Those of you who read a number of blogs here at Freethought Blogs have probably noticed that we’ve had an ongoing infestation. It’s gone by a lot of names, but the commonality is that it can’t stand us talking about equality. I know that this sort of troll is a favorite food for commenters here, but after doing a bit of digging and seeing this guy in several places, I’m going to recommend that people stop engaging and simply report sightings to the blogger in question. Reasons why below the fold.
The first time we saw this guy here was at Pharyngula, where his programmed spam comments full of German song lyrics led PZ to shut commenting down to all but registered users. There, he went by the following:
Using that same email address, he was listed elsewhere on the web a:
emporsteigend (a German word meaning “ascending”)
“emporsteigend” is also the screen name he used at Skepchick while playing oppression Olympics regarding his mental illness and in a long derail about how privilege wasn’t a “scientific” concept. He did something similar later on sister-site Queereka as “Wotan.”
He came back to FtB in between to complain more about “pomo/critical theory” in skepticism at Crommunist’s place and Greg’s, where he was banned after morphing to avoid moderation and acting generally like a misogynist. He griped about “censorship” at Jason’s and took over an unrelated thread at Greta’s to do the same. Then he tried to do the same again. He returned to his “pomo/critical theory” whining at Jen’s and here, both in unrelated threads. After having it pointed out to him in the thread here that he had no idea how privilege was actually understood, he came up with a new theory that would allow him to dismiss women and dumped all over the nearest feminist thread he could find on a blog where he wasn’t banned. Then he did it again at More Than Men.
He specifically targeted threads about sexism and racism. While doing all this, he tried to talk about “Jewish privilege” in the sciences and told us he was scared of Arabs.
He repeatedly noted that he was psychotic, which is confirmed by other sources under the email addresses he’s left. He was abusive toward other commenters and apparently unaware of the fact that he was revealing his identity through both his obsessions and the names and email addresses he was leaving behind. Here are a number of the names he’s used either as handles or in fake email addresses:
Horsa (a Germanic conqueror of parts of England)
Sjurður (a Germanic ruler of parts of Scotland)
Regin Smiður (a folk ballad of the region Sjurður ruled)
Geyer (a German folk hero, a noble who championed a peasants’ rebellion)
KvdH (an abbreviation for Kristoff van der Hever)
Pisstoff vdH (a play on Kristoff van der Hever)
Wodan, id est furor (“Odin, which means ‘fury'”)
Der Gegner (a German word meaning “adversary”)
Des Gegners Hand
Des Gegners Fuß (“adversary’s foot”)
dingansich (a German phrase meaning the unknowable reality of a thing)
nifelhel (the Norse equivalent of purgatory)
That last email address is either his (he denies this, though at least one comment has come from an IP that resolved to the University at Buffalo) or is possibly the identity of another person (Chris Hever, a student in linguistics) that he has adopted and morphed for various online activities. The rest of the names may demonstrate an interest in Germanic music–or they may demonstrate an attitude toward his relationship with the feminist atheist/skeptic blogosphere that is not entirely healthy.
In either case, discussions in which this person take part tend to spiral out of control. They don’t produce anything of value for the people who do engage him. There is also a very good chance that those threads are feeding a manic or paranoid obsession that isn’t going to be at all good for him.
Given all that, if you see a commenter behaving this way, please don’t engage. Squashing the trolls is one thing; messing around with psychosis is entirely different. Nothing good can come of it. Just let the blog owner know what’s going on.
And if you’ve got a blog of your own, the above information in block quotes makes for a handy moderation list. Feel free to use it as such.