AFAIK none of those breaking the rules were banned.

It's evidently hard for people to understand that when Tacitus (not a regular poster here) zooms in and broadly insults someone, he's allowed to do that. But if Tacitus is allowed to insult people without any rebuke or any expectation that his manners will ever improve, because the Posting Rules are not to be enforced on him in any respect, then yes, I expect that other people's manners will deteriorate accordingly.

That's evidently the ObWing collective's choice, and that being so, my choice is generally not to get involved in direct debate with Tacitus. If you feel that the Posting Rules ought to be enforced, and even Tacitus rebuked when he writes things like "So-and-so can't read" - you propose it to the collective.

If you're happy with the status quo - Tacitus is rude, other people are rude back - then maybe that ought to be a small addition to the Posting Rules: the blogfather gets to break them whenever he likes?

"The whip, the whip!"

No! No! Not the whip! Anything but the whip!

You know, when people-who-shall-remain-nameless insist on not employing any modicum of reading comprehension, then fabricate a point of view and assign it to someone else, and then call that POV ridiculous and execrable...that sort of taxes the patience, and is in itself a violation of our rules for courteous posting conduct. IMO, of course, but when such people cling to their initial position after being corrected again and again, civility can lapse even more. Who's the perpetrator, here?

So, rather than ban the miscreant in question AND ban Tac, we do neither. Maybe that's not the best course, but...take it up with the kitten.

Tacitus is rude, other people are rude back

If you'll recall the last time Tac spent time with us on a thread, that didn't happen. What happened was someone else was rude, then rude again, then rude AGAIN...

See, in my book, and I've made this repeatedly clear, it's exceedingly uncivil for other people to build a strawman in your likeness and burn it in effigy. It's even more uncivil for them to repeat the stunt after you've pointed out that it's just straw.

"If you'll recall the last time Tac spent time with us on a thread, that didn't happen."

Not really, if you are thinking about the This is Interesting thread. Tacitus's first comment included the line that a poster cannot read, and his exchange with felix was far from anyone's definition of polite.

No, that wasn't what I had in mind as "time". Maybe I ought to have phrased it differently, but what I had in mind was more than a couple of posts, and Tacitus had a lot more to say than mere squabbling.

"No! No! Not the whip! Anything but the whip!"

Anything?

This thread, actually.

""No! No! Not the whip! Anything but the whip!"

Anything?"

THE WHIP!!! THE WHIP!!!

[yes, I know this is a slight non-sequitur, but...]

Fetch... the COMFY CHAIR.

(hopes the subject is changing...)

"(hopes the subject is changing...)"

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Tacitus is rude, other people are rude back

Although Tacitus certainly brings some of it on himself, I think people here tend to overlook how some of the comments here might read to those on the other side of the fence. I don't see how one can read Bryan's comment as anything other than hostile to Tacitus, so it seems not accurate to say that he initiated the rudeness in this case (although to be fair, Bryan had no way of knowing that Tac would be reading this thread or planning to participate in it).

And Ral, I see you skipped right past the soft cushion -- I guess it was clear from the get-go that we're made of sterner stuff.

Yes, I left out our one weapon, er... our two weapons... er...

I'll come in again.

I don't see how one can read Bryan's comment as anything other than hostile to Tacitus

Why do you see it as hostile? The only factual error in it is that Tacitus claimed it was an error to say tacitus.org was not a liberal blog - past tense rather than present as Bryan's comment reads. Other than that, it is a statement of what Tacitus himself wrote, and then defended at great length in the comments on the original post.

And for questioning the fact that tacitus.org was a liberal blog, Tacitus did indeed call someone a fool, ignorant, etc., and made insulting comments like, "Pity the man's mother, I suppose".

I'm still waiting for Slartibartfast to tell me how my interpretation of the above facts demonstrates a "struggle with reading comprehension" or a "struggle with bothering to read in the first place" on my part, as he said, but he didn't offer any explanation beyond the playground insult BS.

felixrayman, surely you can see the snarky tone of Bryan's comment, can't you? And of course it's somewhat unfair to blame Tac for snark sent Atrios's way without acknowledging their mutual prior history of snarkbattles. Again, I'm not saying that Tacitus plays no role in this, far from it; but it's not like everyone's holding hands singing songs and then he comes in with a shotgun.

Re your "liberal blog" comment -- I don't know why this silly throwaway line has turned into such a point of contention (except to the extent that everything around here does), but it's not really fair to say that Tac claimed to be running a left-wing web site, because his statement was that it had become left-wing in his absence.

"(except to the extent that everything around here does)"

I'd say that "around here" covers most of planet earth where humans are, save perhaps for Buddhist monasteries, if I didn't actually know of how common it is in some places for Buddhist monks to beat the crap out of each other.

However, I really must get around to my intended post on pub etiquette, and how everything can be turned into an entertaining argument without serious hurt feelings, if done right, and how this might apply to blogs. Really. Real Soon Now. (Maybe by next week.)

Although if anyone needs tips on drinking beer, you can get started here.

felixrayman, surely you can see the snarky tone of Bryan's comment, can't you.......etc.

Bryant didn't say Tacitus was running it, he said "Tacitus is, according to its host, a liberal blog". Again, change "is" to "was" and you've got an inarguable statement. I did use the word run, by which I mean "owner and administrator, according to whois records and other publicly available information". Sorry for any confusion.

The comment I made was obviously (at least I thought) a joke, and I do find the whole thing screamingly funny, as Atrios did, the ignorant fool! If someone wants to turn a throwaway joke line into a tempest, well, what better teapot?

As for hostility...sure Bryant's remark was snarky, but if it qualifies as "hostile" what word should be used for Tacitus turning a disagreement about something so petty into an excuse to hurl insults involving a guy's mother? A little sense of scale here, maybe?

The whip, the whip!

And after the whipping, the oral sex.

(Oh hell, Launcelot just showed up)

if I didn't actually know of how common it is in some places for Buddhist monks to beat the crap out of each other.

So, how common is it? At least they were defrocked, rather than the entire bench and coaching staff of both monasteries spilling out onto the streets.

BTW, I do hope that someone managed to capture some of the offending behavior on video. I'd think there would be a lot of commercial potential in unstaged footage of guys in orange robes flipping off other guys in orange robes.

And thanks for the link, of course.

The comment I made was obviously (at least I thought) a joke

So I assumed -- I didn't see why Slart picked on it, but then when you started defending it as if it were a serious assertion rather than a bit of fun, I thought maybe he interpreted it correctly and I was wrong.

A little sense of scale here, maybe?

Sure. My defense of Tac is limited to the accusations that he always initiates the unpleasantness.

"So, how common is it?"

All I can say is that if one pays close attention to international news, one -- that is, me/i> -- sees a story along these lines at least every couple of months, whether out of India or Thailand or Cambodia or somewhere else in Asia. So it's uncommon enough to make the news, but common enough to be news at least several times a year.

Phoenician in a time of Romans: "And after the whipping, the oral sex."

I dunno: have you gotten clear on that whole "binary fission" thing? Besides, I don't think we've been properly introduced. However, anything but having to talk about Tacitus And His Electric Enemies. Speaking of topics that suck.

"I'd think there would be a lot of commercial potential in unstaged footage of guys in orange robes flipping off other guys in orange robes."

Indeed

Phoenician in a time of Romans: "And after the whipping, the oral sex."

I dunno: have you gotten clear on that whole "binary fission" thing?

Philistine. Hie thee hence and rent "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" forthwith.

"Hie thee hence and rent 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' forthwith."

Why, do I need to see it for the 31st time or something? (But, hey, I don't own a copy, and if you're paying....)

"So, am I going to have to ban this and all the other AOL IP addresses that you use,"

Since that would be unjust, I fully expect you to. Incidentally, AOL assigns its IPs randomly at login.

(I really owe Alan Lothian a bottle of Woodford Select. His rule really does separate the wheat from the chaff 90+% of the time.)

LJ: sure, you say that now, but a few beers...

Gary: I'm not that kind of girl.

Reminds me of one of my favorite jokes...

Q: What's the difference between a straight man and a bisexual?
A: About two pints.

[Note: this is actually the English version of that joke. Given the small girth of an American pint, and the love-in-a-canoe quality of most of our beers, the American version of the punchline should read "A six-pack". This has been a free translation at no extra charge to you, the international reader. We now return you to the whipping and oral sex.]

I know they're not blogs, as such, but I belong to at least a couple of more than slightly conservative BBS's, which run to over 20,000 members each. Mightn't it skew the numbers if conservatives were hanging out at forums that didn't qualify as blogs?

That said, I think the real problem IS that the GOP is in power, but the Republicans wielding that power are really, seriously poor excuses for conservatives. Let conservatives comment, and we tend to start unloading about that, which isn't seen as, ahem, "constructive".

The institutional GOP has a bad conscience, and really does NOT want to listen to people on it's own side chastising it.

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