Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Some of my readers are idiots

A big part of this blog is you – your comments. I’ve said this before, your comments are often more interesting than my posts. There are times I write posts specifically because I’m interested in what your take is on a topic. I enjoy your insight, point-of-view, and often we get insiders who really illuminate a subject from the first hand knowledge that I don’t have.  So I thank you all and invite you to continue weighing in. 

I rarely delete commenters who disagree with me. If they post as Anonymous or say really hateful inappropriate things then yes, I zap them, but most of the time I just let ‘em fly. I don’t want this to be the kind of blog where only people who support me are allowed a voice.

Besides, some of the criticism has led to great debates. And I will admit that some of your criticism is valid. I’ve even been known to change a position or two based on your contrarian arguments. I hate when that happens because I’m, y’know, always right, but I do.

I also rarely respond in the comments section to opposing views. That’s the forum for you to debate the issues, not me.

But…

Sometimes I’ll read a comment and just have to shake my head. One such comment was yesterday’s regarding my post on the CHEERS actors missing run-throughs. This was the comment verbatim:

Anonymous said...

I'm with Elf on that one. Besides, writers wag the dog too much on sitcoms. They're paid big bucks to deliver a script that works. That's their JOB. Those who cry about needing the actors around to "tweak" the script are weak hacks. We're talking about a 20 minute loaded sketch here, with completely defined characters! They're not writing "streecar named desire" for chrissake. If the actors have their shit wired-and that's what THEY'RE being paid the big bucks for, you don't need repeated run-throughs, aside from blocking the scene.

This mythology has been created by weak writers who can't deliver a good script consistently, looking to cover their weak asses.

Crybaby writers...

CRYBABIES!!! Makes me so mad... And YOU let 'em DO it, Ken!!!! Pat yourself on the back!! Buy yourself an ice cream cone!! You deserve it!!

goddammit... some people's writers... give 'em a fuckin' inch... inmates running the goddamn asylum... patty-cake playing em-effers... dogs is what they are... DOGS!!

-Cheers Fan

Okay, the text is not even worth debating. The point I want to make, and I suspect most of my readers would agree, is…

I get some real morons who comment on this blog. I mean, some certifiable string-collecting drooling idiots.

Now, I realize that statement may result in a flurry of outrage from the morons and idiots, but so be it unless they cross the line and I delete them.  Yes, I'm giving this cretin attention but after almost eight years of blogging and ignoring I felt it was time to finally say something.  Usually, I'll email friends and say, "Oh you've gotta see this comment some imbecile wrote." 

One thing I’ve learned is that my blog is not unique. These trolls are everywhere, and they can turn most any topic into an angry rant. I’ve seen recipe posts lead to tirades against Obamacare. I’ve seen photos of cute puppies somehow lead to an attack against certian ethnic groups. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so disturbing.

At least in the days of Cliff Clavin they were just loveable cranks. Today they are enraged maniacs allowed to rave without any accountability. They don’t need facts, logic, coherence, or even a name.

You think the founding fathers would have drafted the First Amendment differently if they had an inkling that one day there would be the internet? Might Thomas Jefferson have said, “they can click like but that’s it.”?

Until I can customize my blog to have two comment sections -- one for comments and one for stupid comments, I’ll just have to monitor more closely the comments I do get. Maybe if the word verification feature didn’t just ask to repeat a series of letters but instead was a question like “what color is the White House?” or “what color is an orange?” it would weed out 90% of the trolls. I could even do occasional posts about politics or religion. Or puppies.

93 comments:

Hamid said...

Spot on, Ken. That comment was multiple levels of moronic.

The anonymity that the internet provides is used by the stupid and the hate-filled to hide behind so they can make vicious or lunatic comments. I gave up on IMDB long ago because the boards there are overwhelmingly dominated by trolls whose entire reason for being is to make jokes about people who've died or to call films that haven't even been made yet garbage. Idiots the lot of them.

404 said...

I agree 100%, Ken, but I have one issue: by giving him a whole post, you have given the troll exactly what he wanted--your attention. One thing I learned a long time ago, and a mantra I have to repeat often is "don't feed the troll."

Jake Mabe said...

With regard to trolls, I am reminded of two comments my favorite football coach, John Majors, once said:

"It doesn't take a lot of guts to do something in the darkness. So, you're always going to have the Legions of the Miserable."

goodman.dl said...

Considering that Jefferson was master ful in deploying invective and innuendo at his political opponents, anonymously through the press... he would have openly decried it but taken full advantage.

Adams, OTOH, would hate the internet...

Graham Powell said...

One good thing about trolls: they identify themselves, so you can easily ignore them. That's why I say let 'em rant and rave all they want to.

Mac said...

Such obvious trolling as that one you've shown us, should just be deleted straight away. The fact that it's sitting there below your post, even if no-one reacts, gives the troll a kick. It's a pathetic way to get your kicks but there you go. It's a shame you have to bother with stuff like that but if it's any consolation, it'll have been written by some almighty shut-in with three teeth and no Emmy on the mantelpiece, so you've already won.

Marsha Mason said...

Popular Science has shut down their comments section on articles of scientific certainties they feel aren't up for debate for the same reason. If Anonymous had ever worked in tv (or film or theatre or life), they'd know it's a collaborative effort.

Ken, have you ever considered, disallowing comments from those who choose to remain anonymous? By forcing accountability you may cut down on the number of troll type comments.

Aaron Sheckley said...

I'd have to disagree with Mac on his description of a troll. Although it makes us feel good to believe that internet trolls are all mouth breathers who live in their parents' basements, the scary part is that trolls are....pretty much anyone. That three paragraph racist rant on a Doctor Who forum was written by....your grandmother. Or Dad. Or Minister, or whatever. Trolls are like people with road rage; perfectly normal when you meet them in society, but put them behind the wheel (or an anonymous keyboard), and it's instant dickhead.

Pogo knows the truth: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

James Meisel said...

Kind of thin skinned if you ask me.

Aaron Sheckley said...

I've also seen plenty of trolls who weren't deterred by the lack of response to their rantings. They know that people are reading their nonsense and getting enraged, even if no one responds. I've seen trolls carry on conversations with themselves on a board when no one would rise to the bait. I don't think ignoring is the solution; deleting their comments is. That has to be the most frustrating thing to a troll; the knowledge that no one is seeing their weird little on line manifestos.

Raz Darnell said...

Gotta agree with 404 on this one. If you feed 'em, they know where they can come for food.

Love the idea about the captcha text being some question. That idea could clean up a lot of websites, if you ask me.

Charles H. Bryan said...

You want to write about puppies? PUPPIES?? Puppies are fucking assholes. Only a moronic masochistic twerp would like something that chews up our shoes and craps them out next to where we left them. They'll bite a grandma with the same mouth that they use to eat their own puke. Sick little bastards, every last one of them. Screw 'em.

Just kidding. I love puppies.

Recently, Popular Science magazine did away with its comment section, for the reasons we might all guess: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments

What does it tell us when people who love science have concluded that comments sections aren't worth keeping?

Mitchell Hundred said...

To be honest, it sounds to me like CF was trying to make a joke. I've done similar things in the past, although I've learned that it's better to do it with people who understand your sense of humour (or explicitly state that you're being sarcastic). Just another instance of Poe's Law, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Would the internet be such a bad place if more sites just decided to forego comments all together?

I'm Bradman said...

Hi Ken,
I didn't really understand what the heck your post was about this morning. I have never been to Washington, DC so I don't know the answer to the first question but an orange is usually like a tangerine-ish kind of color. I'm surprised no one else knew that. There are some real idiots out there.

Mitchell Hundred said...

Also, in defense of comments: this.

Mike said...

I took the comment as a spoof and was amused.
(Actually, I thought it was John Boehner feeling the pressure of yesterday's voting.)

Zappa the Unholy said...

Not this last friday, but the week before.. Bill Maher's final New Rule rant was about this same crap. You should check it out. You're both on the same page but he uses a bit more vulgarity. :D

Curt Alliaume said...

If it's any consolation, at the end of each day I use my string collection to wipe up the drool.

Carolyn said...

"The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (GIFT) is a postulate which asserts that normal, well-adjusted people may display psychopathic or antisocial behaviors when given both anonymity and a captive audience on the Internet."

http://tinyurl.com/7zlb2pq

PolyWogg said...

Dang it! All these rules -- I really don't have time to start collecting string! Sheesh...

Poly

mfearing said...

I've read worse, that's for sure. And certainly that's a personal, pointed rant. But it's not evil. Actually, I sometimes wonder about the mythos surrounding especially sit-com writers. I cheerish the shows that work well, but it is so rare. So many are like bad stand-up. Or a parody of comic one-liners from the Catskills. That's what finally turned me away from almost all sit-coms. That drumbeat of bad lines being shouted over one another. Another aspect I think would be interesting to address is how sitcoms are often so much of their time, thy don't hold up well to future audiences. In comic strips this is best exemplified by Li'l Abner by Al Capp. A strip that was hugely popular but now has almost no fan following even amongst the hardcore comic strip fanboys (and yes, there are some). What shows transcend their time and why? And I don't mean by just appealing to aficionados of the genre. What show from 30 years ago could have a modern following?

Ron Rettig said...

Ken, So what are the answers to the 2 color questions you posted? Many men are color blind you know 😊

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Comments are always so much fun to read, especially when they're unintentionally funny... I know a lot of people knock it, but I seriously cannot help myself reading YouTube comments: like presently, if you wait long enough, eventually an argument's going to erupt over the subject of bronies.

Charles Cavender said...

You were quite magnanimous to allow Charlie Sheen to vent like that. As always, you are the better man.

MikeBo said...

Ken, I'm glad you commented on this moron and then opened today's discussion. His remarks sounded like he thought he was writing to Roger Simon's blog on Politico. Insane drivel for the most part. I've been reading you for the past several years, bought both books and am standing by to buy the first Ken Levine T-shirt. Keep up the great work. It's enlightening...entertaining...and better than having a private instructor in a writing class.

MikeBo said...

Ken, I'm glad you commented on this moron and then opened today's discussion. His remarks sounded like he thought he was writing to Roger Simon's blog on Politico. Insane drivel for the most part. I've been reading you for the past several years, bought both books and am standing by to buy the first Ken Levine T-shirt. Keep up the great work. It's enlightening...entertaining...and better than having a private instructor in a writing class.

Bob O said...

I'm all for TROLL CONTROL. Luckily, they are not the NORM, NORM, NORM...

Lyle said...

Why not just eliminate the "anonymous" feature? I've long held the position that if you have something to say, you ought to stand behind it with your name.

I don't really pay much attention to anonymous posters.

I'm just sayin' . . . .

Julie Goes to Hollywood said...

He was high, Ken. You know that, right? Poor bastard has no idea he sat around in his underpants last night hurling invectives at random screenwriter bloggers and Tweeting selfies at little Maude Apatow.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

20 years of Internet experience speaking here. Basic rule of the Internet: do not feed the troll.

Best response is for *everyone*, including Ken, to ignore.

wg

Johnny Walker said...

There's been a few comments lately that have left me raising my eyebrows. I've been tempted to respond to them directly, but I've bitten my tongue.

Here's a few things I've noticed about horrible comments on the internet (yes, I think too much):

1. "Trolls" (for lack of a better name) seem to just want attention. Like they're desperately, hopelessly lonely -- which is no fun place to be -- and so want a response from someone. When they don't get attention by being cordial, they slowly devolve into angry hysterics, seeing if they'll get any attention that way. (Much like we all did when we were two years old.)

Strangely, when they eventually DO get attention, they usually become VERY reasonable.

For example, Matt Besser likes to challenge people who write garbage to him. He brings them onto his (very funny) podcast, Improv4Humans, and tries to debate their point with them.

Every single time he invites someone onto the show, they immediately buckle. As soon as they're given all the attention they want (need?) they admit they were wrong, that he was right, that they should have thought things through before posting anything. It's an interesting thing to hear (and it usually leaves Besser disappointed -- he likes to debate things.)

2. I read an article the other day about a famous death (I forget who), and browsed the comments. It shocked me: There were no sarcastic remarks, no jokes in bad taste, no angry remarks about the person in question. What the hell? Then I noticed the date on the article: 2004.

Ah, yes! Back when the internet was more cordial (anyone remember those days?).

I guess it's unhip and uncool, but I'm a strong believer in moderating comments. When people see that one way of conversing is not allowed, and they really feel they have something worth reading to say, they'll usually come back and try again in a more respectful tone.

The problem these days is the sheer volume of comments, but still, sometimes I read a comment and just think: This is going to ruin the day of everyone who reads it -- why do we allow it to exist?

(Some people cry "freedom of speech" at such thoughts -- but a private website is not the public domain. If you really feel you have something to say, nobody is preventing you from setting up your own blog.)

Henry Jones, JR. said...

I trolled a blog once. Couldn't stand the cretin. I came at him from all sides, critical of everything he posted. Picked fights with the commenters, turned half of them against him, half against me, it was really swinging for awhile. But poor widdle blogger couldn't take all the drama, even called me a 'concern troll.' He wrote about saving money, I wrote about saving money to the extreme (in unethical ways) and why he was such fool. What happened to him? He sold his website, now publishes drivel and a post that used to garner 150 comments in a day, now get about three facebook comments because he disabled the old comment system. His traffic and his earnings are way down.
He's a douche, and deserved it. I feel comfortable telling you this because I am anonymous.
Which brings me to you people saying the anonymous option should be disabled. I don't understand it. Why not just make up a name? Why does it have to read anonymous?
Even if you could only comment with facebook or google or yahoo or disqus, you think we don't have fake accounts to do so with? It will stop the random driveby posters, but if someone really has a problem with Ken or want his attention, (not me, this is like only my third time commenting here, but I am a daily reader), they can get the fake account and make their comments, until they get blocked, but they can always come right back through proxies and new accounts.

Johnny Walker said...

PS - Poor Cliff Clavin being lumped in with these horrible commenters. I loved that guy! He was never mean to any of his fellow bar buddies and always had a good heart. He was just a little insecure: Feeling the need to impress everyone all the time.

Johnny Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Perez said...

Lol @ Henry Jones:

Hey look, a Troll! Is this like Biggie Smalls, where you say their name three times and they appear?

Brian Haner said...

Hilarious. You are treasure, my friend. There will always be people who love you and people who hate you. The people who love you, (like me), buy your books, attend your seminars, and listen to you on the radio. The people who hate you, don't. However - the people who hate you are far more entertaining. Thanks for sharing.

Tim W. said...

As someone who is a writer for a popular basketball website, I can COMPLETELY relate to your post. I am too often astounded by the stupidity of people. I was even taken to task for deleting offensive comments because I had no right to do it, apparently.

But these idiots are everywhere. Reading the comments of some websites is akin to wading waist high in a cesspool of the most vile and putrid stuff imaginable.

The most troubling thing, though, is that most of these people vote. Which does explain a lot.

Portland Corey said...

Ken,
You should update your Comment Deleted feature to read: As per the GIFT, this comment has been removed by the author.

Hamid said...

@ "Henry Jones Jr"

Putting aside the fact that you sound rather proud of your trolling exploits, I do wonder whether what you saw as a triumph was, in fact, a Pyrrhic victory, in that this guy provoked such a reaction in you that you felt it necessary to spend a lot of your time attacking him through comments. Some would say he had a degree of power over you. Others would've just ignored him and got on with their lives.

YEKIMI said...

So what if he/she posted as "anonymous". If you really want to know who he/she is, just ask the NSA. My take....I think it's Roseanne. She would have given herself away if the term "asshat" had been used in the rant.

Big Bad Doggy Momma said...

I like puppies

Carrie said...

Many of your posts make me laugh out loud but this is the first time the title did! :)

Liggie said...

On the down side, some posters think anonymous comments are justified, and some websites AGREE with them! See this where a sports site assails a network exec for bashing anonymous commentators: http://www.awfulannouncing.com/2013/june/nbc-sports-executive-producer-sam-flood-blast-critics-who-hide-behind-blogger-names.html (particularly the "I don't need to be accountable to you" from the anonymous commentator).

On the up side, a design website did a hilarious sendup of comment sections, and a commentator even threw in an Obama "barb" too! http://www.core77.com/blog/object_culture/internet_forums_are_driving_me_freaking_crazy_15734.asp?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+core77%2Fblog+%28Core77.com%29

Carson said...

What miserable people the Trolls must be to waste their time posting nonsense. Is there a way for you to remove the possibility of anonymous posts, or just make it clear that any post without a name on it will be deleted without reading it? That way it's not censoring the blog, but holding those who comment as accountable for their comments as you are for writing your blog.

Just a thought.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Bless the trolls. They make marginal carbon-based life forms like me look like friggin' geniuses.

RCP said...

Whew - I was afraid you were going to make an example of one of my comments. I agree that the best remedy is ignoring the trolls - though some can be so offensive it's hard at times to ignore. Long ago I actually believed that a well-reasoned response, backed up with facts, might sway your average troll - boy was I naïve.

With the occasional exceptions, your comments section is a pleasure to read.

Dana Gabbard said...

And to think a few days ago I posted this comment -- I guess I got my answer!!!:

what is the chief reason for removing comments: bad language, rudeness/disrespect, incoherent or out of context, robo-ads, or is there just a "it is my blog and I don't have to put up with that appearng on it" factor sometimes in play? Do you ever have a "really?" reaction to what folks post.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

People are like colors on a palette - we need 'em all to paint the world around us.

Most of the folks on this blog are royal blue, emerald green or vibrant cherry red.

Mr. Troll is diarrhea brown.

He is who he is. Ignore him.

Henry Jones, JR. said...

@Hamid
It gave me great satisfaction to picture him physically ill within an hour of making his scheduled posts, I planted seeds of doubt, anger and uncertainty, enough so that he quashed the once lively dialogue on his posts, which was 90% of why people visited his page, which drove down his traffic. It was the equivalent of toppling a statue of Saddam or any other false idol.

Cap'n Bob said...

I thought it was a rant by a frustrated and failed writer, and laughed at it.

Carson said...

Cap'n Bob, you are very likely right. He (or she) may very well be someone who wants to be a professional writer, but doesn't have the chops, or lives somewhere where that isn't realistic and is ignorant of how multi-cam sitcoms are produced. But they're obviously still trolling as the end of the comment made pretty clear.

Oh, and Ken - Best. Title. Ever!

Tallulah Morehead said...

I had to limit my bog's comments section to just folks with blogger accounts when I started getting homophobic rants so ugly, the Rev. Fred Phelps would call them "over-the-top hateful towards gays."

You want to see an AVALANCHE of trolls of surpassing stupidity? Write something negative about Ayn Rand. (And how can one write with honesty anything good about that evil dead hypocritical cow?) The disciples of that monstrosity Google for her daily, and pounce in mobs on any negative postings on her.

Back when I was writing for the Huffington Post, my columns for months were regularly getting between 30 and 50 comments each week. Then I wrote a column criticizing The Fountainhead, and suddenly there were 225 comments, most of them ravingly insane, preaching selfishness as a virtue, and calling everyone who believed in helping others an endless litany of rude names. I have since encountered the Randroid Phenomena several more times.

DBenson said...

1. Drooling is a natural human function, yet the healthy and pleasurable act of drooling in public is stigmatized by uptight, warped characterizations such as yours. Isn't it bad enough that the dehydration nazis give us grief for leaning over the buffet?

2. Yeah, bad-mouth string collectors and play the dupe for the global string monopolists. Haven't you noticed how few kids are flying kites these days? Or the decline of yo-yos? Or the FedEx guys insisting on using packing tape? Mark my words, when the shortage hits my strategic reserve will be worth its length in gold.

3. This all relates to Obama's personal failure to get a new (and decent!) "Star Trek" series on the air.

benson said...

Totally OT and good news. Nikki Finke tweeted Instant Mom debuted strong. Congrats, Annie and Jon.

Hoverbored said...

Ken, I have a Friday Question: what do you think of internet memes, and how do you explain their appeal? I myself find the phrase "You're the man now, dog!" endlessly hilarious.

Hamid said...

I've got a Friday question for Ken: Do you ever get games developer Ken Levine's fan mail - or residuals - by mistake?

Igor said...


Ken once said - "I mean, some certifiable string-collecting drooling idiots."

Well, for me? I save time now by simply drooling in strings. Though, that's not as much fun for my cats.

PS: Ken, thanks for having and well-stating that POV on this.

Igor said...

DBenson once said - "Drooling is a natural human function, yet the healthy and pleasurable act of drooling in public is stigmatized"

The next time I see a woman sitting on a public bench whilst breastfeeding her baby, perhaps I shall sit down next to her and drool.

You know - To make common cause.

The Most Serene Viscount, Smegmaface von Plausible said...

If they post as Anonymous... I zap them

How is it shedding anonymity, or preserving reasonable adult discussion, to force commenters to "sign in" as 404, Zappa the Unholy, PolyWogg, Julie Goes to Hollywood, Big Bad Doggy Mama, Henry Jones Jr, Barefoot Billy Aloha, Great Big Radio Guy, HoverBored, Cap'n Bob, or Talullah Morehead? And those names are just from this discussion thread.

Anonymous said...

@Henry Jones, JR. Taking pleasure in the suffering of others in an indication of psychopathy. Have you ever been told that before?

Mike Schryver said...

I also though the comment might have been a failed attempt at humor. Either way, it was a bad idea.

I'm glad to see Popular Science cutting out comments. In the science field especially, the equalization of everyone's voice that the internet has brought has been counter-productive. Some voices really are worth more than others, and as PS said, the trolls have actually swayed public opinion on settled matters of science.

VincentS said...

Obviously this person has never written for actors. How does he think STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, CHEERS, or any other great work got that good?

Anonymous said...

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/thought-breaking-bad8217s-finale-rated-off-the-charts-top-tv-finales-proves-differently/story-e6frfmyi-1226730753217

Ken,
You worked on 3 out of the 10 most watched finals in TV history(that I know of).

There are d***heads everywhere but your record stands for itself. The majority of people here respect your achievements and thank you for the laughs, knowledge and pornstar karaoke you bring us each day.
thanks.
Dave

Todd Everett said...

I vote for the "it was a joke" interpretation. Many of mine would be helped by an emoticon, too.

Although I also believe you should really follow through and spike ALL "anonymous" comments.

Aaron Sheckley said...

If you have to explain to people that something was a joke, well...it really wasn't.

Dan Wolfe said...

Clearly the alleged gentleman whose comments you rightly challenge knows nothing about acting or writing. I can only speak as an actor. It's my opinion that comedy in particular is a very personal thing. When everything is working, the stars are aligned correctly and the moon is in the seventh house, a perfectly good joke delivered by a perfectly fine actor may just plain not work. It may work once but not twice. It's no one's fault. It's the nature of performance. HIs failure to understand that displays his ignorance to the world.

Sez me...

Tallulah Morehead said...

The Most Serene Viscount, Smegmaface von Plausible said...

How is it shedding anonymity, or preserving reasonable adult discussion, to force commenters to "sign in" as 404, Zappa the Unholy, PolyWogg, Julie Goes to Hollywood, Big Bad Doggy Mama, Henry Jones Jr, Barefoot Billy Aloha, Great Big Radio Guy, HoverBored, Cap'n Bob, or Talullah Morehead? And those names are just from this discussion thread."
[?]

Well, darling, quite apart from many of this thread knowing who I am, on which I normally comment in my "Real Name," you can click on my name and go to my blog and learn all about me, and if you're really observant, you might even notice the name on my copyright notice a the top of my page, or notice the authors name on the covers of my books posted there.

But yes, I've very anonymous. And parched. I'm dryer than Mormon pornography. I need a vodka martini, heavy on the vodka.

Cap'n Bob said...

I've been using the name Cap'n Bob for a good 30 years, long before the Internet as we know it. I used to add my last name but it created too many useless Google hits.

Anonymous said...

Well, here I am. The guy who wrote the insane drug-fueled rant because his mom was out of the house and left her laptop on.

A few people got it right. It was just a spoof, not a troll. Sorry for disappointing so many of you.

Frankly, I feel like the janitor at Frankenstein's castle being confronted by the torch-wielding townspeople.

"um.. the doctor hit the monster on the head with a shovel, then he set him on fire, then he called me, and we threw the dead carcass into the lake. So.. that's over. The doctor? Oh, he's is in New York doing a TED lecture. He won't be back for another month. I just sweep here twice a week, so.. whatever the problem is.. we're not.. Yeah. Sorry. Sorry. G'night. Sorry."

-Cheers Fan

GC said...

This is one of those moments when i have flashback of great screenplay: 12 ANGRY MEN " This is a quiet, frightened, insignifiant old man who has been nothing all his life. Who has never had recognition or his name in the newspapers. Nobody knows him. Nobody quotes him. Nobody seeks his advice after 75 years."

Mr. Levine, i still hope that one day you will say something about one of my top ten Cheers episode "Truce or consequences". This is my favorite Diane vs Carla.

Good day

Mike said...

It's a longshot but did Cheers Fan used to post as Studio Exec #2 - the author of my favourite comment:
It's for this very reason that I've decided to start an inner-city Mime Workshop. Nothing captures the feeling of social disenfranchisement and urban decay better than a man trapped in an invisible box.

Hamid said...

In fairness to Ken and also to Cheers Fan, who's now said it was a spoof, it's easy to misinterpret online posts. I've made the mistake of thinking a comment was being serious but later turned out to be sarcastic, and equally I've made sarcastic or satirical comments that were taken the wrong way.

Ken wasn't wrong to think this guy was being serious, because, frankly, there are so many trolls online who post insane comments that it's hard to distinguish the genuine ones from the parodies. And obviously it doesn't help that online comments don't come with intonation and cadence that you get when talking to someone.

Perhaps it's best if people put a little smiley next to their spoof comments to underline that it's a joke. Cheesy, yes, but it helps to avoid misunderstandings.

Barry Traylor said...

Of one thing you can be sure Ken, I would never post as anonymous as I am proud of my name as my Mom and Dad gave it to me.
The only thing I can think of to complain about is the horrible way I have to prove I ain't no robot. I'm an Old Geezer and they sure are hard to see.
Your blog is one of the first things I read every morning along with a cuppa Joe as it is always entertaining and amusing. Well, why not your are a comedy writer for goodness sakes. :-)

Johnny Walker said...

Actually, I was Studio Exec #2 - not that he ever trolled anyone or attacked anyone. He was just an amusing voice. (I'd forgotten I'd written that!)

Aaron Sheckley said...

Ah yes, the standard response when you post some hate spewing rant on a forum and then are later embarrassed by it: "Hey guys, it was just a joke. It was my cleverly constructed pastiche on real troll ravings. I'm surprised you couldn't interpret my finely crafted sarcasm."

Ugh. I stand by what I said earlier; if you have to explain to someone that it's a joke, well...then it isn't.

McAlvie said...

I was thinking about this post on my way home last night, and I decided that Ken's posting it was a genius move. What usually happens with trolls? We ignore them, which in their delusion they take to mean that they are so good nobody can touch them. Or they get deleted which just convinces them, because, again, they live in a delusional state, that the moderator is afraid of them.

But by putting it up front and exposing it to the light of day, Ken has shown the troll for the very small, spiteful person that they are.

As as already been said, trolls behave this way because they think they are safe. Of course this one still remains anonymous in that we can't put a name to him, but he is no longer invisible in the crowd.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Anyone who thinks there was a time when the Internet was cordial wasn't there. Try reading 1980s Usenet.

wg

Bill said...

Does this mean I need to lay off my defense of Woody Allen? :)

Gary Mugford said...

When I write something, I attach my name. The real one. Not a cutesy cognomen and most certainly NOT Anonymous. At least, where available. Two instances led to the hardening of my stance on the issue. The first came during a debate in a basketball forum over whether teams can win an NBA title without two superstars and another player approaching that status or having something approaching an All-Star season. The teams discussed were the Jordan-era Bulls and the Houston Rockets. I argued for the positive to the position. Some trolls, and I fell for their hooks like any stupid fish, argued against. And name-calling and ignorance of facts were their tools of their trade. I finally wised up about 20 exchanges too late.

The second situation came shortly after the second invasion of Iraq. Being Canadian, I had an opinion of that little sortie and stated as much on the comments for a blogger I knew was smart, thoughtful and a little right of Attila the Hun over these sort of things. At the last minute, I asked my name be stricken from the comment, for fear of a backlash by readers to the RIGHT of HIS position. And afterwards, I was ashamed. Going Anonymous didn't have any of the stated objectives. My name was out there long enough for a couple of loons how probably vote the straight Tea Party ticket these days to react rather strongly and crudely, both in the comments section and in my own blog's comments. And I was proven right ultimately, but in being so, cost me the internet friendship with the original blogger and his circle.

If you don't have the courage of your convictions than, in the immortal words of Archie Bunker, "STIFLE!" Not that trolls understand the command.

Johnny Walker said...

Of course I was here, Wendy. The Internet is definitely more hostile than it used to be. I'm not saying it was always the Garden of Eden, there were hostilities, but there were less of them. It also used to be easier to get good advice from an expert. These days forums are filled with people eager to be seen as experts, who give opinions on everything and anything, regardless of their actual experience. (Which, in a way, is what led to Q&A sites like StackOverflow.)

Anonymous said...

Now if you can just do something the fawning feliciousnesso of Johny Walker I will be much relieved.

Just kidding. Same as the ridiculous comment about writers

I do think he was trying to be funny and inadvertently proved its harder than it looks :-)

cadavra said...

I've been "Cadavra" for so long that it might be self-defeating to change it at this point, but I've never made any secret of who I am.

jbryant said...

Aaron: A failed joke is still a joke.

I thought it was fairly clear by the last paragraph that the comment was a spoof, but I can see how one could miss that in a casual reading.

By the way, I'm guessing that about 90 percent of "Anonymous" posters simply don't know that all you have to do to sign in with a name is click the "Name/URL" button and type a name (the URL field is clearly labeled "optional").

Anonymous said...

@cadavra Who are you?

Anonymous said...

Aw c'mon. I like Johnny Walker's posts. He always makes a lot of sense and I learn something sometimes. He's the anti-troll. And I'm not being sarcastic. I've seen comments on the internet that look like they came from the bowels of hell. I am sure this particularly bothers Ken b/c he obviously has a great deal of intelligence and uses it all for fun, not maliciousness. Sometimes it's a shock, no matter how many times you see it, to view how very ugly (anonymous) people can get. It's like the ranting rhubarb lady behind a keyboard. Julie, Burlington, Iowa

Aaron Sheckley said...

@jbryant:

Obviously, I would disagree. If you make what you consider to be a joke, and it's either so unfunny or so misinterpreted that someone can't recognize it as a joke, then it isn't a joke, no matter what your intent was. I think the key is intent. You can write a slightly dramatic story and people recognize it as drama; you can write marginal poetry and people still recognize it as poetry, bad as it may be. But if you are writing something that is supposed to be satirical and funny, and it comes across as just another hate spewing rant to the point that most people don't even recognize it as an attempt to be funny, then it's not a joke. I'm not implying that the person who writes it actually means the things he is saying; I'm just saying that it fails on so many levels that it can't be considered a joke.

chuckcd said...

I am trying to decide if Ken is talking about me...

Johnny Walker said...

I'm just trying to figure out what "feliciousnesso" means :)

Aaron Sheckley said...

Johnny, I think it's a new drink at Starbucks.

Mike said...

@Johnny Walker: Thanks for telling me you were Exec #2. I didn't recognise your writing at all. Another of life's little mysteries solved.

Storm said...

I always enjoy Johnny's comments as well; they're always thought-out and usually quite funny. Plus, English, so Bonus Score. Though I think he disdains/fears me. Perfectly understandable, as I am the Lwaxana Troi of posters; my love can be a bit much.

It's just as well... I think I'm ready to move on to Hamid. Hamid, you darling nerd... how YOU doin'? ;)

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Johnny Walker said...

I don't mean to ignore you, Storm. I appreciate the kind words, but I am a little overwhelmed by them :)