Friday, June 23, 2006

Trolls Anonymous

In spite of my sore wrists, this is too good an opportunity to miss: SDA and Celestial Junk have both just posted pieces on how to deal with trolls. I love Kate's title, "How to Talk to a Troll, if you must". Hilarious!! And Debris Trail has expertly pointed out the difference between respectful debate and deliberate trolling.

Since blocking three trolls from my site, I've received a series of outraged complaints (only from them though). At the risk of "feeding the bears" here is an edited selection without names so they can't get the payoff from their behaviour:

I wouldn't call what we're doing trolling. People post stuff that doesn't make sense, I, and others comment on it. If we're wrong, say so! So far, on Joanne's blog it's pretty clear that any serious criticism is dismissed with namecalling, etc..

Go ahead and moderate. You can even moderate this comment. But in doing so, you're validating what we're saying: that your blog is not a place for honest discussion. The truth shall set you free indeed.

You can even moderate this comment. I can? Gee, thanks! That's very generous of you.

Funny how you can call people trolls now, yet those you refer to are unable to respond directly to your accusations.

I guess you just got tired of having your stupidity proven to the world on your own blog.

Yes, that would be it for sure. Uh-huh...

I've never seen such a phenomenal lack of integrity. The fact that you say a Bible verse gives life to your blog is an insult to the Bible.

Basically, you're coming off as one of the stupidest people I've ever met, and I highly doubt that's true or that you want it to come off that way. But if you want to continue along that way, by all means. You're only hurting yourself and whatever eyes are unfortunate enough to stumble across your blog.

And the strange thing is how they keep coming back for more punishment...

These guys are clearly in denial. They need to look into a 10 Step program. There are some aids on the net from both a spiritual and secular perspective. There are even special support groups for trolls.

Personally, I think rather than ignore these poor souls we need to extend some sympathy and assistance. Therefore, I am starting a Twelve-Step Recovery Program for Trolls on Joanne's Journey. All guests can contribute. I may even allow some of the trolls' comments if it appears that they are truly trying to help themselves escape from this addiction. One major rule though: Please do not mention the trolls by name. It wouldn't be fair and moreover, it wouldn't help them with their recovery. Anyone else that feels they may be heading down this path to self-destruction is also welcome to share their stories. You can certainly remain anonymous. This is all about a place to come and feel safe.

The Twelve Steps of Trollers Anonymous

#1. We admitted that we were unable to control ourselves from attacking Joanne and her guests; that it had become an obsession - That we would wake up every morning wondering how to decimate each one of her ridiculous posts; that we were powerless to stop ourselves and it was taking over our lives.

O.K. Folks. Run with it. I'm going for the ice-pack.


davidson said...

certainly the blog owner has the right to ban people who are abusive or simply contrary for it's own sake. many partisan blogs (dippers and libs are just as guilty) spend so much time preaching to the choir that they lose the ability to accept criticism. political bloggers should expect frequent questions and strong opposition. if you simply wish to host a friendly forum where everyone agrees with each other, say so.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Davidson, I've never seen you do or say anything to classify you as a "Troll".

I welcome respectful debate.

Riley Hennessey said...

I hate trolls to. I define trolls as people who don't give a crap what you write, they just want to trash A.) Harper, B.) Joanne's blog or C.) Bush. It's usually one of the three on this blog and I'm putting Joanne in a category of world leaders! haha

Trolls just wax on as if they are the world's authority on how evil Harper is and it's usually just pure garbage. It's not debate they are after, it's a self-gratifying rant. ALSO, I notice most trolls refuse to back up any claims with something I like to call "evidence".

Problem with a lot of bloggers I find is that they are just posting their empty opinions with no thought, no analysis, and no possible alternatives. Trolls are the worst kind of these people and I fully support Joanne blocking their sorry butts and it's up to them to return. When I don't like a blog, I simply stop going to it... crike no one is making these trolls read this site!!! Go away trolls!

Three cheers to Joanne.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Thanks, Riley. I'm in the company of Harper and Bush now. Well, I'm not sure if that is a good thing, but I'll take it as a compliment. ;)

One thing the trolls did teach me, and if it gives them any comfort, I don't mind admitting it - It has made me somewhat more careful about thinking before I post; instead of just using the blog as a means for catharsis. Same thing with comments.

So therefore Trolls, if that truly was your objective, then you have achieved your goal, and should therefore be able to move on.

Thanks for the memories.

Joanne (True Blue) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joanne (True Blue) said...

O.K. Now before any trolls jump on the fact that I just deleted one of my own comments after saying that I am giving more thought to how I respond, let me just reassure you that it was a blogger problem and a double post occurred. Just so we don't go off on another indignant tangent.

Zac said...

Joanne, I think that these people who you refer to could easily just jump on under another name or be annonymous.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yes, they could but that wouldn't give them much glory.

Zac said...

You know Joanne, I have an odd inclination to sum this whole thing up - for what my lousy opinion is worth.

Did the "CA" go over the top? Sure, on occassion.

But, did you regulars do the same? Yuppers.

I've been pretty busy over the last little while, which is why your blog has been relativley free of my musings. Today I took a few minutes and read over the posts and read all the comments left by your resident trolls.

Frankly, they came out swininging, said some things that were rude, but from what I can tell they were always here to discuss things.

When they went of the top, some of your regulars did the same. Over the course of a 60-70 comment post, the whole thing degenerates into pointless name calling.

When for instance, one would say something it would be countered by someone like TJ, who would accuse one of them of eating shit. Now think about this....what would you do if someone accused you of such a thing?

(not trying to be rude and single you out Tango, but if you want to take that last comment with offence, be my guest)

Now, I know that some of your regulars, like TJ, don't like me very much and would undoubtably place a person like myself in with guys like the CA. I'm cool with that, I'm used to it, so I'm not expecting anything that I say to be taken that seriously. But if your going to ask for a sensible debate, extend the same to everyone who visits your blog. Civilized debate goes both ways, I guess.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, I'm somewhat surprised that you would defend this:

"Worse for Joanne, is that she has a bunch of cheerleaders who view her as an incredibly meaningful source. Okay, that's not surprising: doesn't the old saw go, "birds of a retarded feather flock together"?"

"...she is perhaps the stupidest blogger alive."

Zac, I have never used that kind of language. It's true that some threads degenerated into personal attacks and insults, and I don't intend to allow that to happen again.

We must be careful when fighting the monster, not to become the monster ourselves.

That being said, anyone who still wants to read a blog by the "stupidest blogger alive" is still welcome to do so.

TangoJuliette said...

First things first.

JoAnne True Blue:

A most very excellent call that you have made. * * * * * (that's my five-stars out of five.)

Bravo for the little things you do. Like freezing out the ones who, in contending with you, chose to be virulently vile in their personal attacks directed at you.


Please don't confuse my disagreement on issues, as being a case of my "not liking" someone. What I don't like, and what I disagree with very strongly, are belittling personal atttacks. That's when we stop playing nice-nicey.

My recent, quite public personal oddyssey wherin I "degenrated" into a low-life thug-like series of postings resorting to name-calling and identifying one specific person as an individual with what I would call "strange eating habits," is another case in point.

Your position seems to me to be another example of taking some text out of its original context.

My comments were levelled at the other kid, only after some rather strong give-and-take, between a number of blog-posters, then moved on to name calling being thrown in, followed with belittling barbs tossed in, reacted to by reprisals, and some escaltion, all of it culminating in one of the now-banned-"trolls," clearly expressing his preferences. I merely took his comments one or two steps further.

If someone, for whatever reason, chooses to lead with one's chin, they'd certainly be very well-advised to ensure that said chin is not connected to that sad part of one's anatomy known as the fragile, glass jaw thing-ee.

Mr. CrystalChin seemed to have forgotten that little rule. Zut. Quelle dommage!

I'd simply suggest that you go back and re-read the "transcripts" if you will. Read backwards from the first time I ever referenced the fellow's "strange tastes."

Look carefully at his pesonal, non-issue directed attacks on JoAnne, or anyone else for that matter. Retunring fire can be, must be, withering and devastating, otherwise, why bother.

Saskboy said...

Trolls are great fun aren't they?

Saskboy said...

Trolls are great fun aren't they?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tango, thanks. Spoken like a true soldier.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Saskboy, I don't know if I caused that double-post or you, but meh!

So you have had experience with trolls?

Jarrett said...

My favourites are the trolls who argue information that's simply wrong or has been proven.

For example, one guy on my blog argued that the West was responsible for Hitler because the reparations demanded after the Treaty of Versailles "caused" the postwar hyperinflation. I pointed out that, as a history major, I knew that the German government has recently released documents from the Weimar era proving that Germany actually triggered the hyperinflation deliberately. It was basically a way to screw their former enemies and collect pity.

Anyhoo, this guy did a Keith Jenkins - just started listing off a bunch of "and then this happened" historical facts, and insisting that he was right. There's no room for new evidence in that guy's mind.

Now imagine this on every single G.D. point of debate. The guy was like David Irving.

To top it all off, I concisely answered most of his comments on the most contentious thread (he went through and left his opinion on every post he could find, as if I cared!), and then had the nerve to tell me that I was the one who needed a life!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jarrett - Thanks for the laugh! It all sounds too familiar.

Mac said...

I think the next step of the 12 step program is going to be the hardest one... admitting there is a greater power than themselves. Perhaps we can modify that requirement to something less offensive to the trolls.

How about admitting there is an equally valid viewpoint which differs from theirs? It'd be difficult for them but who said life was easy?

Zac said...

Zac, I'm somewhat surprised that you would defend this

Joanne, I'm not in any way defending their actions. You know how much I like your blog and value your opinions. All I'm saying is that from what I read, it seemed to go both ways.

Considering you made some thought-prevoking posts with topics such as Caledonia and same sex marriage, a good discussion could have come from them but instead it degenerated into a pissing match.

All of your "trolls" seem like very intelligent people. They just need to understand how to approach things the right way.

I will admit that they started it, but it continues to go down hill when someone stoops to their level. At which point normal, civilized conversation cannot continue.

If you truly want the rational debate which you have called for numerous times, by all means enforce it but everyone has to be willing to participate with common ground rules in place.


I read all of your posts. Frankly, I'm pleased that you stuck up for Joanne when people were debasing the blog that she obviously spends so much time on. While I don't always agree with everything she says, I certainly enjoy going round-for-round with everyone here. Which is why I return. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment.

My point though Tango, is that your more intelligent to get wrapped around with people who lower themselves to the level of mere namecalling.

Leave it alone. When someone is acting like an asshole, sometimes to biggest statement anyone can make is ignoring them.

Perhaps I need to go back and re-read everything closer, but it seems to me that no one is really that blameless in any of this. Maybe I'm over stepping my boundries here, but that is what it looks like to me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Alright, Mac. That sounds good:

#2. Came to accept the possibility that another person could hold a different point of view and still be intelligent.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, what you say is true. That's why I made the comment about being careful when we fight the monster...

liberal supporter said...

Well everyone seems to be replying, in order to see if their comment is accepted, since it is not clear who you think the trolls are. I can only address the behaviour that would get someone escorted from my living room.

Sorry TJ, your scatological name calling is not excused by "he started it". Blake may be some young idiot, in your opinion, and though I saw insults to intelligence from him, I didn't see this kind of name calling.

I was surprised that he did not simply respond like the "fat and ugly" joke. As in: he can stop eating shit, but you sir, will still be full of shit. Yours appear to be the most disgraceful personal attacks and insults from anyone I have seen on here.

Omar got a bit out of hand earlier, but seemed to tone down more recently. He seemed a lot more readable on his own blog when I visited a while back.

Blake seems opinionated and boastful, but has had some interesting ideas. He could tone down the rhetoric, but should still challenge Joanne when he thinks she's wrong about something. I give him a lot of respect for posting under his real name (and I believe that it is his real name).

As for other trolls, I haven't really noticed them, I don't pay it a lot of attention. Usually they end up talking to themselves.

Joanne, if you want to post without thinking something through, just say so when you do. If you are playing devil's advocate, you can say so up front, or wait till someone asks "do you really think that". Nobody should automatically pounce on you. If someone disagrees, they should say so. They should stick to the opinion presented. We can see a shrink if we need to be psychoanalyzed. Unless they are psychiatrist MDs, they should not be giving medical opinions.

Recall sometime back, I was suggesting looking at Caledonia as a labour dispute. It was not a fully formed position, more a trial balloon. There was some discussion, but it kind of petered out. That's how it should be. Once in a while we come up with something useful and a reasonably respectful atmosphere fosters that.

liberal supporter said...

Here are some examples from "when insults had class" !

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -
Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston
Churchill (About Clement Attlee)
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring
a friend... If you have one." - George Bernard Shaw (to Winston Churchill)

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with
great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to
the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book;
I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I
know." - Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." -
Groucho Marx

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
- Charles, Count Talleyrand

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I
approved of it." - Mark Twain

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." -
Oscar Wilde

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." -
Oscar Wilde

Zac said...

That's why I made the comment about being careful when we fight the monster...

Perhaps the monster lives in all of us.

Red Tory said...

Stupidest Blogger Alive? Sorry, I think you're going to have to take a number for that dubious award. Jonah Goldberg is waaaaay ahead of you in line.

Mac said...

The third step won't be easy either. Traditionally, it is to seek a sense of wholeness and contentment with life by letting go of problems.

As we've seen, trolls aren't generally content. Even if they walk away from their pernicious activities, they still bear their anger and frustration with them. This could be the hardest step for them to make.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Even if they walk away from their pernicious activities, they still bear their anger and frustration with them.

Mac, that is really true. I did a little digging into that secular 12-step site, and found this:

You start noticing how you tend to have knee-jerk reactions to certain situations - how it happens so fast that you weren't even conscious that there was any possibility of doing anything different. Noticing this, you become more aware that you have a choice of how to react in these situations.

Anger does seem to be at the bottom of it. And anger, in and of itself is not a bad thing. I think I had this discussion with Red Tory. The thing is that anger needs to be used in a constructive fashion, in order to change things for the greater good. Perhaps the trolls truly believe they are doing that. But they seem to have left a lot of collateral damage in the wake of the mission.

So, to sum up, I propose

#3. We made a decision to try to improve the world for the greater good in a manner that is respectful of others; all the while being mindful that our concept an ideal world may in fact be different from others'.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sorry, I think you're going to have to take a number for that dubious award. Jonah Goldberg is waaaaay ahead of you in line. RT, I'll have to check that out. Maybe I can learn something. I want that title! It's mine, and darn it, I deserve it!!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. Thanks for the laughs. I think I like the first Oscar Wilde quote the best. ;)

Reform-A-Tory said...

Long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I have to say, this Blake guy seems like a total jerk in many regards. But he don't lack for balls. I think liberal supporter and I have a rare agreement there, because he uses his name, and his blog is from his amateur radio callsign - va3svd. And his name is listed under his callsign with Industry Canada, and you can find his name and home address here. Now, jerk or not, he put himself out there, name and all.

What I want to know from tangojuliette is, if you're calling him cristalchin and stuff like that, why dont you go over to his blog and try that? I've looked, and haven't seen nothing from you. He also yacks a lot how he hangs out at If you think he's really that easy to take, go over there and call him out. Your not very brave to call him that on a place where hes been banned when you have the chance to take him on on neutral turf and don't.

My $.02. Whatever. Blake's not a guy worth losing sleep over, but if you think he's so easy to take, do it. Don't sing it, bring it, as they say.

Joanne (True Blue) said...


Sorry about that. Just wanted to get the word out. :)

Um, I agree with you on a few things here. I had a little trouble deciding if I would allow your comment because of what you called Blake. Really trying to get away from the name-calling.

O.K. Here's the deal. I'll let one of the three outcasts back on the island to present their side of things in a reasonable debate. And the one I choose is Dirk, because in going back through the comments, I realized that he really didn't say anything that was an actual personal attack unlike the other two.

So, Dirk, if you're reading this, post a comment about how you're feeling, and as long as it doesn't contain any nasty words or insults, it will get past the gatekeeper.

And reform-a-tory, thanks for weighing in on this. And yeah, anyone who wants to debate Blake should please take it over to his blog. That would be great. Really good idea.

Red Tory said...

Joanne -- I was going to add, "but do keep trying..." however I thought you might not take kindly to it. ;-)

Besides, that award is MINE!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

RT - I can take a little sarcasm, no problem. But some comments crossed that line, and were more in a mean-spirited put-down context (not yours). You are a challenge; but not an unwelcome one.

Mac said...

I disagree with the whole "go kick sand in their sandbox" concept. It seems to me that's endorsing their behaviour... or emulating it.

Joanne didn't go into someone else's blog and start raising a ruckus. Tango-Juliette didn't seek the trolls out. The trolls came here, looking to mock and deride.

Does anyone honestly believe the trolls would suddenly become polite and respectful if you go to their blogs?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

It seems to me that's endorsing their behaviour... or emulating it.

Or enabling it. Right as usual, Dr. Mac. It just feeds the addiction. Good point.

Step #4. Honestly faced up to how my actions affect others, without being defensive, and making excuses.

Havril said...

I really don't see what all the fuss is about. I mean... trolls?

Zac said...

Does anyone honestly believe the trolls would suddenly become polite and respectful if you go to their blogs?

Have you been to their blogs Mac?

reform-a-tory said...

Look, tangojuliette won't go over to Blake's blog because he knows he'd get eaten alive. So would mac. So would anybody here. Look, like I said, he may not be the nicest guy you'll ever meet, but hes no dummy. I hope Blake realizes that its one thing to smack somebody down in a debate, but to win people to your side you've gota be smoother.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Have you been to their blogs Mac? I have. Trust me it isn't worth the keystrokes (IMHO).

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anyway, duke it out at

Neutral ground is a good idea. I don't want blood and gore here.

Mac said...

Have you been to their blogs Mac?

Yes, Zac, I've been to their blogs. I've even been to your blog!

When I see someone who appears to be trolling, I don't assume such is the case. I often follow through to their blog and see what type of threads and posts I find therein.

A couple of times, I've been shocked by the graphic nature of the threads... and I'm not prudish.

Reform-a-tory, I'm not concerned about being "eaten alive" by Blake or any other blogger since this is, after all, only blogging.

If anyone wants to slag me on their blogs, knock yourself out- it won't be the first time or last- but don't expect me to come running to read it. I've got better things to do with my time. I don't define myself by how others think of me. I'm not here to impress anyone or to brag about my brilliance. I'm just a regular guy who likes to read and discuss the issues of the day.

Trolls don't want to engage in discussion. They post for reaction. They strive to offend. They bleat about intellectual honesty and bemoan a lack of balance but they offer nothing of substance. They are the virtual equivalent of schoolyard bullies chanting "I know you are but what am I?" over and over again.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said, Mac. I think you've summed it up. We probably don't have to finish the 12 steps. If they want to help themselves, they know what to do.

TangoJuliette said...

Dear reform-a-tory:

Your unsolicited and unauthorized comments, ostensibly made on my behalf , are extremly presumptuous, and not in the least bit welcome. Ostensibly regarding my personal motivations regarding my participation in someone's blog, or not, fearing that I "would get eaten alive" is laughable in the extreme.

I have had my engagement with the blog-meister in question. I engeged with him on neutral grounds. The engagement was over his perfidious attitide, and vile, demeaning tone. He pushed. I pushed back. He cracked when he said that he preferred day-old human excrement rather than me. That was my opening and I drove in on it.

He's gone. I'm done. This round is over. I've given this individual full credit for great smarts. Low scores for wisdom. Hopefully that'll come. But I'm not out to teach people manners.

If I ever want to deal with him again, on any matter, I shall do so, at a time and at a location of my choosing ... on issues that might be of some serious relavence to me, thank you very much.

ATTENTION ALL BLOGSTERS, TROLLS, LURKERS AND PEEPING TOMS & TOMMAISNAS: Please, PLEASE, PLEASE! Let this brief missive serve as my formal declaration that anyone working under the nom-de-plume/nom-de-guerre of "reform-a-tory" or any orther such handle emanating from his e-mail site, is not authorized,nor has ever been so authorized, by me, to speak on my behalf, on any issue, in any forum under any circumstances.

I did what I felt I had to do, when I felt it had to be done, in the way I felt that it should be done. No apologies. No excuses. No deflections. I own it. That's my plea. That's all there is to it. I'm done.

\Thank you very much.


L.H. &K.


TangoJuliette said...

dear lib supporter:

if think I was bad, you should thank your lucky stars that I didn't pull out all the stops and give the lad The Full Grit Pile. Which is where I learned to fight dirty in the first place. I grew up in Gagliano's riding, knew some of the Cotroni Family.

Some of my early political mentors, all libs, thought that they were even dirtier than some of the WWII vets that taught me hand to hand combat in the early sixties.

Close. But no brown envelope.

For now, anyway, you can call me "Mr. Anything But a Liberal Supporter!"



probably shall post more when I get back home from this road trip.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Tango and everyone else who contributed.

I'm going to close it off now, which means I won't be allowing any more comments through to this thread (by anyone).

Trolls, bears, whatever they are, they're not worth the effort.

kelly said...

it doesn't matter at all about the trolls they are vermin and will live on