Saturday, January 02, 2016

First New Year's resolution: I'm done with trolls

I guess my blog is getting really popular.  I seemed to have attracted a fair number of trolls.  Lucky me.   My policy has always been to just delete them and move on.   It only takes a couple of clicks; I'm sure much less time than it takes the trolls to post them.   But it's a nuisance.   And I'm tired of it.

Usually they just write obscene or hateful things about me -- like my feelings are going to be hurt because of what some moron says.   Occasionally they go after you and I have every faith that you're smart enough not to take any of it personally.   It doesn't take a genius to realize these are sad pathetic souls. 

But when they start writing hateful stupid things about Wayne Rogers it's time to draw the line.  So for the present I am instituting a new comments policy.  I will be moderating all comments before publishing them.  I'm done with the trolls. 

I still want to strongly encourage everybody to comment.  I check the blog quite frequently throughout the day so there will be a very brief lag time between when you comment and when it appears.  This will also eliminate spam.

One of the joys of doing this blog is receiving your feedback.   Often the comments are better than the posts.   Just yesterday I laughed out loud at one.  By reader Michael commenting on Bob Eubanks & Stephanie Edwards retiring from hosting the Rose Parade.   Michael posted:

Ken's favorite Rose Parade commentators, Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, are retiring after this year, saying they want to concentrate on other things. And I'm thinking, you work one day a year!

I can't tell you guys how many times I've read one of your comments and thought, "Damn!  I wish I had written that!"  

So thank you and please keep the cyber cards & letters coming in.

This will mean a little extra work and monitoring for me and patience from you, but I think under the circumstances it's worth it.  I fully encourage free expression (even criticism and opposing views) but I don't want my readers to be subjected to disrespectful obscene content meant only to antagonize and annoy.   Who needs that shit?

So again, thanks for your understanding.  I hope to hear from you soon.  Unless you're an asshole.

63 comments:

Scott Cason said...

How pathetic of a life can a person have than to feel the need to attack Wayne Rogers?

Richard Y said...

Good move, I know a lot of sites that do this.

Stephen Marks said...

Please don't take away that rotating circle before the check mark pops up, it makes my day.
That last line threw me as my ex-wife thinks I'm an asshole so now I have to get on Ken's good side to get my post in, so here we go: Whittney Cummings is a hack, Roseanne is shrew, Mary Tyler Moore has a bad side we never see, a 3 hour movie is an hour too long, Vin Sculley and Larry Gelbart are co-Gods and, oh, R.J. Wagner killed Natalie Wood, there that should do it.

Tim Gray said...

Stand your ground! Thanks for taking a stand for decency against trolls. Love your column and read it every day. You are the ONLY writer who could make me read about baseball or sports. So you've broadened my world even if just a little bit. {Sorry, I still for some reason cannot enjoy the hammy self-aware Phil Silvers in Bilko. But thanks to your columns, I try watching now and again to see if my baseline has shifted....]

Peter said...

A completely understandable decision, Ken. Trolls like the oxygen thief who's been posting here recently are sad loners with no life and no social skills. I actually feel kinda sorry for the loser. You have an awesome career and family, whilst he wakes up every day knowing he's not worth spit.

P.S. If you haven't seen Daddy's Home yet, there's not only the jokes about recording radio station promos and a MASH reference that I mentioned the other day but I forgot to say there's also a Mary Tyler Moore reference too!

Mike Barer said...

The upside is we now know you read our feedback and that it really matters.

mmryan314 said...

I`m happy that you are taking a proactive stance on trolls- they have ruined so many otherwise friendly internet discussion groups. I also admire your commenters because they rarely, if ever, engage with them. Love your blog. Happy New Year.

Pizzagod said...

I'm a fan-who started reading you through Mark Evanier, and my only regret is that you only post once a day (what, you got a life?) and I think as sad as it is that you have to do extra work, it's a sad fact of life on the internet that people seem emboldened to be stupid.

I don't see any problem with this resolution or any objection to it. I am all for free speech, but like in my blog, I've told people that this is MY little corner of cyber-space real estate, and I have very few rules but if you break them you need to go. Just go. (My rules are no racist comments, and although a degree of misogny is a given (I like pretty women) I don't allow objectification or just plain rudeness.

Ever since I started just deleting stuff like this without a backwards glance, I've slept very well.

So you just keep up the terrific work-and if anybody has a problem with it, screw 'em.

Can we still mock Donald Trump?

mmryan314 said...

I`m happy that you are taking a proactive stand against trolls who try to create dissention on blogs and discussion forums. I`'ve seen far too many otherwise friendly conversations ruined by them. And too- I`'ve admired the way most if not all of your commenters have ignored engaging them. Happy New Year.

tavm said...

I'm glad you're taking a stand, Ken! Happy New Year!

Michelle said...

Love your blog, Ken. I read it first thing every morning.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Good.

Now you only have to worry about some beach bum layabout making insane comments about things he doesn't understand...

:)

Michael said...

Ken, this should embarrass you enough not to post it, but when an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer says I made him laugh out loud, my year is complete. The problem is, it's only January 2. I might as well go back to bed for the rest of the year.

As for trolls, I live in Las Vegas, where Sheldon Adelson just bought our daily newspaper. Now, Adelson's politics are bad enough, but he's more liberal than the editorial writers who now work for him, and the commenters on that paper's website make Donald Trump look like Mother Teresa. I suppose it's a symptom of the internet, but I do notice that the nastiness of the commenter tends to increase when the commenter has a fake screen name.

VincentS said...

I can't believe it, Ken. How could anyone say anything bad about Wayne Rogers? He was a consummate actor who entertained millions of people who never did any harm to anyone. In all the years he was around there was never even a hint of a rumor of him behaving like what certain other celebrities who shall be nameless are being accused of. As you say, he appeared in MASH reunions even though he left the show which certainly shows that he maintained a good relationship with his former employers and co-stars - He could have, for example, easily resented Alan Alda and the producers for reducing his role but instead he took the high road. He even admitted that he may have made a mistake in leaving. In the course of a day, try finding THREE people who can admit without an argument that they're wrong! And he was a successful entrepreneur making him someone even libertarians could love! But as you said, what these trolls say is only a reflection of the meaninglessness of their own lives. I only hope his loved ones haven't heard any of this garbage.

Carol said...

Ken, I'm glad you've taken this step. I have no interest in the psychology behind what motivates trolls to do what they do or in how fulfilled or meaningless their lives may be. All I know is that trolls are like a cancer, and I've seen them kill far too many interesting internet forums. One attracts others, and they have a tendency to encourage discussions to take on an unnecessarily nasty, sarcastic, smartass tone. They drive away posters who get tired of the ugliness and the negativity. They have a way of taking over discussions and making far too much of what is talked about them and their garbage. I'm glad you've chosen to curtail this.

It amazes me how the anonymity of the internet can bring out the worst in some people, who find it easy to be an unrepentant jerk when they know no one will know who they really are.

MikeK.Pa. said...

First robots. Now trolls. The list of posters is narrowing. Is there no end?!
It won't affect 99.9 percent of the posters (people, not four-pagers). A little delay for the post won't hurt. Actually, I've sent corrected spellings in enough of my posts, that this will actually HELP me.

Curt Alliaume said...

This new policy makes complete sense, and I commend you for it. I truly, truly wish sports sites (yes, I'm looking at you, CBSSports.com) would put a similar policy in place, or at the least only allow people to comment using their Facebook profile, so they can't hide their horrible comments behind fake names.

And you would be amused by this: before I switched to the KTLA live stream of the Tournament of Roses Parade yesterday, I was treated to NBC commentator Hoda Kotb referring to Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern as Elizabeth Montgomery.

DwWashburn said...

I know it's a copyrighted phrase, but Two Thumbs Up!

Roger Owen Green said...

Somebody said that Donald Trump is like Internet trolls personified. I ALWAYS approve comments to my blog Because Schmucks.

Janice said...

Having grown up in the Valley but now living in North Carolina, I went to turn on the Rose Parade and was looking all over for the Bob Eubanks broadcast. My husband made fun of me because "everything has to be like it was when you were a kid." Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Anyway, I finally found it on the Hallmark channel and I was enjoying it - until Bob announced that this was his last year as host. I am devastated! I've been enjoying his calm demeanor and pleasant voice every year since I was 11 years old. When my husband asked me what the big deal was, I switched to another channel where Hoda Kotb happened to be jumping up and down yelling, "Tweet us!"

And thank you for killing the trolls.

therealshell said...

Some of the most onerous trolls live in a bridge under www.imdb.com

H Johnson said...

Sorry you have to go through this. You go to a lot of effort to give something good to the world and these cowards hide in their mother's basement pushing out their stupidity. I'm sure you thought about quitting entirely, but I'm sure glad you're taking the step you are instead.

Here's to a great New Year with fewer jackasses and much more aloha. Thank you for your efforts.

Igor said...

I don't know if there's such a system for Blogspot, but some platforms allow you to "whitelist" individual registered commenters, while others have their comments go into the to-be-reviewed queue. Yes, that'd mean two classes of commenters, but it would cut down on your work & time lags. FYI.

YEKIMI said...

Saw "Daddy's Home".....save your money. Can't stand Will Ferrell's cut and paste performance he has in every movie he makes. The radio station scenes were about as unbelieveable as I have ever seen although Thomas Haden Church's character wasn't too far off the mark of some people I have worked with. But I have never worked at any station where they brought in people to sing their station ID, they always got PAMS or JAM or some other jingle/promo production company to do them. Closest we ever came to doing that was have some local celeb or rock/pop star passing through town to do a station ID blurb.

I can see people saying mean things or not liking an actor for whatever reason. But to say mean things when they die? Unless they did something pretty heinous after they were no longer an actor [i.e.: Bill Cosby] no reason for it, even if you didn't like them. My mom was that way with Johnathan Harris playing Dr. Smith on "Lost In Space". She went bonkers when he was on the screen saying how he couldn't stand him, he was so evil, etc and would walk out of the room. Even as a kid I knew he was just acting and basically told her "Mom, it's called "acting" for a reason." But Supreme Being forbid I ever say anything bad about any one of her "Dope" operas or the actors on them, she'd tear me a new asshole.

LouOCNY said...

Thank you, Ken - it means a lot for us relatively sane posters and readers!

Anonymous said...

>Can't stand Will Ferrell's cut and paste performance he has in every movie he makes.

Elf is an excellent movie that most actors would have ruined. Ed Norton might just have committed suicide during filming.

Peter said...

Yekimi

It's a comedy, not a documentary about radio stations.

But I agree Will Ferrell is the same in every movie. Even so, I thought it was fun.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I understand completely, Ken. I saw the post which was the final straw (before you rightfully deleted it) and your new policy is the only sane response. I'm sorry that you have to do it.

(You might decide to not post this, as it sort of feeds the troll. That's okay by me; no offense taken.)

Johnny Walker said...

Ken said: "I fully encourage free expression (even criticism and opposing views) but I don't want my readers to be subjected to disrespectful obscene content meant only to antagonize and annoy. Who needs that shit?"

Exactly this. There's enough hateful garbage in the world, we don't need more of it. I don't know where some people get the idea that their right to "free speech" flows into someone else's website, but it doesn't. To comment here is a privilege, not a right.

Thanks for clearing things up here, Ken (although I'm glad to say I didn't read any of the negative comments about Wayne Rogers).

(I really think the internet would be a better place if there was more accountability. I'm sure someone clever is working on a solution, but until then, I guess we have to do it by hand. Good job, Ken.)

Johnny Walker said...

That's a good point, Igor. Wordpress allows you to whitelist commenters -- approve a comment they've made, you won't need to approve them again. I could help you migrate your blog to Wordpress (which is a great blogging platform, with more features than Blogspot - many major websites are built on it, including Variety and The New Yorker). Just let me know if you'd be interested, Ken (although this may all blow over shortly anyway).

emily said...

I was glad to see you caught that hateful comment quickly Ken. That was very tasteful, as is this filtering move.

However, I was curious enough to go to the troll's blog. Not surprising, it was filled with more of the same dreadful bile. A sad human being for sure, one in need of professional help.

Thanks for all you do!

Buttermilk Sky said...

I can't believe anyone, even a troll, would object to your graceful and heartfelt tribute to Wayne Rogers. That's almost as trashy as picketing a funeral. Sorry you've had to take on the extra work of chasing them away.

Snoskred said...

If there is one thing trolls HATE, it is to be moderated. ;) I applaud your concept here.

Great first resolution! Now I have to admit, I am a little scared to see how awesome the others are..

Mine is just to move more and eat less/better which is pretty boring.

Mike said...

First, they came for our robots. And we did nothing.
Then, they came for our trolls. And still, we did nothing.
Quick! Hide the infinite number of monkeys with the typewriters. They're our last hope for literature.

Ernie said...

Two questions. I'll make them brief.
One, what qualities does your writing partner, David Isaacs, bring to your collaborative work that you have trouble doing or can't do; likewise, what do you bring to the partnership that David Isaacs doesn't do or doesn't do as well (i.e. what are some of your strengths and weaknesses both in your writing and in your business partnership)?
Two, what does your daughter, Annie, do as a writer that makes you go, "damn, I can't believe that's my kid."? What are the things your daughter does in her writing you don't do as well or have trouble doing?

K.W. Leslie said...

The reason I don’t read certain blogs’ comments, or ever bother to comment myself, is because nobody moderates, so the trolls run amok. Now that I know you’re moderating, I know it won’t be a massive waste of my time. Oh, it’ll be a waste, but not a massive waste. Thanks!

Brian said...

Ken, Thanks for the blog. I'm sorry that its going to be extra effort for you now, but we appreciate it. Please keep the movies reviews coming. They don't have to be new movies, I liked "Netfix gems" too.

Katie Go. said...

You really must be on top of your "troll comment deleting game." I usually read the comments to your posts once in the morning and once in the evening and have never actually come across a mean spirited comment. Kudos. Sorry you have to take this extra measure though. I've been reading your blog for years, but rarely comment. Perhaps in this new year, I should make more of an effort to do so.

Mike Schryver said...

It's sad that it's come to this - I'm glad I missed the troll comments. I was here in the morning before they showed up, and later only saw a bunch of "comment deleted". Thanks for providing this service, Ken, and I hope the mere fact that the comments are moderated will mean they don't bother to make more work for you.

Dan Ball said...

Ken, you should add INSTANT MOM to your profile's list of shows you've worked on. :)

Johnny Walker said...

Something of possible interest to you, Ken: ALMOST PERFECT is on Netflix... in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden! :)

There's plenty of services that allow you to change your Netflix region, so those who have such services can watch it now!

https://flixsearch.io/movie/almost-perfect

It's a start :)

Mike Barer said...

No doubt, folks that are not aware your doint this are posting their comments two or three times, when they find out that they are not showing up right away.

RyderDA said...

Now Ernie has tapped one heck of a Friday question: "What does your daughter, Annie, do as a writer that makes you go, "damn, I can't believe that's my kid."? That the bestest of best questions for parents to answer: How do our kids get so good? Were they with You or against you? What did you do to raise such a talented kid? And what "parenting" advice would you offer?

Trolls suck, BTW.

gottacook said...

Another blog I frequently visit, blog.hemmings.com, appends the message "Your comment is awaiting moderation" when you first see your reply after it's published. One comment above suggests this can't be done with Blogger.

gottacook said...

Just to clarify, since I can't see what I just wrote: Unlike your new system, commenters at Hemmings can see their comment as soon as it's published (with the "awaiting moderation" note added), but no one else can see that comment until it's approved.

Lynn B. said...

Question:
I've been catching Doogie Howser, MD as a background while I work on other things, on AntennaTV. I have noticed that his journal entries are dated about a week after the original broadcast date listed on my guide. These aired late 80s, early 90s, So how easy was it to predict an airdate for an episode when they had to commit to a date on the journal entry when they did the shot? They always seemed to fall a week short, somehow got the winter breaks down pretty well, but never seemed to get the date down to the exact airdate or even a few days before it, which would seemingly be more believable than a date that was in the future for the at-home audience. They were consistent, but the date always seemed to be ahead, so it seems as if they knew the formula, but opted to stay ahead of it, rather than on or behind it.

Barry Traylor said...

Thank you very much Ken for this. I despise trolls and all their ilk. As much as I love the internet and the wealth of information I have at my fingertips I have never been happy with it's darker side.
And I apologize for the double posting yesterday, I thought either A. I goofed or B. there was a problem with my computer. Now I know you are checking for trolls before we can see out posts.

Pat Reeder said...

Ken, I think I discovered your blog when I was at a Women In Film event at a Dallas video production facility, and someone said you'd been in town the night before, talking to a writers' group. I wanted to see if you had any other events, so I Googled you. Turned out you'd already left Dallas, but I found this blog and started reading through the archives. I not only enjoyed your informative and entertaining posts, but also read all the comments, something I don't do anywhere else.

It seemed that most of the commenters were either professional comedy writers like me, people interested in becoming writers, or at least people with the intellectual wherewithal to appreciate the topic. I don't know if it was the notoriety from the Time Magazine accolade, but I had recently noticed some pointlessly idiotic, pugnacious, racist and Anti-Semitic posts appearing before you could zot them. As I've often said, the great thing about the Internet is that it gives everyone a megaphone. The bad thing about about it is that it gives EVERYONE a megaphone. Something I've learned having to monitor the comments for my hot wife's YouTube music videos and other social media channels.

I'm sorry you now have to go to the trouble of monitoring comments, but think of it as the price of success: your light is shining so brightly, it's now attracting mosquitoes and even dung beetles. It's just too bad there's no automatic way to screen them out. Maybe after they solve a simple picture puzzle to prove they're not robots, they could do a few simple math equations to prove they're not morons.

Diane D. said...

I'm so glad I didn't see the troll's comments about Wayne Rogers, and I'm sorry you have to do extra work to avoid those disgusting statements. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

I can't believe ALMOST PERFECT is on Netflix in Scandinavia, Johnny Walker! I hope I can figure out how to get it. or have the service that allows it. I've only seen 3 episodes, but fell in love with the characters and would LOVE to see more. Thank you for sharing that information.

Johnny Walker said...

That's the way blog spot works, gottacook. I have the same setup in my blog. Sometimes people resend the same thing, but usually people get it.

gottacook said...

Of course an "awaiting moderation" note would primarily be for the benefit of newcomers to the site - a courteous thing to do if you're hoping to attract newcomers, and not in the least offensive to regular commenters.

Unknown said...

Amen

DrBOP said...

The '63 Corvette comes to a ROARing sliding stop, spraying sand for a hundred feet. Just before it comes to full stop, a man as pale as a tall drink of vanilla milkshake slips out of the driver's door, leaving it wide open, and the engine running.

He's off at a trot to the center of the half-mile circle in the sand. There stands an aged and ornery figure, who emits a very powerful aura. As the driver approaches, he is beckoned by the flicker of a wry smile on the wise visage.

However, the closer he gets, it becomes frustratingly obvious that the old man is not quite all there. He's mumbling something incomprehensible, and he has that thousand-mile millennial-like stare that says system shut-down.

With no time to waste, the driver shakes the old man, screaming at him....
"Rowdy! ROWDY!!! I gotta know what to do about all these freakin' trolls!"

And like magic, the old cowboy's vision clears, and he leans over so the drver will hear him....
"Kill 'em all Kenny.....KILL 'EM ALL!"




Universe and Everything alt end

....and he leans over and whispers in his last breath....

"Trolls ain't nothin' but sllorts spelled backwards."

Donald Benson said...

There are people who really need comment moderation away from the keyboard. I envision a device that intercepts brain instructions to the mouth and analyzes the intended verbalization in the context of audio and visual cues, then allows or blocks the intended comment, in the latter case substituting a generic, inoffensive "Well well" or "Dude."

Or, like Cliff on Cheers, you hire a guy to administer an electric shock when you say something stupid.

PS -- I'm not a robot. I'm an algorithm.

Igor said...

Johnny Walker, that's a generous offer to help Ken migrate to a different platform. I suppose that could be done going forward while leaving this one up and running for what's been posted here.

I've had good experience (as a commenter) with blog platforms that use Disqus - and I know Disqus has whitelisting capabilities. Apart from moderation features, Disqus also has up and down voting (though, in a sign of the times, it now only shows totals for up-votes). And it nests comment threads.

Ken, sorry for the presumptuousness of suggesting you change platforms. Frankly I'd thought that since I found your blog, though I never suggested it because I wanted to be a polite guest. But now with your decision to (pre-)moderate comments... I saw my opening. Carpe carp.

Mike Moody said...

I write (well, wrote) for a relatively well known Cubs blog and we lost one of our writers. It was sudden and completely unexpected. We had a buffoon laughing at his death when he knew full well that the deceased's family would be reading. It was one of the worst parts of a rough day and I total understand where you're coming from on this. Hopefully they catch on and go away now.

suek2001 said...

Ken..It's a wise move to keep the trolls out...Free speech is a wonderful thing but trolls have a way of making YOUR blog about them..and their feelings...It's supposed to be YOUR blog.
I also moderate comments on my blog...so that all 20 of my yearly readers get the full experience...
I cannot fathom why anyone would take shots at Wayne Rogers..
Don't they know he was really built like a son of a gun?
Keep on keepin' on...your blog inspires me and a lot of other wannabe writers...

McAlvie said...

I'm sad that you've had troll problems, but I appreciate your efforts to keep the comments section safe for interesting and informative discussion. Your blog is like your living room, and you have a right to expect good behavior of your guests. Some people just have no manners, and they should not be allowed to ruin things for everyone else, so thanks.

Matt said...

Hi Ken,

I am a big fan of the blog, but I think you are making a mistake. I know it infuriates you that some a-hole attacks somebody you have respect for. But us commentors are big boys, we can recognize a-holes also.

I have not seen a big problem on you blog, just a few people. I don't think the additional work of you looking at every post is necessary or good for the blog. I think deleting them after they are posted is sufficient.

Thank you for your effort on this blog.

Jeff :) said...

Hi Ken,

I have a Friday question for you (I know this isn't the Friday questions post but since there wasn't one last week I'll post it here).

Do you think it's important at all for writers to be mindful of the ever increasing popularity of binge watchers? I recently re-watched the first 2 seasons of a drama series. A character is killed off midway through the 2nd season that, when I watched the show live, had an emotional impact on me. However, when I binge watched it, I noticed several logical issues and the impact of the moment was not nearly the same. I've found this to be true of other shows I've binge watched. Your thoughts?

Unknown said...

I found your blog from NewsFromMe, and enjoy it, even the comments. I've used the internet before, so I am used to trolls. Even back to the bulletin board days. When I see a post "removed by moderator" and I think, I wonder what it said. You will still get trolls trying to post, but now you read it first, instead of later. For your sake, so you can do more great posts, I suggest not filtering until after the posts, as you have been doing it. The 1 or 2 idiot posts you can delete (censorship), but it is your lawn, you can keep the kids off (they are taking my guns!). But, your blog, your rules, but trolls are easy to spot. Happy New year!

Kiri Blakeley said...

How 'full' does your life have to be to troll a writer's blog? Bizarre!

stbyra said...

MOre a question for you than a comment:
As you know, we lost the great Roger Rees this past year. Did you ever write for his character Robin Colcord on Cheers? Any stories you'd like to share with us?
Thanks,
Susan