Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Far Is Too Far With Anonymous Posting?

One of the greatest things about the internet is also one of the worst things about the internet: anonymity. Anonymity allows people the freedom to say their most truthful and deepest thoughts without fear of social sanction. But it also makes it too easy to express vicious and hateful thoughts and to try to manipulate others. To combat this, people have adopted various tactics -- everything from deleting anonymous comments to the creation of fake posters to refute the haters. But how far is too far?

The incident that raises this question involves Scott Adams. Adams, for those who don’t recognize the name, is the creator of the comic strip “Dilbert.” Adams, who describes himself as a “libertarian minus the crazy stuff,” found himself in trouble in March of 2011 when he wrote a blog post on the topic of men’s rights after his readers suggested that be his next topic.

In typical Adams style, Adams relied heavily on sarcasm as he suggested that men treat women differently for the same reason men treat children or the mentally handicapped differently, i.e. because it is an effective strategy. He then suggested that men should take the path of least resistance when dealing with women. This generated significant outrage both from men’s rights advocates and from feminists, neither of whom can take a joke.

Adams eventually deleted the post after pointing out that people had failed to grasp his use of sarcasm and satire, and he wrote that this furor showed that it was impossible to “have a rational discussion on any topic that has an emotional charge.” But that didn’t end the problem. Following this, Adams found himself subject to repeated nasty criticism on the internet by anonymous posters. Adams responded by creating a fake person (called a “sockpuppet” in internet parlance), who would visit sites like Reddit and Metafilter pretending to be a fan of Adams and would defend Adams. Eventually, he was caught, and in April 2011, he confessed. This unleashed ferocious criticism of his tactic. But was he unjustified?

This is an admittedly complex question and answers that appear clear at first glance turn cloudy very quickly. For example, in general, we shouldn’t condone fraud or deceit. Pretending to be someone else is classic fraud. But then, the entire internet is anonymous, and why should we condemn Adams when we don’t demand to know the identities of the equally anonymous attackers?

Also, if our concern is just his pretending to be someone else, then he could fix that by hiring someone to defend him -- like a public relations firm. But that’s the same thing we call fraudulent when a salesman does it by planting a shill in the audience to talk up their product. So isn’t that just swapping one problem for another? Or should we factor in the difference anonymity makes today? In the past, you had to make your claims in person, which toned them down and gave people a person to judge the allegations against. But not today. Today, people have the power and right to slander you without ever disclosing their real names, much less their motivations. Shouldn’t that grant some leeway in how people choose to fight this threat?

Of course, we should also point out that people should know not to trust what they read from anonymous sources. So caveat reader seems to be the order of the day. But do people really get this? I can tell you from experience that the perception of independence matters, even when it’s a false perception. For example, we’ve seen that a link posted by one of you at Big Hollywood will consistently drive many times the amount of traffic to our site that the same link posted by one of us would. Yet, those visitors have no way to know if any of you is real or if you are just Commentarama sockpuppets. So clearly, there is something to the idea of an independent recommendation that people find attractive, even when there is no way to confirm the independence.

But before we start advocating some new rules, we should also ask: does it matter? Sure, humans tend to believe far too much of what they read. But most of the criticism found on the net is just subjective opinions and falls into the “he said, she said” category which people tend to ignore. Moreover, if either side pushes too far into truly damaging statements, then readers start to suspect a motive. . . that’s how Adams got caught and how the Washington Redskins got caught when they did the same thing -- they pushed too hard in their own defense. Also, massive organizations like Media Matters regularly flood comment streams with pro-leftist posts today, but the public still has turned against Obama and the Progressives. So maybe this type of attack just isn’t very effective?

Ultimately, maybe this whole issue comes down to a bit of a contradiction. For example, I find that I cannot condemn Adams for wrongdoing. He has the right to defend himself. He did nothing more than use the same tools used by his critics to attack him. And he never left the realm of subjective opinion into making false claims about the physical properties of products, i.e. the kinds of things I would see as fraudulent. But at the same time, I can’t condone what he’s done either as it feels dirty. And I have to wonder if maybe the best policy when faced with this kind of attack isn’t simply to challenge the anonymous posters under your own name? People respect that and they tend to give instant credibility to the “known” entity over the unknown attacker. So maybe, the answer was there all along -- Adams should have just stood up for himself as “Scott Adams”?

What do you think?

50 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

It strikes me that caveat reader is the libertarian and conservative "freedom" way. "Control" is the liberal/socialist way.

One can't yell fire in a crowded theater, but I don't want anything geared towards those who are intellectually or emotionally unable to deal with it.

Tennessee Jed said...

Another thought, Andrew. People here know me as Tennessee Jed. You happen to know my true identity, but no big deal. My guess is, though, if someone started posting using my TJ identity, it wouldn't take you or most of the other regulars very long to determine it was a fake since you tend to know my style and how I think about most things. I can't prove that, but think it to be true.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I feel conflicted about this as well.

On the one hand, sockpuppeting can be a clever tactic. The best examples are the websites where regular commenters do it on and off for comedic effect. For example, "What's wrong, Osama? Not what you expected?" (Posted by: 72 virginal demons) Or when Bev does the "Management" thing to get after me for shooting kittens in the face. So there are times when there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Well, except when I do it, because I'm an abject failure at disguising my style and tone.

On the other hand, regarding the kind of posting Adams was doing (didn't know that about him; kinda cool), the point has been made that if you do this sort of thing long enough, you have a genuine online identity based on whatever moniker you made up. In that sense, I think there is a way in which the kind of sockpuppeting Adams was doing can be considered fraudulent, or at least not on the up and up. I don't feel it's a big deal in this case, because he was genuinely trying to get his side of the story across, but when you're doing it merely to spread chaos, antagonize people, and/or shamelessly plug your own site, then it gets to be a problem.

StanH said...

We must compete on the battlefield of ideas as we find it, not as we want it to be. My very first blog comment was on BH, I believe 2/1/10, and I learned very quickly that most trolls and anonymous comments, were and are dubious, and many times the same person using a different avatar and name. In my ignorance, at first I attempted to debate these idiots, quickly finding this made me the dupe. Understanding this fact allows the proper response, “point and laugh.” As far as it being fraud, slanderous, etc, yes! …in the real world, on the internet however, it’s the nature of the beast, either except it or retreat. Thoughtful expose’ Andrew, but this ship has sailed.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The web is pretty much a free for all, so I think the libertarians have de facto won. LOL!

That said, I think with rare exceptions, these anonymous attacks work. The exception is when false facts are being said -- like in product reviews where people start making claims of things not working. And I think that despite the fact the net lets people act in truly nasty, childish ways, its still the adults that earn the respect. That's why I think Adams would have done better standing up for himself than trying subterfuge.

Also, I think Adams walked into a bit of a trap here because he let his emotions get the best of him. For the most part, internet criticism is pretty irrelevant as few pay attention to what is said. But by getting involved and then getting himself caught, he did a lot of damage to his reputation which never had to be done.

Also, I'm a big advocate of using humor against the children of the internet because nothing defuses a childish tantrum like a display of condescending humor because it demonstrates the powerlessness of the attacker.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, a couple points.

First, I think being anonymous and giving your real name are not necessarily the only two positions. I'm using my real name, you aren't, but we both have an established web identity. In even though you are known as "Tennessee Jed," that has still become a recognizable person to our community.

Secondly, I think you're right that it gets very easy if you pay attention to similar styles, similar use of words, etc. to see if two "people" are the same person. People really do give themselves away quite easily because they don't realize how uniquely they tend to come across and how hard it is to change that when they try to pretend to be someone else.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I agree, I think this is a difficult question.

Clearly, the use of fake id's can be used for fun or even other useful purposes. And it can definitely help when going after trolls because it gives you a lot of flexibility to mess around.

And it is very hard to condemn Adams for fighting back against people who are making unfair attacks on him anonymously.

Plus, there is something hypocritical about saying "if you are a known human, you better not try to travel the net anonymously when everyone else has that right."

But it also feels dirty when people are doing it for anything not-lighthearted, and I think you run the risk that if you are exposed, people will not take kindly to the deception -- as Adams found out.

I can see reasons why Adams wouldn't want to roam the web refuting all the idiots he could find in his own name. But I also wonder if it was even wise to bother refuting the idiots unless they had cross the line into saying things that were harmful. I guess where there is a possible economic harm, this might be more necessary?

All in all, I find it very interesting that I really can't come down on either side in this, i.e. right or wrong. So I guess this is a true ethics gray area. Still, whether it's right or wrong, I think Adams would have been smarter to have either done nothing or to defend in his own name.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, A more malicious example involved a professor from Arizona who lost his job when he was caught leaving nasty reviews of competitor's books at places like Amazon.

And it's pretty clear that some companies go out and leave nasty reviews of their competitors on the web.

I see those things as wrong. But not as wrong as if they left good reviews of their own stuff I guess (though I still don't like the idea of people leaving fake positive reviews of their own products). So maybe the question is, "are you using it to defend yourself or attack others?"

JG said...

For the main subject, I'm in the same place you are. I understand why Adams did that - goodness knows I've also been the victim of the lack of vocal inflection on teh interwebz - but I guess I just can't see handling it that way. It does feel skeezy and like cheating, somehow. Not to mention, it violates the (my) #1 rule of blogging: Don't Feed the Trolls. By going around and responding to people, it's throwing fuel on the flame. Now, for someone in Adams' position, maybe it's a double-edged PR move: getting his intended message out there while at the same time raising his profile. But personally, I can't see doing the same.

As far as anonymous commenters in general, I don't accept anonymous comments. I delete them. Call me what you want, but the military blog community - and particularly milspouse blogs - have their own brand of trolls, and I'm not going to A) let someone put that kind of crap on my blog that's more than just a difference of opinion, it's pretty ugly fiction and B) leave it there for other milwives to read and get upset over. It's a very reactionary crowd, and the trolls know that. Nothing gets you more attention than picking on an already emotionally compromised 20-year-old. I'm not going to be a platform for that.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree, I think this is just thinking out loud. Unless we want the government to force a single "web id" on us, we just need to get used to the idea that this will happen. And that will never (and should never) happen.

So no matter what the morallity of the issue, people will learn the benefits of these tools (e.g. anonymous posting) and will use them for ever more purposes, good and bad.

Still, for a guy like Adams, you see the consequences where he has turned a minor issue into a PR disaster that's been written up and seen by many thousands of people who never would have even seen the anonymous comments or thought anything about it.

Ed said...

Interesting post Andrew with much to think about. I don't have any answers either. I feel bad for Adams, but I also feel like he should have been the bigger man and ignored the anonymous losers. Good question.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I was born with the official name LawHawkSF (in Chicago, for some odd reason). My parents were a little strange. If you don't believe me, I'll produce a handwritten birth certificate without an official clerk's seal to prove it.

In reality, of course, being a conservative in San Francisco was about as popular as being a skunk at a picnic, so when I started blogging, I decided it was easier to avoid nasty comments and "you're fired" comments from clients by using an alternate identity. I posted a lot at the San Francisco Chronicle [SF Gate] site. Anonymity made it easier to make a point without having to deal with unrelated local, personalized anger.

It just became habit, and it never seemed to require my changing it, even though the reasons for doing so are no longer operative (I'm safe in Caliente, LOL). So just for the record, I was born Lawrence Hawk, and I practiced law in San Francisco, so "LawHawkSF" almost created itself.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's why I brought it up. My first reaction when I heard about this didn't last when I started thinking about it, and then I realized I couldn't quite make up my mind. It's an odd issue. And while it seems wrong to say that it's ok to pretend to be someone else, it also seem wrong to say "hey, you have to just let other walk all over you." This one's a tough one.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I demand to see the long-form certificate! If it's a mere "Certificate of Live Birth," I refuse to believe you.

Funny how things work like that. One of the useful things about the blogosphere is it doesn't require a lot of creativity to obscure your identity--it wouldn't take a rocket scientist, for example, to guess what my real first name is, and yet that doesn't really narrow it down much. And I never would have guessed "LawHawk" was that much of a play on words. In a lot of ways, the "hiding in plain sight" thing is just easier, because otherwise you have to have a bunch of code names to keep track of.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I think rejecting anonymous comments may eventually become the norm. I see that BH no longer allows it either. And some places are even forcing people to make a certain number of positively rated comments now before their comments will appear. All with the idea of stopping trolls.

Trolls really are a scourge because they're vile little creatures that look to validate their own little lives by getting a reaction from others, and thus they are difficult to deal with -- especially because it's very hard for people to just ignore them. And I can image it's nearly impossible for your community to ignore the internet equivalent of the Westboro idiots.

So I have no problems with website deleting their comments or refusing anonymous comments. We don't have a serious problem with them here for some reason, so we haven't had to do anything like that.

On Adams, I can see why he would want to do that, especially if he thought it was hurting his readership or his relationship with newspaper syndicates. But it wasn't a wise move. I've found the best thing to do with these kinds of people is to force them into the light, where they tend to wither and die. In fact, several times I've had my articles linked at leftist sites where people started talking shots at them. . . until I posted a comment to the effect of "if you really think I'm wrong or I made up my data despite the direct links to the Dept. of Labor, then why not come debate me in person, why hide in the shadows over here?" That stopped them cold.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I actually don't equate what you are doing with posting anonymously. You've adopted an internet personality, and that's the same thing as a real life personality in many ways. What I'm talking about is what Adams did, where he was Scott Adams for most things but then adopted a fake name to go defend himself in other forums. The Washington Redskins did the same thing. It would be like you being Lawhawk, but then also being SFLH or something like that and pretending that you aren't also Lawhawk.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, For the record, my real name is actually Bob149237. I just thought "Andrew Price" sounded better! ;-)

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: Are you questioning my patriotism? My legitimacy? You birthers drive me crazy. I ask you to trust me, and you don't. Could it be that "trust me" is lawyerese for "screw you?" LOL

Andrew: I knew what you meant, and your point is well-taken. I think I was starting to feel guilty hiding behind an identity that no longer served a purpose. On the other hand, when Bev suggested changing SF to RFD, it was just too funny and appropriate to ignore.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I like the RFD, I think that's really funny! :-)

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I have had to deal with trolls from time to time. I don't hold it against them that their parents came from the same womb and were fed a steady diet of lead paint while growing up. Things happen. It just happened to them.

I don't hold it against one who does sock-puppet because I should be able to defend my position even if the idiot I am arguing with has twenty puppets refuting me. I don't hold it against a person for creating a sock-puppet to extoll the virtues of their products. A person believes in his products or is trying to defraud the world and the world now-a-days catches on quicker. I do think that comments should not be deleted willy-nilly like some are now because the "online-community" is offended.

Anonymous comments are just that. A person not willing to back his or her reputation to what they are saying. That includes the online name. Easily ignored.

I use my name because I don't want to clutter my mind up with a lot of passwords associated with certain names. If I had a perfect memory, I could, but my points would not have as much power. I would have to spend way too much time, sock-puppeting as well.

I think this is one of those self-correcting non-problems like how many angels can sit on the head of a pin.

Sock-puppeteers have to spend three to four times the effort to keep their various entities straight. They give it up after a while or like Scott Adams, get caught. Anonymous people are ignored for the most part. Once they realize their opinions aren't being responded to, they give it up after a while.

Trolls are fun to bait but I get bored with them when they start to repeat themselves. So I give up baiting them after a while.

BevfromNYC said...

So Andrew, should we call you Bob now? I knew you couldn't possible be an "Andrew" 'cause you really write more like a "Bob"...just kidding. ;-)

If we are all giving our real names mine is Beverly. I decline to give my last name because my name is unique and Homeland Security will find out and be at my front door.

FYI - The President was just at the WTC site. I saw the motorcade and took pictures. Couldn't see the full ceremony which was very brief.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think there's a lot of truth in what you say that this is a self-fixing problem. It seems like a hard way to spend time on the internet to be pretending to be different people. But there are definite benefits from a marketing perspective (or a maliciousness perspective) that I can see.

I think there are good reasons for requiring people to make accounts and deleting or not accepting anonymous comments. In particular, it avoid drive-by comments, where someone stumbles upon your site, makes an inflammatory comment and never comes back. Why subject the community to that? Also, in some cases, like with JG's community, the inflammatory comments are pretty heinous. . . like where they are poking fun at a dead soldier.

Also, from a website perspective, I see the value in having a more committed community and having too many anonymous comments doesn't really condone that.

By the way, in terms of deleting comments, the only things we delete are spam -- and we get a ton of that. We don't delete trolls, we just poke fun at them.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I find it easier to go by Andrew. . . Bob is too hard to remember! ;-)

I figured Obama wouldn't stick around long, he's probably got to rush to make his golf t-time!

rlaWTX said...

just for clarity - my given name is NOT rlaWTX. My mama had more sense than that - even at 18!
;)

rlaWTX said...

I feel for Adams - it's hard to let people trash you!

and I've noticed, esp. in media, that the actual person has no "legitimacy" when responding because they are "biased". But others - whomever they are - are granted knowledgeable status because they are "independent". this also seems to happen more to conservatives (go figure).

so, I kinda fall on Adams' side on this one...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I figured that wasn't your real name! :-)

That's a good point about Adams. To the extent that he defends himself, he is considered biased and many people will dismiss what he says. And anonymous post lets you get around that.

Kosh said...

Maybe I am a little biased because I have always been a fan of Adams, but I really don't see this as a major issue. Sometimes using a proxy you can get a better idea what people think of your or your work. It is why many of us have satisfaction surveys done by a third party. You often can't get an honest assessment of how good you are doing (or how much of a jerk you are) without it. Many times you can't even get a conversation started with someone because of their bias. If some of these people knew who he was when he was sockpuppeting, they probably would have just attacked him and not even tried to discuss what he was trying to say. You see this all the time on the Bigs. Admit it, when you see a comment from someone with a -107 rating, you automatically think "troll." Usually we're right, but the immediate impulse then clouds how you read their point. Occassionally, there is a person who really is looking to debate and discuss rather than just annoy.

Personally, I would think it would awesome if I got punked by Scott Adams.

AndrewPrice said...

Kosh, That's a good point too. And you're right about the Bigs. When someone shows up who is either a known troll or has a massive negative rating like a troll, people don't really listen to what they have to say, they just attack -- no matter how rational that person may be or how good their points.

In terms of Adams, I personally am a little conflicted on the issue. As I say, I can't hold it against him, but I can't say "sure, why not?" either. But I'm probably not the problem for Adams because (1) I am a fan, and (2) I know exactly why he felt so frustrated that he had to do this. The problem for Adams, as I see it, is that now he ends up with numerous articles written about him in various magazines in which he's getting the bad PR of being accused of doing something sneaky. If he had not even bothered, few people would have cared about these anonymous attackers. But by doing this and getting caught, he's made his problems worse by making himself look like the bad guy instead of the victim.

Also, even beyond Adams, the issue is what is proper and what isn't? Should we worry that a bunch of the reviews at Amazon might be fake? Or that someone like Media Matters might be out there trolling places just to cause them problems? That's where this issue ultimately heads and I don't think there are any easy answers because the solution to these problems would probably be worse than the problem itself, yet there is an undeniable problem.

T-Rav said...

Andrew (or Bob), were your parents computers, or did they just really hate you? Because I think your Internet name is far less dorky.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I'm just asking questions. You could release this stuff any time you want to, and solve the mystery of what name is REALLY on your birth certificate. And then we could all move past the fact that you basically forced me to ask these questions in the first place.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, It's a family name. Our family came from Fortran via Abacus before fleeing to the US to avoid the metric system.

Kosh said...

In a world where people set up facebook pages for their cats as well as fake reviews, you have to be cautious with what you read. I don't want the government to have any involvement in this at all. Not one little toe. Not a nostril-hair on that camel nose. It's not because I don't want to loose access to cat porn (I know, I am currently seeking professional help), they just don't need to "help" anymore. If you look through these pages of reviews, it isn't hard to find the "real" ones.

Heck, our own government can't even get its story straight on the OBL raid. I think sockpuppeting pales.

Kosh said...

I have in my hands LawHawks real birth certificate. He was born in Rangoon to a 15 year old French prostitute with webfeet. (it is amazing how much information a real long form contains)

I will provide the orginal copy to the highest bidder.

BevfromNYC said...

Kosh, I will make the opening bid - 10 of the famous Commentarama invisible t-shirts (one size fits all)!

AndrewPrice said...

Kosh, I agree, I don't want the government involved either. I'm not even sure there is an actual solution and we certainly don't want the government imposing its twisted version of a solution.

And you're right that the simple answer is that people just need to be more careful about what they believe on the net. I just find it bizarre that so many people don't seem to get that.

In terms of the reviews, you're right that it's pretty easy to spot the fakes -- especially when you get a ton of actual reviews along side.


On Lawhawk's birth certificate, I had no idea that he and Dr. Evil had a shared past! LOL!

T-Rav said...

Bev, you'd better be careful. DHS is probably not too happy with you after you stood them up last night. Wait...you DID stand them up, didn't you?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that darned metric system! Horrible kilogram tyranny they have over there...one day, we will overcome.

Kosh said...

I can empathize with LawHawk, although he has more courage with his screen name than I do with mine. I too am a professional working in a VERY libral part of the country. And like San Fransisco, it is amazing how the people around here really believe that the rest of the world gives a rats patootie about what they think. So I too must sort of fly under the radar or risk starving to death.

Tennessee Jed said...

I must say, this has been one of the more enjoyable discussions - - great comments.

Like Kosh, I am probably biased in favor of Adams. While what he did was probably wrong, I doubt I'll lose sleep over it. Coming from the corporate world, I see his humor as absolutely right on the money. And yes, I really was reacting more towards a fear of government regulation. Whoever owns the blog sets the rules, so not accepting anonymous comments makes perfect sense.

In full disclosure, Jed is not my real name either as any fan of the songs by lyracist Robert Hunter could tell you. However, like Stan, I am very limited and relatively new when it comes to the net. My main concern for not making it too easy to find out who I am (and where I live) is that I could piss off some nut job willing to put a pipe bomb in a mailbox. Hope I haven't pissed off Commentarians too much. I know I once referred to Beverly as a brunette l.o.l. and now can only hope a) I didn't offend her or b) she knows how to find out where I live AND is an expert in making p.b.'s

Hawk, I may start to call you "Ethan" just for the halibut.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav, I am sworn to secrecy, but if you start hearing helicopters flying around at odd hours...run.

Kosh said...

To the Department of Homeland Security for the Glorious One:

What I said before was a lie just to fit in. As you know, I am a undocumented school girl with no arms or legs. I dictate to my pet...I, mean, friend monkey who transcribes my thoughts. I have no problems aborting fetuses or killing off old people, but am against killing misunderstood individuals such as Bundy as Mr. Osama bin Ladin. I am writing because this months check is late. I tried to eat the rich, like the wonderful Michael Moore suggested, but he yelled alot and didn't taste very good. I have to go now as my partner is calling me for lunch

Signed,

Moesha Gonzales

Tennessee Jed said...

I'm kind of crushed to find out about T-Rav and riaWTX; e.g. those aren't there given birth names. Actually, I always assumed T-Rav was a play on that great delicacy "Turtle Ravioli." Who knew?? As for ria, unless you are actually married to Danny Devito, I always supected you to be from Amarillo in West Texas ;-)

Bev - I always assumed you were Angie Harmon not wanting to stall you career by sounding too politically incorrect, and that the Bev thing was a play on Bevis or Bevan just to throw off the pin heads. (o.k. I didn't really, but still thought it had a chance as a cheap laugh.)

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I come from a long line of Metric-Resistors.


Kosh & Jed, That is a definite concern, that people will retaliate in real life for what happens on the web, which is why I don't have a problem with people adopting fake identities on the web.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think it's interesting that so many of us never really participate in the internet until a couple years ago. I've been on line since the early 1990s, but I never really commented anywhere until BH. And it sounds like a lot of other people are in the same boat!

BevfromNYC said...

Tenn Jed - Oh, darn. It is true, you found me out. I am Angie Harmon in disguise. If you must know, I also wear a disguise in real life, so I can travel amongst you without notice. I love all the adulation when I travel as myself, but it can be draining sometimes...{{sigh}}.

rlaWTX said...

y'all are insane!! too much fun around here today!

Andrew: back in the late 90's I played on the History.com bulletin boards - the poitics & religion sections, go figure. But hadn't messed with much since until about 4 years ago. Then I found NRO again and then BH... and finally Nirvana here!!!

Kosh: I will raise Bev AKA Angie's bid with a bucket of cat hairballs.

Tennessee: what, exactly, do you have against brunettes so that you believe calling someone one would get pipe bombs in response? Answer carefully... I'm further south than Amarillo - in W country! [actually we're really more Laura country: she and her mom have hospital sections named after them]

patti said...

i would respond under my name, cause just like posting the pics of a dead terrorist, i want my anon trolls to know i ain't playin', that i'll take some of their sh*t, but if pushed, i'll make them eat it. trolls hate that, the thrive on the anon.

but i get what he was trying to do.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Well, we're glad you found us! And I think we're all pretty happy how things turned out around here. We definitely have a good group of people who come and participate.

I never spent much time at the History Channel board, but I used to check out things like various science fiction boards and the such. But they usually fell apart very quickly when flame wars began. I'm glad the internet has largely gotten over that phase of its existence and now most places survive the occasional troll or disagreement.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, My experience is that people who launch anonymous attacks run away very quickly when confronted with someone who isn't afraid to put their name on the line.

T-Rav said...

Jed, I do like my pasta (and my turtles), but no, it's actually short for Travis. T-Rav is something several friends have called me for some time, and since I'm not the most creative person in the world, it seemed as good a moniker to go with as any.

By the way, people, email me if you want some pipe bombs. I'll let you know more later, but right now I've got to check out these weird helicopter-like noises outside my apartment...

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