Oy, enough with the poodles already

Sheesh. Another accidental, unannounced weeklong hiatus. Lately it seems Ryan Adams is putting out new albums more often than I'm updating this blog. At least this time the most-recent post growing stale on the page wasn't about my new shower curtain.

(And speaking of unannounced absences from the blogosphere, I was really starting to get worried about Fafnir, Giblets and the Medium Lobster, whom we hadn't heard from since April 4. Fafnir did say, in their comments thread: "Don't panic, we're not dead – the blog is coming back very soon." So my guess is Chris finally had the lot of 'em 302'd and they're plotting their escape.)

I owe a couple make-up L.B. Friday posts and the next couple of musings on Why Christians Hate Sex, and will get to these shortly. (No, really. Come on, don't look at me like that. I mean it this time.)

I spent much of the past week wading through and trying to clean out the Augean stables of the Delawareonline forums.

All such forums, like Usenet groups or empires, seem to thrive for a time and then to enter a steady, inevitable decline, taking on the character of the most obsessed and obsessive posters. In this case, the result looks like a case study for the kind of thing Orcinus is always warning us about. Seething resentment? Check. Constant steering of all topics back to race-baiting? Check. It's turning into the J.V. squad for Little Green Footballs and despite being allegedly "in charge" as "community editor/moderator" I'm not able/allowed to do much more than delete the most egregiously ugly individual posts, which tends only to produce even uglier retaliatory posts directed at me, by name, all of which is certainly creating for me a hostile workplace environment and generally eroding my faith in humanity/sapping my will to live.

OK, thanks for letting me vent. Now, where were we?

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  • Mithras

    Your readers from everywhere else in the world are wondering what “302’d” means.

  • Fred

    Oh, good point — that’s a bit Keystone-centric. Section 302 of the Pa. code deals with involuntary commitment. …

  • Linkmeister

    Thanks for passing along the FafBlog news, too. I’ve missed the insanity (and the pie!).

  • pharoute

    Glad you’re around Fred. I was being to think you got picked up during the NSA’s “Operation let your fingers do the walking through the phone records of media types you don’t like.”

  • cjmr’s husband

    Welcome back! May our comments here never deteriorate into self-parody. (tax the rich)

  • rm

    Yeesh! I clicked onto those DelawareOnline forums. Just the titles of user-generated threads are enough to give me the willies. Raving racist lunacy. You ain’t kidding about the Augean stables. I don’t have any constructive advice — there’s nothing to be done. I hope hearing a sane voice confirming that, indeed, that’s a poisoned well rather than a community discussion, might help you face the thankless task.
    Come to think of it, it makes me wonder if there are professional well-poisoners out there. I mean, do all of those threads come from local, independent citizens or are there hate groups making coordinated efforts to troll the discussion boards of newspapers?
    Only the Shadow knows. O, yes he does. O, yes he does.

  • rm

    Disclaimer: to be clear, a reference to a poem does not imply agreement with every stupid thing the poet may have said or written in the decades since the referenced poem was written.

  • mds

    Come to think of it, it makes me wonder if there are professional well-poisoners out there.
    Um, yeah. Check out the comment sections of a great many politically-oriented weblogs, and you’ll see some people that have no visible means of support for a lifestyle that apparently revolves around making numerous argumentative comments on every single post. TAPPED Online has Specialist, Ezra Klein has Fred Jones (and used to have Captain Toke), Glenn Greenwald has bart…It’s kinda like how Ahura Mazda and Ahriman are both necessary parts of the system. Or God and Satan’s odd relationship in the Book of Job. Or the way the Norse deities allowed Loki to kick around for so long, and even relied on him. Or how Green Lantern and Sinestro…Okay, that’s getting a bit off track. Anyway, it really does sometimes seem that many sites have people explicitly contracted to burst in and make a mess on the carpet in an attempt to keep others from having a civil discussion. (The name’s Jackson. Niels Jackson.) Back in 2004, there were frequent references to certain commenters sitting in a boiler room somewhere, collecting checks from Karl Rove. As if trolling hadn’t been an active amateur sport for years.
    You know, Gilmore Girls was really good once upon a time. Though, just to nitpick, I believe it’s “Oy, with the poodles already,” because that doesn’t make as much sense. Just because “oy” and “poodle” are both such funny words.
    “I don’t care if he’s in toy-poodles-on-parade hell.” See? Funny.

  • John H.

    I second the Fafblog worry. Although, whenever I go to their page to check aretheybackyet aretheyback yet, at least I get a warm glow when I see that the current post is still the Tom Delay one. Woo!

  • Axiomatic

    Professional Well-Poisoner…that would be an interesting profession.
    I wonder how it’d look on a greeting card.

  • cjmr’s husband

    So in the last two days we’ve seen “Professional Well Poisoner” and “Masturbation Counselor”. I dare say these are related fields.

  • Sarah Jane

    Okay, this is shameless self-promotion, but I recently suggested on my own blog that Christians have made an idol out of abstinence and totally missed God’s real intention for sex. Not sure if it would be interesting/helpful as you continue to pursue the “Why Christians Hate Sex” line of thinking, but since it seems relevant, I thought I’d offer it up for critique or inspiration.
    Here’s the URL: http://www.xanga.com/zarah00/485357836/a-wild-and-thundering-intimacy.html
    All right, sorry to clog up your comments with advertisements for an obscure and none-too-impressive blog. I’ll go away now. ;)

  • none

    In a related note, a recent (May 10) episode of
    “Future Tense” discussed chat rooms’ hostility to women.
    I’d go further and argue that chat rooms are, generally speaking, hostile to civil discourse — unless they have an active and empowered moderator or board of moderators. Any way you can get permission to do more active moderating (or have a board of volunteer moderators or something) to keep down the troll quotient?

  • Edward Liu

    Being the moderator of an internet bulletin board can be a remarkably thankless task. On a good day, you get to apply a firm boot to a porn spammer or some other comparable idiot. On a bad day, a member or 10 will decide that you and/or the entire moderating staff “hate us and are trying to get us” and “HATE FREE SPEACH,” when all we’re really trying (and mostly failing) to do is make them look like less of an asshat. Being compared to the Nazis or the Communist Chinese government is always a great way to start your afternoon.
    And that’s on a board that generally bans political discussion.

  • Axiomatic

    In a related note, a recent (May 10) episode of
    “Future Tense” discussed chat rooms’ hostility to women.
    tits or GTFO

  • LL

    I made the mistake of participating (briefly) in the Frank Rich forum at the NYT sometime last year (or maybe the year before that). Mostly a waste of time. This being the NYT, about 80% were hardcore Democrats (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and about 10% apparently thought they were striking a blow for the majority Republican government by calling NYT readers communists, liberals, various other meaningless and pointless “insults.” So, so tiresome, reading the insults back and forth between clueless Republicans and equally clueless Democrats. It was clear that many of these people had nothing better to do with their free time. But that’s what debate has become in this country. People don’t answer logic with a logical argument of their own. They answer logic with insults, and stupid ones at that, regurgitating something they heard on O’Reilly or read on Daily Kos. RE hostility to women: don’t know about that, maybe it’s just hostility in general, and most women have better things to do than sit there and type “I know you are but what am I”-caliber insults into a computer, so they just say, “Screw this, I’m outta here.” I could be wrong.

  • Axiomatic

    So basically the hostility to women is there because of the fear that the woman will bail out instead of engaging in a honorable duel of flames?

  • Doctor Science

    I thought of you-all while LMAO at The Interpretative Dance Theocrats, a “cheat sheet” to help confused secular Americans understand some key Christian terms. Especially:
    This is the belief among some Christians that, ever since Jan. 1, 2000, it has no longer been possible, in the words of the Prince song, “to party like it’s 1999.” Postmillenialists are those Christians who believe that it will always be possible to do so, while Amillenialists believe that in this context, “1999” cannot be understood literally, but must be read as an allegorical term roughly meaning “a time at which it is especially appropriate to party.”
    This was a #1 hit in 1980 for Blondie (#5 in the UK), from the otherwise underwhelming “Autoamerican” album. Many Christians now concede that the then-pioneering use of rap in the song sounds a little lame in retrospect. In their best-selling series of books about the song, “Left Behind (Parallel Lines),” Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye defend the rap verse’s hip references to Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy, and maintain that when Jesus returns, all believers will be united in accepting that Blondie’s cover of “The Tide Is High” is better than the original.

  • Mouse

    Fred, to put it bluntly, I think only a tactical nuke from orbit will save that cesspool of a message board.

  • canwetalk

    I am SO new to this blog business. I realize that what I have read is only the tip of the iceberg, but so far it appears that “liberals” have the same representation on blogs as “conservatives” have on talk radio.
    I know George Washington warned us, but I just wish some of these discussions were not considered a team sport… much as teen cheerleading is.

  • Duane

    When did talk radio become a discussion?

  • canwetalk

    Hmmm. Most talk radio seems to be as much of a discussion as most blogs. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

  • Duane

    When liberals are broadcasting 24/7 on talk radio, we’ll see if you still feel like its a discussion. In the meantime, go try to have a discussion on a conservative blog. They generally don’t allow comments (and when they do they’re likely to be censoring pretty heavily.)

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