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    Jon Confronts The Troll - Part II

    June. 15th, '01
    This part 2 of a conversation I had with a troll from Metafilter. If you haven't read part 1, I suggest you do that. Otherwise you won't have much context for what follows.

    This days emails were a bit more constructive. He did less name calling and spent more time trying to build a logical defense of his actions. Not too impressive.


    Jon: "Well, its been fun chatting with you today about one of my favorite subjects."

    I'm still waiting for you to explain to me how you justify being so disruptive on Metafilter.

    Your claim that it's just humor that we don't understand doesn't hold water. Your claim that you aren't being a jerk flies in the face the facts. And your claims that Matt is a Nazi and that your rights are being violated are groundless.

    I'm left with the conclusion that you enjoy being mean to people who you don't have to confront. That you get satisfaction from annoying people with childish taunting.

    Are you really this shallow? Please help me understand what's going on here.

    RightWinger: "Your claim that it's just humor that we don't understand doesn't hold water. Your claim that you aren't being a jerk flies in the face the facts."

    YES IT IS JUST HUMOR, AND I THINK IT'S FUNNY. JUST BECAUSE A GROUP OF LEFT WING PIN HEADS DOESNT GET MY SENSE OF HUMOR DOESNT MEAN I HAVE TO CHANGE. I'M A PROFESSIONAL COMEDY WRITER FOR PETE'S SAKES, I HAVE WRITING CREDITS ON 6 TV SHOWS.

    "And your claims that Matt is a Nazi and that your rights are being violated are groundless."

    MATT IS A NAZI. HE DOESNT BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH OR THE FIRST AMENDMENT, HE BELIEVES IN CENSORING OPPOSING VIEW POINTS, HE'S A FASCIST. AND YOU SHOULD BE THANKING GOD HE ISNT PRESIDENT OR THE CONSTITUTION WOULD BE SHREDDED LIKE TOILET PAPER.

    HE'S ALSO A HYPOCRITE HE CLAIMS METAL FILTER IS THIS GRAT WEB SITE WHERE PEOPLE EXCHANGE IDEAS AND THOUGHTS, NOT IT, ISN'T... ITS A CIRCLE JERK FOR LEFT WING LIBERALS, ITS MUTUAL MIND MASTURBATION.

    IF MATT HAD AN HONEST BONE IN HIS BODY HE SHOULD POST ON THE BANNE OF METAFILER "NO FREE SPEECH ALLOWED HERE... THERE IS NO FIRST AMENDMENT." WHY DOESNT HE DO THAT, THATS WHAT HE BELIEVES ISNT IT?

    Jon: "YES IT IS JUST HUMOR, AND I THINK IT'S FUNNY."

    Well, if you think it's funny, I certainly don't have a problem with that. I'm not going act as some sort of comedy police. But that's not the issue.

    The issue is that you were presenting this in a discussion forum where you knew it would offend people. I'm asserting that - You knew it would offend people on Metafilter. And even after being told that we didn't discuss issues simply by name calling, you continued.

    Fine, you think it's funny. But the vast majority of people don't. Quite the contrary, they find it rude and disruptive.

    "JUST BECAUSE A GROUP OF LEFT WING PIN HEADS DOESNT GET MY SENSE OF HUMOR DOESNT MEAN I HAVE TO CHANGE."

    And I'm not saying you need to change. I personally find you totally immature and boring, but if it works for you then great. I don't play the popularity game, and I'm not saying you should either.

    But the issue at hand is your posts at Metafilter and your attacks against Matt. Why do you feel that is justified? Certainly Matt has the right to ban you from his site. It's his personal property. if you came to his house and acted in this manner would he not have the right to toss you out? Indeed, (stretching the analogy) if his room mates complained about your behavior, wouldn't he be *obligated* to toss you out?

    That's what I see happening here. Lots of people have complained about your behavior. Given that, how is Matt not justified in banning you?

    "I'M A PROFESSIONAL COMEDY WRITER FOR PETE'S SAKES, I HAVE WRITING CREDITS ON 6 TV SHOWS."

    Mr Allen, please, we're having a discussion here. I don't see how lying about things is going to be constructive. But even if I do concede that you are a great comedy talent, how does that impinge on this situation? People at Metafilter don't find you funny. I don't find you funny. Calling people Nazis is funny? Which show have you used this to great effect on?

    "MATT IS A NAZI. HE DOESNT BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH OR THE FIRST AMENDMENT,"

    [sigh]

    I thought we'd gone over this already. If you really want to continue this line of reasoning, please address these points:

    1) While the Nazis did greatly censor free speech, this isn't the meaning that is connected to the noun. When you call someone a Nazi in this country you are implying that they are racist and violent. The Nazi party in this country doesn't try to shut down free speech. In fact they very strongly assert their right to say anything they want.

    2) We both know the first amendment doesn't give you the right to say anything, in any place, at any time. By your own admission, if you said things like this at the paper you work at you'd get fired. Why should you be able to say them at Metafilter without repercussions?

    "ITS A CIRCLE JERK FOR LEFT WING LIBERALS, ITS MUTUAL MIND MASTURBATION."

    Well, clearly I disagree. But even if I give you that point, why are you so insistent that you should have the right to join in the discussion? You don't like us, we don't like you, and it's a private website. So we exclude you. Sounds like a win-win to me. What am I missing here?

    "HE SHOULD POST ON THE BANNE OF METAFILER 'NO FREE SPEECH ALLOWED HERE... THERE IS NO FIRST AMENDMENT.'"

    I think we've established from the examples I've quoted that the reason you were banned was the insulting and childish manner in which you posted.

    Every day, on almost every thread, there are disagreements at Metafilter. I'm still waiting for you to give me an example of a poster who was banned for *what* they said as opposed to *how* they said it.

    You were banned for the way you insulted and offended people.

    RightWinger: IM NOT LYING< IVE WRITTEN FOR 6 TV SHOWS including Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, and several shows on Nickelodeon

    Jon: Well good for you. But I don't understand why we're talking about that.

    I've enjoyed Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill very much, but your posts can't be defended by claiming you're a comedy writer. You know people at Metafilter don't find your racist and insulting comments humorous. And on top of that Metafilter is not an animated TV comedy. You know this. How are the two related?

    And please stop belaboring the point by asserting your comedic talents. It's not relevant. I'm asking why you think people at Metafilter should be forced to include you. It's not MikeAllenFilter.

    No doubt your comments might be snickered about at a clan rally or on Rush's show, but that's not where you chose to express them. You intentionally said these things in a forum where you knew people would be offended.

    [note - this comment was after a long break in communication]

    Jon: I'm a little disappointed that you've decided to break off communication with me. It seems like you are very passionate about these things and you want to make your case. Well I'm very passionate about the issue as well.

    Just because I don't believe you're the Mike Allen that's written for B & B doesn't mean we still can't discuss these other issues.

    The idea that people posting to discussion forums shouldn't be held to a standard of conduct is very interesting to me. I was hoping you would continue to press your case.

    I love the Internet and the way it allows people to come together and learn from people they'd otherwise never encounter. Of course the flip side is that some people will ruin the experience for others. As I feel you have done.

    I'm just asking you to defend your position that you should have the right to do that.

    Please don't crawl off and hide. We're debating something that is important to me.

    RightWinger: I wasnt crawling off and hiding, things just got a little busy here at work, deadlines and such. You know it would help everyone if Matt would at least give people a warning on their first offense (but he just bans them) and maybe he should list a code of conduct for his site such as "Do not be funny." My main motivation is comedy, perhaps the more inappropriate the forum the funnier. I just think Metafilter needs to loosen up, you have to admit the people there are hyper-sensitive, Matt in particular... perhaps thats what makes posting on his site so enticing.

    Jon: "I wasnt crawling off and hiding, things just got a little busy here at work,"

    I understand completely. I'll try to be more patient.

    "You know it would help everyone if Matt would at least give people a warning on their first offense"

    Yes, I agree. I've seen him warn people several times.

    Three points:

    1) After you got banned, you were even more offensive with your second username. Obviously you didn't intent to adhere to any warning he might give.

    2) It wasn't just Matt that wanted you banned. It was discussed at Metatalk and everyone encouraged Matt to ban you. You were that insulting. You just blew past the line too fast.

    3) Quoted from the guidelines: "Follow the golden rule, treat others' opinions with the same respect that would like to be afforded. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in your posts being deleted, your posting rights revoked, or your account banned." How is this in any way ambiguous?

    "maybe he should list a code of conduct for his site such as 'Do not be funny.'"

    Now you're just being sarcastic. I don't see that comment as particularly constructive. As I've said before, people are often saying something funny at Metafilter. You know this. What is the point in exaggerating this?

    "My main motivation is comedy, perhaps the more inappropriate the forum the funnier."

    Yes, I picked up on that. In fact that's what I'm accusing you of. What I want to understand is this - Why do you feel that forum should be forced to endure what you are now admitting is a calculated attack?

    "I just think Metafilter needs to loosen up, you have to admit the people there are hyper-sensitive"

    Oh please. This is patently ridiculous. You're referring to members using terms like "uppity coloreds" and "lazy Mexicans", saying things that are purposefully inflammatory, and insulting people on very emotional issues. And then you turn around and accuse them of being hyper-sensitive? That's silly and you know it.

    It seems obvious that you just want to annoy people and you can't even bother to be clever about it. How hard is it to get people to react to being called a Nazi? Certainly you don't see this as subtle and creative?

    RightWinger: "As I've said before, people are often saying something funny at Metafilter."

    Oh come on Jon, people on Metafilter are rarely funny, at best. They try to elicit a self-assured smirk, but they are not funny.

    "Why do you feel that forum should be forced to endure what you are now admitting is a calculated attack? "

    This is a bit overdramatic, I dont see my posts as attacks, I am merely stirring the pot. Surely there are people as bored as I am when reading the site sometimes. I do try to post statements that will elicit responses, but I dont see anything wrong with that. These people on Metafilter need a little spice in their lives.

    "You're referring to members using terms like "uppity coloreds" and "lazy Mexicans", saying things that are purposefully inflammatory, and insulting people on very emotional issues. And then you turn around and accuse them of being hyper-sensitive?"

    The very fact you call these "very emotional issues" confirms the fact that people on Metafilter are ultra sensitive.

    "It seems obvious that you just want to annoy people and you can't even bother to be clever about it. "

    I think Ive been clever, my last post concerne a black man who won custody of his black son from his white ex-wife. The black man was a former NBA basketball player. My response was somewhere along the lines of "I'm going to laugh very hard when he gets arrested for dealing crack." I thought that was funny, the next thing I know, Matt has banned me again.

    Jon: "I dont see my posts as attacks, I am merely stirring the pot."

    Yes, I can see how it might be thought of that way. But most people consider it trolling. It's blatant spin to say using racist and offensive comments is "stirring the pot." And when you say that, what exactly are you implying? I hope you can be more specific about this. What is it you're trying to accomplish? If not simply pissing people off, then what?

    I don't see your comments as anything more than self-gratifying maliciousness. But you seem to be saying that you think that have real value to the Metafilter community. What value?

    "Surely there are people as bored as I am when reading the site sometimes."

    Why would someone reads threads that they find boring? And what right do you have to decide for others whether they're bored? No one is forced to read a thread they find boring. What you're doing is finding threads that people are actively, and sometimes passionately discussing, and then doing things you know will annoy people.

    "I do try to post statements that will elicit responses, but I dont see anything wrong with that."

    Making racist, and inflammatory comments will typically elicit comments, but not ever anything constructive. As I said before, I read through all of your posts, and I didn't find one that moved the discussion forward.

    The thing that's wrong with it is that it's disruptive to what's taking place. Let me use an analogy: Let's say a group of people are in your office are at the water cooler. They're talking about some interesting but obscure baseball rule. You walk up and start talking about how people who support that rule are uppity blacks. And then you call someone a Nazi. Don't you see anything wrong with that?

    "The very fact you call these 'very emotional issues' confirms the fact that people on Metafilter are ultra sensitive."

    Abortion? Gun control? Election year politics? You don't see these as emotional issues? Just what would you consider an emotional issue? Really.

    "My response was somewhere along the lines of 'I'm going to laugh very hard when he gets arrested for dealing crack.'"

    And you don't see that as yet another racist comment? And throwing this out as an example of your ability to be clever and stimulating isn't very convincing. It seems obvious and clumsy to me.

    RightWinger: I find my posts to be funny and entertaining, perhaps I am playing to an audience of one, but for me the show is well worth it. I still can't believe you find Metafilter funny, at its best its extremely dry (and I would add dull) wit. I think I liven the place up a bit what with my lofty comments about "uppity blacks, lazy mexicans, and flamboyant homosexuals." You know why those are stereotypes are funny, because we all know there is an element of truth in them.

    Jon: "I find my posts to be funny and entertaining, perhaps I am playing to an audience of one, but for me the show is well worth it."

    Yes, you've made your point with that. I still don't feel you're being forthcoming and sincere about this, but I'm willing to concede on the issue. How about if we just move along with the understanding that *you* find these things witty and that they serve some value.

    The issue is that people at Metafilter, including the site's owner, find them offensive and disruptive.

    You still haven't explained to me why we should allow you to force them on us. You seem to be avoiding this. Why do you think Matt shouldn't be able to ban you?

    "I think I liven the place up a bit what with my lofty comments about 'uppity blacks, lazy mexicans, and flamboyant homosexuals.'"

    You are being silly again. Please don't insult my intelligence by trying to bait me. Mr Allen, we're discussing something here. If you have no intention of trying to defend you actions, then just admit it. If you find me boring, if you feel the need to "stir my pot", if you want me to stop pressing you on this issue, then please just be up front about that.

    "You know why those are stereotypes are funny, because we all know there is an element of truth in them."

    With the trolling again. Is how you handle issues in your day to day life? I think not. Please just bear with me and address the issues. Why shouldn't Metafilter have the right to exclude you?

    RightWinger: Because if Matt is a true ACLU card-carrying liberal he should support freedom of speech even when it disagrees or offends. There are many people who use profanity to shock on Metafilter and Matt allows this. Why? Because those people are left wing. Its like the old Woody Allen joke, "Im a bigot, but its okay, because Im a bigot for the left." Im am a right winger and because of my political views, Matt censors me which violates the supposed reason metafilter exists, to provide a forum for an exchange of ideas. I know Matt singles me out, because even when Im serious, he still bans me.

    Jon: "Because if Matt is a true ACLU card-carrying liberal he should support freedom of speech even when it disagrees or offends."

    I don't see the logical connection here. Free speech = Metafilter? We know this isn't true by the quote from the guidelines I already mentioned. Metafilter isn't held forth as a paradigm of free speech in action. It's purpose is to foster constructive discussion among its members.

    I've looked through the "about" page again. I don't see anything about free speech or the ACLU. I do see two whole paragraphs that admonish users not to troll or offend.

    if you were looking for some place to push the limits of free speech, you clearly misunderstood. The guidelines clearly state that people can be banned for posting disruptive comments. Perhaps you didn't read this, but after you were banned the first time it should have been quite obvious.

    Matt has said many, many times that he will boot people who are rude and offensive. He's stated this openly. It's not a secret.

    "There are many people who use profanity to shock on Metafilter and Matt allows this."

    Matt has been asked whether profanity is allowed and he's on record as not having a problem with it. It's been discussed. Some people have a problem with it, but the vast majority don't. And I've never seen it get out of hand. Did you have a specific example?

    "I know Matt singles me out, because even when Im serious, he still bans me."

    Mr Allen, he (and I) think you are a loud mouthed bore. He doesn't trust you. You've over stayed your welcome. You've offended too many people. You've refused to apologize or promise to be civil. Why shouldn't Matt single you out? In your dealings with him you've been a complete ass. Do you blame him?

    Of course he singles you out. You are banned. Why can't you move on with your life?

    RightWinger: Jon, youre the one whos been intent on discussing me for 2 days, if anyone needs to move on with one's life it is you.

    >You've refused to apologize or promise to be civil.

    Wrong, I made a public apology on Meta Talk to Matt once and was ridiculed for it.

    Meta filter claims to be a public forum where ideas can be discussed, perhaps Matt should be more forthcoming and state on the banner of the page "Conservatives Not Allowed" instead of "We're all in this together." Or yet a better name for Metafilter would be "Liberal's Wet Dream Site...Mind Masturbation in Progress...Do Not Disturb."

    I dont know why you idolize Matt so much, he seems at best a sissy. He is intolerant of any conservative view thus proving my point that liberals are the most closed-minded people on the planet.

    Jon: "Jon, youre the one whos been intent on discussing me for 2 days, if anyone needs to move on with one's life it is you."

    I choose not to. You're right, I am intent on discussing it. Are you asking me to stop bothering you? Is this something you don't want to talk about? I'm obsessive on this issue. I thought about it just as much before you came along. I think I've mentioned that before.

    "Wrong, I made a public apology on Meta Talk to Matt once and was ridiculed for it."

    Huh..... Look at that. Well, I stand corrected. You did indeed apologize. And your posts after that seem fairly tame. Well, you have a good point there.

    Too bad you had already made so many people hate you. And reading through the ridicule that followed your apology, I have to say that I agree with every bit of it. I'll quote one of the responses that parallels my feelings:

    "FreeSpeech, is this an apology? Should we be charitable and assume you're for real here? It would be nice if we could get something constructive from all this, but you haven't actually built up a reservoir of trust."

    No one seems to trust you. I sure don't. But thanks for the apology.

    But your contrition seems to have been very short lived. Referencing something Matt claims you sent him:

    "Ill drive up to San Francisco and kick your gutless ass myself, you can't stand free speech because it threatens you precious liberal ideals that dont have a pathetic leg to stand on. Youre a spineless liberal who has no guts, Ill meet you anywhere anytime and I will kick your hopeless ass"

    How nice. It seems to me this is between you and Matt, so I won't insist that you defend this. But of course I am curious, so if you feel like indulging me, that would be wonderful. I won't press it though.

    "Or yet a better name for Metafilter would be 'Liberal's Wet Dream Site...Mind Masturbation in Progress...Do Not Disturb.'"

    More silliness. Why do you always fall back on that? I don't feel that Metafilter has the same level of liberal bias that you do, but even if I did, what is the point? We're liberal, so we should have to put up with you? I don't understand what you're trying to argue with these silly tag lines.

    What exactly is the point you're trying to make with that?

    "I dont know why you idolize Matt so much"

    We've already talked through that. Please don't make me repeat myself. I will if you insist, but really...... I think I'm typing enough already. Hmmm???

    "He is intolerant of any conservative view thus proving my point that liberals are the most closed-minded people on the planet."

    You aren't going to let this go. [sigh] Fine. Do I really need to waste my entire weekend compiling a mass of strongly argued conservative posts on Metafilter? If you force me to do this I'll insist that you address every single on of them.

    We both know that I'll come up with plenty of strong, right-wing, conservative posts. If you're really going to insist on that, then I'd like to know up front what you'd accept as a good example. God hates gays? Abortion is murder? The need for family values? Clinton is a lying traitor?

    You tell me. What conservative view points do you feel are under-represented?

    RightWinger: I am not going to ask for a word count on liberal vs conservative statements on metafilter, but I do know the liberals far out number the conservatives.

    I must say the most amusing posts are when someone links a story about censorship, and the liberals (including Matt) denounce whomever is doing the censoring (in the story)... its hypocrisy at its best. Metafilter is a model for censorship from the left, I know because my conservative views have been censored. Other conservative-moderates such as Dreama and Aaron seem to be walking on egg shells in their posts knowing full well the axe may fall on their heads at any time.

    Jon: "I do know the liberals far out number the conservatives."

    Yes, we all agree on that. Matt has said as much. So have others. So what? But that isn't the point. You were claiming that conservative views were being censored. I offered to do the leg work to refute this absurd claim.

    "Metafilter is a model for censorship from the left, I know because my conservative views have been censored."

    My point is that it isn't the conservative views that are being censored. It's you. You've been banned. Because you were mean and insulting.

    Stop evading this. What conservative views do you feel are being censored?




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