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January 17, 2007

Comments

Thanks for the housekeeping.

You'll be a more effective commentator by thinking about and responding on the merits to someone else's post, rather than snarking by it, instantly dismissing it, or getting into pointless arguments about who is a "troll" or what is "trolling."

I'd say that misses the entire point, or at least MO, of trolling.

I, for one, pledge to no longer get into pointless arguments about who is a "troll" or what is "trolling."

von is banned!

that should have been followed with a ";-)"

"When I shut down comments to a post, it's probably because things are pretty out-of-whack."

I'm more than a little unsure that the fairest response to everyone is to punish everyone by closing an entire thread to everyone, in response to a couple or more people, rather than dealing solely with the people responsible by, as per the stated policy, warning them, and then banning them as necessary.

I'm not aware of any provision in the posting rules that says that if three people, say, are trolling, everyone should be punished by closing a thread.

But, of course, it's your blog, and yours to make up new, arbitrary, unwritten rules, as you like.

And I can't say I'll get weepy about that particular thread.

I'd say that misses the entire point, or at least MO, of trolling.

I say the following without regard to the comment stream that inspired this Housekeeping post (i.e., no one should read anything into this regarding my personal views):

The only thing less interesting than watching a troll at work is reading a dozen comments containing variations of: "You're trolling." "Am not." "Now that's trolling." "Stop feeding the troll." "Why are you feeding the troll?" "X is a notorious troll from troll.com." "Y invented trolling before trolling was cool, and I hear she got banned from trolling at notroll.com." Etc. Really, people. Just converse. If you don't want to converse with a particular poster because you can't stand them at the moment/on this subject/ever, don't respond at that moment/on that subject/ever.

Thanks, von.

I'm not aware of any provision in the posting rules that says that if three people, say, are trolling, everyone should be punished by closing a thread.

But, of course, it's your blog, and yours to make up new, arbitrary, unwritten rules, as you like.

Given that the conversation was going nowhere fast, and I'd rather not ban folks for making a stupid post in the heat of the moment (the only realistic alternative), I thought shutting down comments was the best route to go.

I'd rather not ban folks for making a stupid post in the heat of the moment (the only realistic alternative)

I'm going to suggest this again, even though nobody's listened the last five times I've suggested it (going back years now): disemvowellment. It's less punitive than banning, and it has the advantage that if you decide to, you can restore the vowels later.

Wow. A few completely self-serving front page posts about the war, with commentary that - all things considered - pretty politely points out just how revisionist and self-serving the posts are, and suddenly along comes a troll.

A faily well-known troll, whose minor cliam to fame is that he managed to get himself banned from one of the most free-form of the political blogs.

A very RW, dishonest, malicious, wholly-without-redeeming-value troll.

A troll who wastes no time reducing the level of commentary on ObWi with defamatory irrelevancies.

Why, it's enough to get von to actually shut down the comments!... which he does, but without actually banning the troll or, indeed, without actually calling the troll a troll.

Instead, von resorts to one of those false "both-sides-are-to-blame" cop-out, and tells everyone except the freaking troll to behave themselves.

Because we certainly don't know a troll when we see one.

And, lo, the first person to thank von for telling us to behave ourselves is.... the troll!

von, my hat's off to you. Seldom have I seen a more dishonest double-reverse responsibility-evading fakement.


Just converse. If you don't want to converse with a particular poster because you can't stand them at the moment/on this subject/ever, don't respond at that moment/on that subject/ever.

wonderful advice.

anybody know if DNFTT has ever worked, in the history of the internet?

anybody know if DNFTT has ever worked, in the history of the internet?

Pfff... no. I know of one troll who's been infesting the same newsgroup for at least 15 years now. No matter how often people say "DNFTT", people still respond.

Wow. A few completely self-serving front page posts about the war, with commentary that - all things considered - pretty politely points out just how revisionist and self-serving the posts are, and suddenly along comes a troll.

Casey, have you ever read a post on any blog from any poster that was not self serving? Anyone stand up and say: "I have decided that I will not disavow my opinions about X but will continue to hold to them as correct. Now, let me tell you why I'm an idiot who should be ridiculed ...." I mean, really: When Publius writes that Drum is wrong and he is right, it's a self serving post. When Hilzoy writes about what a stupid thing Trevino wrote, it's a self serving post. When Andrew writes about how foolish X is and how folks should change their ways to Y -- which happens to be his way -- it's a self-serving post. They're all self-serving posts. That's the point of a blog. Indeed, that's the point of communication.

And, lo, the first person to thank von for telling us to behave ourselves is.... the troll!

And here we go again.

Hi, Casey : )

disemvowellment

.... takes a very long time to do right. Time's at a premium, I'm afraid.

Hi, Casey : )

Is it just me, or did that seem mocking and provocative?

dpu. get used to it.

.... takes a very long time to do right. Time's at a premium, I'm afraid.

No. It doesn't. It's trivial to do programmatically; I know there's a plugin for Movable Type that will do it, and while I'm not certain that the same thing exists for Typepad, it's worth looking into. Worse comes to worst, you can always use this page to copy and paste.

Is it just me, or did that seem mocking and provocative?

The only way to determine whether it is would be to have all of us post on it, taking opposite sides and using increasingly-accusatory rhetoric.

On another subject, I'm looking forward to an all-Midwest Superbowl: Colts v. Bears.

It's trivial to do programmatically; I know there's a plugin for Movable Type that will do it, and while I'm not certain that the same thing exists for Typepad, it's worth looking into.

Perhaps to programmers (or those with any competence whatsoever in programming, a group that does not include me) ....

As I said, von, I pledge to not get into pointless arguments about who is a "troll" or what is or is not "trolling."


I recently did a poll on my sekrit livejournal account asking "What is the most-needed new font convention?" The "sarcasm font" won in a landslide. All we have to do is agree on a convention and World Peace™ will be ours!

may lean decidedly left of late

May?!? LOL.

I have, BTW, tried to encourage some right of center types I interact with elsewhere to participate here. Alas, they seem to prefer the echo chamber to having to defend their opinions on a blog like this.

On another subject, I'm looking forward to an all-Midwest Superbowl: Colts v. Bears.

Saints v. Colts would be better (especially cause Manning grew up in Nawlins' and his father is still a hero there).

Perhaps to programmers (or those with any competence whatsoever in programming, a group that does not include me) ....

There are plenty of programmers who read this site. I'm sure there are one or two who'd be more than happy to help as a public service. Or, like I said, you can use the webpage I linked to, which will do it for you. Then it's just a matter of copying the offending comment, running it through the webpage, and then pasting the output in place of the original comment.

"anybody know if DNFTT has ever worked, in the history of the internet?"

Yes. It always worked very well on rec.arts.sf.fandom, and reasonably well on rec.arts.sf.written, during the Nineties, as well as to some extent on a handful of other newsgroups I followed.

This is largely self-selection, though; if a newsgroup didn't have a majority of participants with a strong sense of community, and their responsibility for maintaining the community and its norms, it wouldn't be able to generally withstand the disruptive effect of trolls, and it wasn't a newsgroup that I would be hanging around in.

I certainly grant that such newsgroups were the exception amongst Usenet newsgroups, but, then, there was almost a practically infinite set of newsgroups, particularly if one includes the alt hierarchy, by the mid-Nineties.

However, in an unmoderated piece of the internet, DNFTT is the only effective way to deal with a troll; I believe it's still a key part, along with with that "everyone takes some responsibility for maintaining the community and its customs, according to local custom" behavior, of minimizing trolling, and its effects, even in places where moderation and banning are possible and practiced. (Particularly when moderation isn't rigorous, consistent, and quick.)

"Casey, have you ever read a post on any blog from any poster that was not self serving?"

Good lord, yes. Mostly I try to avoid blogs that go heavily into self-serving.

"They're all self-serving posts. That's the point of a blog. Indeed, that's the point of communication."

Disagree. Strongly. Endless numbers of posts are simply informative, and/or simply consist of posts with links to informative articles.

I will happily link to as many posts as is reasonable to ask for, that consist solely of linking to non-self-serving information, to demonstrate that your claim is factually, provably, wrong. How many will it take?

How self-serving is, say, Engadget, or The Lede, or Blogometer, or Cute Overload?

Here is a post on my front page about James Brown: how is it self-serving? Here on Jews and Christmas: same question. Here on geeky animals: same question. Here on tv during WWII: same question. Okay, that's three posts in a row, and I can keep going for, you know, thousands, asking the question.

(And do please remember that you asked for any post, ever -- it only takes a single post, anywhere, to falsify your assertion.)

"Indeed, that's the point of communication."

So if I ask a volunteer guide at a museum where the bathroom is, their point in responding to me is to be self-serving? If people are searching in a forest for a lost person, and they're shouting "Helllloooooo!," their purpose is to be self-serving? If I ask a police officer if she knows the time, her purpose in responding is to be self-serving? That's the only type of communication that exists?

I have, BTW, tried to encourage some right of center types I interact with elsewhere to participate here. Alas, they seem to prefer the echo chamber to having to defend their opinions on a blog like this.

Any speculation as to why this is the case? This is generally a moderate-tone place, today's embarrassing exception aside. Is it because there's a swarm effect, and too many liberal/left-wing commenters already?

Thinking about politics can be hard work. You have to think carefully and critically. Every single substantive post in the now-locked thread by Charlie had the effect (perhaps not the intention; I'm not a mind-reader) of making critical thought more difficult.

He defended the claim that the threat from Saddam could come in the form of a "mushroom cloud" by saying that conventional weapons and, yes, volcanoes can produce mushroom-cloud-shaped residue. This idea is utterly ludicrous. The result of reading it and trying to take it seriously is to push discussion backwards rather than forwards. There are two options here. Either (1) Charlie did not know the effect this claim would have, in which case his mental abilities should be questioned; or (2) he did know, in which case his interest in promoting intelligent discussion should be questioned.

Similar clouding (pun, sorry) of the issues occurred with respect to the question of WMD. "WMD" is already a term that makes careful thinking more difficult (as opposed to speaking clearly about the different effects of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons). Charlie took this one step further and started calling even conventional weapons and airplanes "WMDs" in the sense that they can cause destruction on a wide scale. This, again, is extremely unhelpful to anyone trying to think carefully. It introduces irrelevancies. It completely derails attempts to discuss whether or not Saddam possessed WMDs in the relevant sense. Once again, Charlie either knows that this type of rhetorical move makes rational thought and communication more difficult, or he doesn't know that. Either way, his presence is bad news for the rest of us.

I don't know whether he should be called a "troll" or a "bullshitter" (in the technical sense) or what. Whatever you call it, none of it is a useful contribution to debate. This type of obfuscation of issues should incur some sort of penalty. At least 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct and a bench warning.

jmho.

".... takes a very long time to do right."

Huh? It takes maybe five seconds to cut and paste into a program/web page. Do you think people do it by hand?

"Prhps t prgrmmrs (r ths wth n cmptnc whtsvr n prgrmmng, grp tht ds nt ncld m) ...."

You can't cut and paste? What sort of programming skill do you think is necessary to do that?

This is generally a moderate-tone place

That opinion is wholly in the eye of the beholder, dpu.

Yes. It always worked very well on rec.arts.sf.fandom, and reasonably well on rec.arts.sf.written, during the Nineties, as well as to some extent on a handful of other newsgroups I followed.

while i was typing my comment, i knew you were going to reply with an example; but i couldn't decide if you were going to answer with a newsgroup or with a BBS. :)

However, in an unmoderated piece of the internet, DNFTT is the only effective way to deal with a troll

i've never seen it work in places with any kind of traffic, it only seems to work where the community is basically static, and out of the way. otherwise, new people show up to participate legitimately, but end up FTT when one stops by ... and flame leaps forth.

What sort of programming skill do you think is necessary to do that?

Well, personally I'd like a GreaseMonkey script that allows me to keep both an ignore list and a disenvowelment list, but still display the comment page as-is.

Is this too much to ask? :-)

In other news, Sen Chris Dodd introduced legislation today making it illegal for Charlie to post comments on blogs without the explicit approval of the FISA court.

Developing.

That opinion is wholly in the eye of the beholder, dpu.

But this beholder eye visits a lot of blogs. I find it extremely moderate in comparison to most of the mosh-pits out there.

If it's in fact a rowdy joint, I'd really like to visit others that you consider more moderate.

Actually, Kent, I didn't defend that claim but was instead showing that it only takes a single other cause for mushroom clouds, anywhere, to falsify the assertion made on that thread.

Very funny, Davebo.

P.S. cleek -- thanks for telling me about this place ; )

Seriously, this is what we're left with at ObWi these days? For the sake of balance, I'll play the right winger, and promise to keep it substantive. But this is just illustrating the fact that it takes much longer to clean a bag of trash off of the interstate than it does to dump it out the window in the first place.

Actually, Kent, I didn't defend that claim but was instead showing that it only takes a single other cause for mushroom clouds, anywhere, to falsify the assertion made on that thread.

I can make little mushroom clouds in my kitchen with flour and a ball bearing. This, in turn, falsifies your counter-assertion.

For the sake of balance, I'll play the right winger, and promise to keep it substantive.

No offense, Pooh, but I think I'd make a great right-winger. Better, even.

So, linking to the New York Times and quoting from the U.S. Constitution is not considered "substantive" enough around these parts?

"but I think I'd make a great right-winger"

But how's your slap shot, eh?

My counter-assertion was that there are other causes for mushroom clouds than nukes -- how exactly is pointing out even MORE causes falsifying mime?

Seriously, this is what we're left with at ObWi these days?

What is the antecedent to 'this,' Pooh?

dpu,

My observation was more regarding the political slant of the commentariat than the general degree of mayhem in threads. Today's right and left begin from such different paradigms, effective communication can be daunting at best.

mime = mine

"but I think I'd make a great right-winger"

But how's your slap shot, eh?

I was thinking this kind actually. Dip of the shoulder and off I go...

I don't know if it's bad manners to get into this, but I do think it's worth saying that this --

The evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled, in part intentionally by Hussein who wanted to avoid letting the world know of the "paper" aspect of his paper tigerdom.

-- is almost as complete a fairy tale as the original WMD claims. Moreover, it's a fairy tale that was born and promulgated in exactly the same way as the WMD claims. Anyone who believes it has really, really, really, really not learned anything from the past four years.

What is the antecedent to 'this,' Pooh?

Who knows, something just seems...different today, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

So, Jon (S), the report ordered by the UN and criticized by Blix as incomplete was NOT prepared by Iraq?

"otherwise, new people show up to participate legitimately, but end up FTT when one stops by ... and flame leaps forth."

Sure, it's an imperfect process, and it doesn't work instaneously, and no, it won't work in a place where hundreds of new people are coming along every day, but that isn't the case here (and if this should ever get to that point, I, for one, would be outa here, for just that reason).

It can take, by itself, upwards of a week, or maybe even a bit more, sometimes, to be effective. But usually it only takes a couple of days, or even just an hour or so. And that's without being able to use the tool of banning IP addresses, although use of killfiles is helpful (but self-discipline will do the same job, if you have it).

It's entirely simple: the purpose of trolling is attention. Deprived of attention, trolls, always go elsewhere. And if they didn't, but no one replied to them, it doesn't matter.

I didn't follow the logic Von used in his post, incidentally:

Finally, I'm about as loose as they come among the regulars (past or present) when it comes to personal invective and Posting Rules violations. I've never banned a commentator. When I shut down comments to a post, it's probably because things are pretty out-of-whack.
It seems to me that shutting down comments is a vastly stronger, un-"loose," way of dealing with a couple of trolls, than simply banning them. By definition, if you shut down comments on a thread, you are affecting every single person who reads the blog who might want to comment. You are punishing dozens, perhaps hundreds, perhaps more, people.

If you ban someone, you are affecting one person.

Basically, to equal the unloose effect of shutting down comments, you'd have to have banned several hundred people. So how shutting down comments demonstrates a happier-go-lucky approach than banning individuals after a warning (especially when there's no announced policy about that sort of thing, so it doesn't only affect everyone who might have commented, but does so arbitrarily), I have no idea.

That it's a lot easier to do when you only want -- or have -- a minute to spend on the blog in question's troll problem, I do understand. But that's a different explanation.

My observation was more regarding the political slant of the commentariat than the general degree of mayhem in threads.

Ah, sorry, mistook the usage of "moderate." I meant that discussion and debate are more likely to break out here than at most places, and that it was therefore a more likely place to present one's views, whether dissenting from the mean or not.

Hey I'm a right wing troll at AngryBear, fun! :)

To avoid the charge of "no substance" (in case you really don't know who Hans Blix was):

During the Iraq disarmament crisis before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Blix was called back from retirement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in charge of monitoring Iraq. Kofi Annan originally recommended Rolf Ekéus, who worked with UNSCOM in the past, but both Russia and France vetoed his appointment. Hans Blix personally admonished Saddam for "cat and mouse" games and warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it attempted to hinder or delay his mission

In his report to the UN Security Council on February 14, 2003, Blix claimed that "If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament -- under resolution 687 -- could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Blix

JonS: ...is almost as complete a fairy tale as the original WMD claims.

I disagree. Hussein did block investigators a great deal, and while it's unlikely that he was trying to fool the world into thinking he had WMDs of some kind, it's quite feasible that he wanted the Iranians to at least consider the possibility.

Sorry, Gary, but I pledged above to not get into pointless arguments about who is a "troll" or what is or is not "trolling."

Andrew: "My observation was more regarding the political slant of the commentariat than the general degree of mayhem in threads."

Uh, hang on: you responded:

This is generally a moderate-tone place

That opinion is wholly in the eye of the beholder, dpu.

D-p-u made a statement about the tone here; you asserted that that was subjective. In response to his request that you name a blog with a more moderate tone, you say that you were referring to "political slant"; I'm sorry, but tone and political slant are two entirely different things; I suspect you may agree, upon consideration. No?

dpu,

No apology necessary. I probably should have used a more precise term.

But while it is true that more reasonable debate seems to be the norm here, the opinions rarely if ever change, so ultimately I can understand why some might choose not to bother. Being dismissed politely is to be preferred to being shouted down, but the end result is much the same.

"Hey I'm a right wing troll at AngryBear, fun! :)"

Note to all: do not taunt happy fun right wing troll Sebastian.

But while it is true that more reasonable debate seems to be the norm here, the opinions rarely if ever change, so ultimately I can understand why some might choose not to bother. Being dismissed politely is to be preferred to being shouted down, but the end result is much the same.

That's a pretty bleak view of things. I find that I generally become better informed about issues when they are discussed here, and even have my opinions dinged somewhat. I also find that I gain insight into the mindset of those with differing opinions than my own, which is always valuable.

If simply changing people's minds was the goal, I'd spend a lot more time just watching the Flintstones or House, and much less time on these internets.

Andrew,
In your experience, how long does it take for opinions to change? In mine, it's a slow accretion of experience, unless it is some sudden absolute shock to the system, like grabbing a hot kettle or nearly getting run over by a car, experiences that are not on offer here. You seem to be taking a universal human feature and making it a failing of ObWi.

I'm a bleak guy. Didn't you know? To throw back to von's earlier thread, I'm the dark one fondling his weapon in the corner.

Or am I the hooker with a heart of gold? I can never remember.

In mine, it's a slow accretion of experience, unless it is some sudden absolute shock to the system, like grabbing a hot kettle or nearly getting run over by a car,...

Slightly OT: Yesterday, while cutting up chicken, I sliced a finger. This morning, while chopping garlic, I put the knife-blade neatly into the same cut.

On the plus side, the son got hit by a car a few weeks ago. While mostly recovered now, he says he'll henceforth avoid getting hit by cars because it stings.

The moral is that he should be commenting here, and not I. :)

d-p-u and Gary:

For the record, in the locked thread, I did try to first simply inform those posters that there were other causes for mushroom clouds besides nukes. I didn't, right off the bat, post some exhaustive list and schematics. I still have yet to see anyone point out ONE single post of mine worthy of having me banned.

It's worth noting that a dedicated troll isn't half so destructive without an audience on the other side willing to set aside decency and restraint in the pursuit of him. The fact that a lot of us find Charlie a troll isn't license for others to piddle all over the rest of the thread, I don't think, and were it me, I'd ban "anti-trolls" as fast as trolls. The "but I'm right so I can do whatever I want" arguent is as damaging and repulsive in weblog comments as it is as presidential policy.

double-plus-ungood:

I disagree. Hussein did block investigators a great deal

Yes. But the motivation was fear for his own safety, not some kind of bluff. The Iraqi regime believed (accurately) that UNSCOM was infiltrated by US spies trying to gather information on his whereabouts and security personnel.

This is covered in the Duelfer report:

Iraq engaged in denial and deception activities to safeguard national security and Saddam’s position in the Regime...

* The IIS was determined not to allow UN inspection teams to gather intelligence at sensitive sites, which the Iraqis feared had been done in the past...
* Saddam was convinced that the UN inspectors could pinpoint his exact location, allowing US warplanes to bomb him, according to a former high-level Iraqi Government official. As a result, in late 1998 when inspectors visited a Ba’th Party Headquarters, Saddam issued orders not to give them access. Saddam did this to prevent the inspectors from knowing his whereabouts, not because he had something to hide, according to the source.

Interestingly, the incident at the Baath party building in 1998 was one of things cited by Clinton as a justification for Desert Fox.

Note also that in the buildup to war in 2003, the case was constantly made that Iraq was obviously hiding something -- but there was no mention that it might be something other than WMD. Even though the US spying had been thoroughly reported years before, it somehow dropped out of history.

So, Jon (S), you are retracting your assertion that "the evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled, in part intentionally by Hussein" is almost as complete a fairy tale as the original WMD claims?

lj,

While I was applying it to ObWi, I hardly see it as a failure unique to ObWi. I was simply offering a hypothesis regarding dpu's question.

Sorry, Bruce, but I pledged above to not get into pointless arguments about who is a "troll" or what is or is not "trolling."

BTW, d-p-u, saddened about your injuries -- as you said, it could have been worse -- glad to hear you and your son are doing well though.

Understood, Andrew, but I liked your 6:03 response better. ;^)

Anyway, I'm headed out the door right now, but will try and have a bleed off thread on TiO as soon as I can.

dpu: Any speculation as to why this is the case?

Speculation on my part, but I would say that they are just the kind of people who prefer spending their online time with those of similar views. There is debate and disagreement, but it is usually just a matter of degree, of fine points. This is not to tar any broad group, I’m just thinking of a couple of commenters whom I encouraged to join the fracas here. They just had no interest in it, and I get the feeling they wouldn’t even if it was a 50/50 split here.


Andrew: effective communication can be daunting at best
the opinions rarely if ever change, so ultimately I can understand why some might choose not to bother

Good points. To expand on that, I’ll just say that it is a lot of work to comment here. Some of that is the communication aspect. A lot of it is that I really try to avoid doing a drive-by.

What I mean by that:
If I see something interesting on a RW blog, I feel free to pop in and spend 5 minutes on a comment and be off for the day. It is not going to be very far out of line with the opinion of 90% of the others who may read it. Even if I have only a few minutes I can do that and not think twice about it.

I can’t do that here. One time in particular I did, inadvertently. I posted a comment early in the day, then a crisis broke out and I never made it back around that day. Later I discovered that there was a pile-on and back and forth that I was not there to respond to and the entire thread was pretty much queered.

So now when I want to comment, I resist unless I know I have the time that day to be able to follow up – I try hard not to do any drive-by’s. (Now that only goes so far – some of the regulars here seem to comment right around the clock. If you don’t see a response from me after say 10PM it’s because I am done for the night.)

Some of that is just communication. My opinions, being so alien to many here , may take several responses on my part to clarify. Some of it though is because I am in the minority – once I comment I may feel obliged to respond to the others who disagree with me, and often that can be a lot of people and a lot of responses.

So to me anyway – participating here represents a time investment, if nothing else.

I do know how you feel there. Before the war, I was one of the few vocal liberals on a forum with a lot of vocal conservatives, and would get into these arguments with four or five people all arguing at once. It's exhausting, particularly when you have the sense that if you don't answer someone's argument, no one else will, and then you've conceded that it's correct by remaining silent.

It's hard being outnumbered.

It's hard being outnumbered.

That's why God invented automatic weapons.

What's amazing is that aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall this fracas has emerged from the desperate attempts of the right wing -- in a meme that has spread faster than herpes at spring break -- to not admit they were wrong about things that they were, well wrong about. Really, really sad, when you think about it.

Actually, based on what Drum is saying, this one comes from hawks on the left.

That's why God invented automatic weapons.

Oh man - that made my day :)

Actually, based on what Drum is saying, this one comes from hawks on the left.

i first encountered it at Jane Galt... assuming we're all talking about the same fracas-meme.

So to me anyway – participating here represents a time investment, if nothing else.

Thanks, that was informative, and appreciated. There are one or two right-wingish blogs where I am among the minority opinion, so I can appreciate the difficulties.

Andrew: Actually, based on what Drum is saying, this one comes from hawks on the left.

Yeah, but look at who's taking it up and running with it here: one of the hawks on the right. (Though I haven't checked the batting table. Possibly Von bats center. I don't understand baseball, except where it's just like rounders.)

Also, I haven't noticed any hawks on the right standing up and saying "Yeah, we were wrong - Bush lied, and we should have realised sooner he was lying".

Do hawks stand up? Don't they take flight? Someone gave me a book for my birthday which includes answers to useful questions like why don't penguins freeze their feet, and why don't birds fall off trees when they go to sleep.

(i first encountered it at Jane Galt...)

yes, i suppose she was responding to libhawks. but she took it to a level all her own.

It has probably come from various sources. As I noted at my own place, anyone who supported the war has good reason to argue that their opinion should not be completely set aside in future discussion. This particular argument, on the other hand, seems about as useful as the attempts by those who were right to elicit endless mea culpas from those who were wrong.

Also, I haven't noticed any hawks on the right standing up and saying "Yeah, we were wrong - Bush lied, and we should have realised sooner he was lying".

How many hawk blogs do you read? As I mentioned in another thread, there have been some impressive mea culpas.

More, actually, than I noted from the liberal/left front over the Rather memo fiasco. Then again, less died in that one.

To me, much of the fun of a discussion is just the back and forth swordplay of ideas. I don't think that any one hhas to chhange their mmind inn order for the converaatio to be productive. The fun of thhe sword play makes it productive, plus one gains knowledge of other views.
About the people-who-were-wrong-on-the-war: I don't mind thhem beinng held up as opinion leaders if they realize thhat thheyy weere wronng. It does piss me off when the ones that are STILL wrong get presented in thhe media as worthy of our attention.

Maybe not endless mea culpas, but when someone who got important things spectacularly wrong comes around with suggestions, it's not really unfair to ask 'well, why should I follow your advice?' To which a perfectly fine answer is 'here are the three things that show that my current position is sound: [explains and supports on the merits].' On the other hand 'you're a whiner, I wasn't wrong at all' isn't an answer that's going to persuade anyone of anything.

The right to have an opinion isn't cast aside. Judgment is called into question. Indeed, when any of us makes a mistake, we'd be wise to call our own judgment into question.

my take is that Chait started it with a couple of columns in the Sunday LA Times which were pretty dismissive of those who opposed the war before it started.

but as best i can tell Chait is a charter member of the Beltway punditry, and is very concerned about the ability of bloggers to pull up old columns in just a few seconds and compare then to now.

This particular argument, on the other hand, seems about as useful as the attempts by those who were right to elicit endless mea culpas from those who were wrong.

i think some of it comes from the fact that the big name pundits and bloggers who got it all wrong have never had to pay any kind of price, while the people who got it all right are still missing from mainstream punditry. this is Atrios' "dirty fncking hippy" complaint. big-name pundits like Krauthammer, Kristol, Klein, Goldberg, Broder, Freidman, etc. - they're all still doing fine; apparently none of their management has stopped to think "hey, these guys are never right about anything... why not give someone who was right, one of those people we'd call 'anti-war', a chance ?"

and then you guys start telling us 'oh, you were only right by accident,' or 'you weren't specific enough,' or 'i don't remember hearing anyone say anything about X,Y or Z' - well, it pisses people off.

"I'd ban "anti-trolls" as fast as trolls. The "but I'm right so I can do whatever I want" arguent is as damaging and repulsive in weblog comments as it is as presidential policy."

I'm of two minds on this, but when I'm thinking with the one that agrees, I still can't help but notice that merely by commenting openly about it, you are joining the anti-anti-troll party. This comment, of course, is anti cubed troll.

My own feeling about the Obi Wi ideal of polite debate is that it's not really workable with some issues--that's why Obi Wi is so heavily dominated by one faction. Happily, in my view, the left. And even the conservative regulars here all agree that torture is bad and that Bush's war in Iraq has been a disaster. How friendly would we be if there were torture-defenders present?
(Perhaps there are.) Or, to take a different example, imagine how, um, interesting the I/P debates would be (which aren't exactly calm anyway) if people defending the Palestinian viewpoint also defended suicide bombing as at legitimate tactic (as I have seen a tiny handful of leftists do).

It's probably unrealistic to think that you can have a nice friendly debate about fundamental moral issues. Think of how the slavery debate turned out in the US--it might have been resolved peacefully, but only if the wrong side had been badly outnumbered. In fact, if you put too big an emphasis on civility what happens is that extremists who think slavery or torture (or in this case, preventive war) is vile and inexcusable are pressured by their more "civil" peers to moderate their opinions, or shut up altogether. Which, IMO, is what happens in mainstream political debate.


double-plus-ungood:

More, actually, than I noted from the liberal/left front over the Rather memo fiasco. Then again, less died in that one.

He wasn't talking about Rathergate, but:

Dick Cheney, May 30, 2005:

I think there's a special obligation on major news organizations, when they're dealing with what can sometimes be life-and-death matters, to get it right.

Not really the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe the black hole which from which no light can escape calling the kettle black?

Not to toot my own horn, but I did write a rather detailed explanation of how I came to change my position on the war.

If I can defend Truman dropping two nukes killing HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS, I can defend torture of one terrorist.

Jon (S):

Are you retracting your assertion that "the evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled, in part intentionally by Hussein" is almost as complete a fairy tale as the original WMD claims?

If I can defend Truman dropping two nukes killing HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS, I can defend torture of one terrorist.

By the same logic, one could defend the torturing to death of two terrorists. Or the children of terrorists, if need be. Or hundreds.

The comments didn't really seem that whacky.

Anyway, it really was black and white though there is lots of history re-writing underway trying to show otherwise. The UN could -not- find any weapons even though we claimed we were telling them where the weapons were located. The president was already a clear idiot and liar. Why tell stories now? You either thought - somehow - that there was magic the idiot-and-chief knew and you didn't and the UN didn't, etc. etc., or you thought that invading another country without good reason made no sense. That still looks pretty black and white. It still seems a pretty good test for judgement.

Don N.

I can defend torture of one terrorist.

Now you’ve done it. ‘Night all. Time to find a book to read I think.

That still looks pretty black and white. It still seems a pretty good test for judgement.

Just a guess, but I suspect this is a large factor in the continuing argument and the reluctance of many hawks to concede error.

OCSteve, I want to say explicitly that I appreciate your being willing to put the attention into follow-ups. I do notice it, and it does matter to me. Thanks.

Well, if I had to torture one terrorist to save a nuke from exploding over Los Angeles, I would do that.

When that situation comes up, Jack Bauer, you let us know. Until then, let the grownups talk and you go play with your Gameboy.

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