Cesspool duty

I've spent much of this week cleaning up the online forums at the newspaper, a task I've come to think of as lifeguard duty at the cesspool.

We had a few months where this duty slipped through the cracks and the forums reverted back to a Hobbesian state of nature. It's still pretty ugly in there, but before this week it was really, really ugly.

Got an infestation of Angry White Guys with unlimited free time who managed to bully away most everyone else and turn the thing into a Know Nothing rally conducted by the AA farm team for Little Green Footballs. Some very vile stuff in there — with one major theme being that integration/affirmative action is leading to the decline of America because black people are to blame for everything from crime and drugs to the alleged decline of the public schools.

Ugly and stupid and loud. It's been a soul-sickening week of lifeguard duty.

Feh. I need a shower.

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  • B-W

    And, no doubt, when you perform your duties to clean up this filth, people start to scream “censorship”….
    Sometimes, I really hate humanity….

  • pecunium

    You have my deepest sympathies.
    It seems the lack of need to post a letter makes it so much more likely for the real nut-jobs and idjits to write them.

  • Stormed Blue Sands

    It’s things like this that make me wonder about the long term prospects for endeavours like Wikipedia. While I like the idea behind them and would like them to succeed, I’ve walked away from more than a few online forums in the past because of things being hijacked by a handful of idiots. I know, I know, Wikipedia is different, but while it claims that there’s an adequate balance to ensure self-correction, I’m not sure if it could really hold up to a prolonged effort by LGFers, their ilk, or even a more benign but still woefully misinformed group. The goal doesn’t seem to be to make or argue a point, but to be so obnoxious and offensive as to drive everyone who disagrees away and to declare the silence that results some sort of victory. It takes time to marshal a response to some loony assertion with a reality-based counterpoint, by which time they’ve moved onto something even more insane, and the effort seems less and less worthwhile.
    To paraphrase the Tick: Sanity is a one-trick-pony, but when you’re crazy, the sky’s the limit!

  • Stan Taylor

    Not directly related, but (hopefully) humorous…
    I worked for excite.com back in the boom years, on their ‘community’-related products (clubs, chat, IM, etc.). When a user created a new club, they had to indicate whether or not it contained adult content. Someone had to go through and look at every new club that did NOT have this flag to make sure that it did indeed not have an adult theme–and of course many of them did. We often hired college interns for this job. After her first week on the job, we asked one young coed how she liked her job. Her answer: Oh my god, I’ve seen things that I couldn’t even imagine! Another responded: no biggie, but it’s difficult/embarrassing to describe my summer job to my mother

  • Mitch

    it can be fun the other way, too. Me and some friends have had great fun at the discussion forums at http://www.al.com (that’s Alabama for y’all) until the censors start to delete anything to the left of a dixiecrat. But sometimes it’s possible to provoke the Alabaman’s inner racists out and get their posts deleted!

  • Res

    Yeah, but think of it like this: banning people like that from your servers is always one of the sweeter pleasures in life.

  • Roberta Taussig

    I know just what you need to brighten you up: a nice immersion in the brilliant prose and deep spiritual insights of Left Behind. Where is that second entry you promised us when you skipped out to explore being a good believer vs. being a good craftsman?

  • hilzoy

    Definitely: more Left Behind. I am jonesing.

  • 1truenick

    Here’s another vote for more Left Behind. I can’t wait to find out who Buck calls next!

  • Beth

    I know just what you need to brighten you up: a nice immersion in the brilliant prose and deep spiritual insights of Left Behind.
    At first glance, that sounds like jumping out of the cesspool into the sewer, but I suppose that compared to what you’ve been reading, even LB would seem like a pleasent diversion.

  • Aaron

    Good to hear from you Fred; glad you didn’t drown in there. I also have been looking forward to that LB post, but feel free to breathe as much fresh air as you need before wading into that particular cesspool.

  • Andrew C.

    1truenick – you are clearly deeply misguided in your understanding of the holy book (LB) – it’s not about phone calls, it’s about travel. The phone calls are scribal errors or intercalations not present in the original manuscripts (probably put there by papists. Or freemasons.). Travel is the true message, telling us how the world should be ordered, a metaphor for the righteous life.
    I sincerely hope you repent of your heretical misunderstandings so that I am not forced to declare you anathema maranatha. Probably we should dunk you in water to see if you are a witch. Can’t be too careful in these dangerous times.

  • eriol

    In the Oregonian’s Edge (human interest stories anywhere else), it was reported that a Nepali Sherpa crawled the length of Manhattan in six days. So L&J made an error in their writing, by saying Buck was trying walk across Manhattan when the time estimates clearly show he was trying to crawl. (Oops, I forgot that it was the fault of half-blind papists scribes that such a textual error was made).

  • julia

    jiminy hopping crickets. You poor thing. (I looked)
    Meanwhile, I thought this might cheer you up. From Prominent Christian Celebrity (and Left Behind movie star) Kirk Cameron:
    I wonder if Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye would ever consider writing a book called Stay Behind, about a group of Christians who would rather stay and reach the lost than depart and be with the Lord? I wonder if it would sell? I’m sure they could get the apostle Paul to endorse it: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh [stay behind] is more necessary for your sake. And convinced of this, I know that I will remain . . .” (Philippians 1:21–25a).
    woah, said I.

  • Dan Layman-Kennedy

    Just when you think you’ve seen everything – a call for Premillenial Dispensationalist Bodhisattvas.
    Whoa, indeed.

  • Scott

    Do you have a reference for the Cameron quote?

  • David K. M. Klaus

    The WOMEN and MEN fora on the old PC-Relay-Mail BBS network were infected by these types all the way back in 1989: obscenities, vile name-calling, references to early Rush Limbaugh broadcasts (their hero even before most of the country had heard of him), even threats of violence directed toward those who held their own in disputing the garbage.
    By the late ’90s many of the same names had appeared in Usenet, turning soc.men into their own little circle-jerk.
    I’m sorry that people like that have intruded into your professional life.

  • Harv

    Fred, nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor in the face of such anonymous insanity! I tried posting some to that message board – be curious to see if there is any response.
    In a related story, becasue I was bored I decided to post something on the “conservative” (they are not really conservative – just Republican fundamentalists) freerepublic.com boards. Basically I just called for them to have a somewhat rationale discussion of Cindy Sheehan as opposed to questioning her patriotism, suggesting her dead son must be ashamed, and hoping lightning would strike her. I also suggested that perhaps her protest of Bush might in fact be within the realm of protected freedoms, and that allowing dissenting views on a topic *might* be a strength of the country.
    Within one hour my post had been censored by the moderator; by the next hour my posting privileges had been revoked. Not sure which of the site’s rules my post broke:
    Free Republic reserves the right to remove any postings that are considered inappropriate. Examples of inappropriate posts are those that are off-subject or contain advertising, pornography, obscene material, racist material, bigotry, Nazi (or other hate group) material, materials promoting violence, threats or illegal acts, etc.
    Perhaps it was the “etc.”? As cesspools go, think it ranks right up there with yours.

  • Mr. Bill

    Scott, the Kirk Cameron quote is at sadlyno.com (its in the links to the right of your posting, curiously).

  • 1truenick

    Andrew C – In a larger sense, though, aren’t phone calls and chartered travel pretty much the same thing? In both cases, our heroes (but sadly, no she-roes) are attempting to connect with other humans. Whether Buck is walking through the M C Escher-esque streets of Manhattan, or whether he’s placing yet another call from a handy public restroom (Clark Kent prefers phone booths, but Buck is a toilet stall kind of guy), he’s still reaching out to humanity. (And, of course, he has to reach out for he has nothing within.)
    As to whether or not I’m a witch, well, of course I am. (“It’s a fair cop.”)

  • eriol

    Sorry for the irrevalant lame joke. What was fascinating about the post was the word image of being life-guard for a cesspool. Who would want to swim in a cesspool? It’s similar to Buechner’s definition of lust, “lust is the craving for salt of a person who dying of thirst.”
    Sick, screwed-up minds.