Here comes the ban hammer

Here comes the ban hammer April 19, 2012

I recently accepted a blogalog with a commenter named cl.  It has proven frustrating due to the endless and superfluous minutia of just trying to get a conversation started (such as demands that I define “evidence”).

I recently received an email from Adam Lee over at Daylight Atheism.

OK, so here’s the deal with cl: What he loves, more than anything
else, is to hear himself talk. He was a regular on my blog for a
while, back in 2009, but I ultimately banned him for persistent and
incurable trolling.

In the beginning, he seems like a civil and somewhat reasonable
fellow, but if his past patterns hold up, he’ll soon begin hogging
comment threads. He loves to write filibuster-length comments that
rarely, if ever, say anything substantive, and he posts them with such
frequency that other commenters will get exasperated and start
dropping out of threads that he shows up in. He also loves to nitpick,
to quibble about definitions, and to constantly complain he’s being
misinterpreted without ever saying what his position actually is.
Judging by your comments on Twitter, I imagine he’s already making
some of these characteristics clear. What finally drove me to ban him
was when he started bragging about how he loves being the center of
attention, as well as posting petulant demands for me to pay attention
to him when I stopped writing personal responses to what he was

Adam also pointed me to the post where he banned cl.

I also heard from another high profile blogger who banned him as well.  I trust both of these people and have seen the predictions Adam made coming to pass.  So I am dropping this blogalog.

I am also about to haul out the ban hammer.  I hate doing this.  I believe in allowing even the woefully inane have their place in the comments.  It’s the only way they learn.  I’ve only banned one person in my life (Bryan Goodrich).  I tend to not mind insipid commenters.  They serve as a reminder that religion makes nobody better (or, in Bryan’s case, that atheism is no guarantee that someone will be kind and/or reasonable).  Kind of ironic that the only person I’ve ever banned was an atheist…

I am realizing that even though I seldom wade into the comments (though I do read them all) and though no comment no matter how silly or denigrating really bothers me, that commenters like cl and the Goldstein group (Moe and his ilk) are a liability to a blog.  Their crime is not just contributing nothing to the conversation, their crime is also disrupting it for others.  The people who are not a pain in the ass who leave a thread because of their inclusion are too high a price to pay for leaving the forum open for everyone.  For this reason, if cl shows up and keeps up with his past pattern, he’ll be banned.  Ditto with Moe and his bunch.

Cl will undoubtedly conclude that this is because I fear his overpowering intellect.  I’d ask him to consider the situation.  He’s been banned from other atheist blogs, blogs written by people who, like me, allow religious commenters and who have a history of conceding good points when they’re made.  What are the odds that cl is just so much better than all the rest that we fear him versus the odds that he’s getting repeatedly banned because he’s annoying as all hell?

If cl returns to the blog to claim victory, I’ll let that comment stand even after he gets the ban hammer.

Seriously, if the best god can do for wanting a personal relationship with me is to send some guy who beats his chest and uses so many unnecessary polysyllabic words that only barely register as English that it alienates me and most of their audience, then both god and his messenger are lousy communicators.

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