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New rule: Integrity and honesty required

As fundamentalists seem to love the way online anonymity enables juvenile trolling, we have yet another new rule here. No anonymous comments. This will immediately separate the (honest) men from the (dishonest) boys, the latter of whom will promptly whine and snivel over how this proves we’re too chicken to allow dissenting views to appear here, all we want is an echo chamber where we preach to the atheist choir, and so on, waah waah waah, I want my invisible space daddy!

Anyone who makes this claim can, of course, be immediately shuffled into the “loser” file and discarded. As always, Christians are allowed to comment here, they are allowed to disagree with us, tell us how wrong and misguided we are not to believe in the Lord, and so on. Only one thing has changed: Christian commenters are now required to demonstrate integrity and the courage of their convictions by attaching a name to their posts. Either you’re here to engage us honestly in stimulating debate, in which case you should have nothing to fear by identifying yourself, or you’re a mindless troll in a state of arrested development. If the former, consider yourself welcome, and we look forward to discussing the arguments you care to bring in support of your beliefs.

Those of you who don’t like the fact that the comments are moderated should realize that it is only the disgraceful behavior of your righteous brothers in Christ that has led to it. Look, it would be very easy to leave the comments entirely unmoderated, and allow your fellow fundamentalists to run amok with one abusive, offensive post after another. It is almost guaranteed this would happen, and happen with such frequency that they’d do all the discrediting of Christians for us, and we’ve rarely if ever have to put up a new post of our own. But as admin, I’d really prefer this blog were a civilized place. Which means the bad guys among you need their leashes jerked. Really, by moderating comments and requiring names on them, I’m doing believers a huge favor, as now every Christian commenter here will be a person with a modicum of character, at the very least. You won’t have the worst among you making all the rest of you look bad.

Comments

  1. Martin says

    You brought it on yourself, doofus. Had to get through to you somehow. Being nice wasn’t working.Anyway, I actually don’t think most other Christians are as mentally ill or just plain all-around bad people as you, Dan, so I anticipate no need for a repeat of what’s past. You were (and I think still are) clearly just so messed up in the head that harsh measures were called for. Unruly children need a good swat now and then.Now, isn’t it time you found a new hobby? Sure it is. Try paintball. Toodles!

  2. says

    I just got a semi-anonymous comment on my blog, apparently about this thread, who named himself simply “w”http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Image:Ahteist-experience.gifthe link was titled “Martin’s way of disagreement”Looks like now I have my own moderating to do.

  3. says

    I like this blog. I’m always impressed with the patience it must take to explain a sincere zealot’s opinion back to hir. Identifying, deleting, and banning trolls takes work as well.But if there’s one argument I reject out of hand, it’s “if you’re not hiding anything, then you shouldn’t have any objections to my knowing everything about you.” This is BS when government proponents use the argument to defend spying or warrentless home and car searches. It’s BS when arguing that lack of testimony when the 5th is invoked must imply guilt. It’s BS when stating that government or industry whistleblowers shouldn’t have anything to fear and can’t be sincere if they wish to remain anonymous. And it’s BS when implying people would only use or defend the anon feature if they’re Christian and being dishonest.This is essentially a private blog, so you can do what you will. And I’m not saying that anonymous posts should be allowed. But the generalized ad hominem portion of the explanation for disallowing anonymous posting, is ill-reasoned.”For civility”? Yes. “Doing folks a favor”? Sure, for the most part. “Anonymity logically means the poster is craven, Christian, and insincere”? That’s just galling.

  4. says

    Dan,You don’t get to use my wiki to host your images. Try one of the many free sites that allow you to store images. Your account at the wiki has been banned and the picture has been removed. You’re free to take a screenshot of this announcement, print it out, roll it up and shove it up your ass.

  5. says

    Martin:Hats off. I admit I was skeptical that the offender was Dan. I thought there were so many nutty apologists with the same arguments out there that it would be easy to confuse one for another.But you were right. Way to peg it.

  6. Martin says

    ouini said: But if there’s one argument I reject out of hand, it’s “if you’re not hiding anything, then you shouldn’t have any objections to my knowing everything about you.”Ouini, you’re waaaay overreacting. Prompting people to put their name to their posts isn’t about some Orwellian desire to “know everything” about them. (Even if it allowed that possibility, which it doesn’t.) It’s just about getting them to come out from hiding behind the anonymity that most often enables trolls to be trollish. We all sign our names here, why shouldn’t those who disagree with us do so too, especially if they think they’re as confident in their positions as we are in ours? It’s about integrity.This is BS when government proponents use the argument to defend spying or warrentless home and car searches… It’s BS when stating that government or industry whistleblowers shouldn’t have anything to fear and can’t be sincere if they wish to remain anonymous.I’ll take Appeal to Emotion for $1000, Alex. Comparing my decision to ask people to sign their names to their comments as a way of filtering out anonymous trolls to governmental warrantless wiretapping programs and the tearing down of civil liberties is, to be blunt, fucking stupid. Nobody can lose a job or their personal freedoms by not being allowed to comment anonymously on the AE blog, as they can in the examples you cite. You’re not just trying to compare apples to oranges here, you’re comparing apples to zebras.And it’s BS when implying people would only use or defend the anon feature if they’re Christian and being dishonest.Have you ever heard the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the bunch?” Of course not all people who choose to post anonymously are offensive trolls. But the fact offensive trolls do post anonymously has forced me to remove the anonymity option, unfair though that may be to the occasional cool person who posts anonymously.This is essentially a private blog, so you can do what you will.You’ve figured it out!But the generalized ad hominem portion of the explanation for disallowing anonymous posting, is ill-reasoned.Seems you’re as ill-informed on the definition of ad hominem as anon. As per the Nizkor Project: “An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.” An example would be: “Bill is a liberal Democrat and a vegetarian to boot, so he can’t be trusted with national security.”My reasons for removing anonymity were solely to weed out the offensive trolls who come here and lob ad hominems and personal attacks against us after we’ve done point-by-point refutations of whatever feeble arguments they started with. And as you said, it’s a private blog, and my perogative. You don’t have to like it, but at the very least try not to misrepresent it.(PS I confess I did resort to an ad hominem against anon in one of my last comments to him. Shouldn’t have done, but yeah, they guy pissed me off. Certainly I don’t think all Christians lack honesty and integrity. It’s just a shame that most of the ones who visit here do. Perhaps by removing anonymity, the ones who show up from now on will be cooler people.)“For civility”? Yes. “Doing folks a favor”? Sure, for the most part. “Anonymity logically means the poster is craven, Christian, and insincere”? That’s just galling.Except when the content of the anonymous post makes it abundantly clear the poster is all three of those things. And posts have always been moderated due to content up to now, with many anonymous ones (a large portion of which were non-offensive) approved. Again, you’re misrepresenting my position. Try, “Anonymity has enabled craven, Christian, and insincere trolls in the past; removing it is the best way to weed them out.” Simple as that.

  7. says

    There’s a big difference between eliminating anonymity and “knowing everything” about people who post.It doesn’t matter (to me) if you lie about your name and your profile – having *some* consistent label adjacent to your comments clears up confusion. It keeps us from looking at the IP of every “anonymous” in order to know where our comments are directed.Let’s not over-react.

  8. Martin says

    Right. Even a ‘nym is a name. You don’t have to provide a driver’s license, fer crying out loud.

  9. says

    MARTIN: It’s just about getting them to come out from hiding behind the anonymity that most often enables trolls to be trollish … Of course not all people who choose to post anonymously are offensive trolls.Then say *that*.MARTIN: Comparing my decision to … the tearing down of civil liberties is, to be blunt, fucking stupid.I wasn’t comparing your decision to anything. I was comparing the reasons you gave (the heavy implication that people who use anonymity must be guilty) to arguments we have all heard by those who believe authority won’t abuse power, so declare there’s no *honest* reason to protect one’s privacy.That’s all. I’m not comparing magnitude of censorship, just the stated reasons.MARTIN: “An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.” This isn’t really relevant, but when you reject arguments/ claims/ posts on the basis of some irrelevant fact like the anonymity of the author, that would be…?Honestly, even if it’s better categorized under another logical fallacy, like hasty generalization, my point is the same. I get that a few spoil things for the many. And I don’t care if / don’t think there’s anything wrong with you eliminating anonymity on your blog. I was recoiling at the false dichotomy you apparently presented of honest non-anon debators vs. mindless anonymous loser trolls.MARTIN: My reasons for removing anonymity were solely to weed out the offensive trolls.Again, I don’t have a problem with that. I was just reacting to what I read — if I was misrepresenting your position, I’m very sorry.

  10. Martin says

    And I’m sorry if I was unclear in my original explanation, or if I misunderstood your concerns. It really did sound like you were making those comparisons.I really wasn’t trying to imply that all anonymous commenters should be considered guilty of trolling until proven innocent. It is simply the case that anonymity has been something that’s enabled trolls before, and our most recent out-of-hand anontroll was just the proverbial last straw.I was recoiling at the false dichotomy you apparently presented of honest non-anon debators vs. mindless anonymous loser trolls.I think that the reason you think I was making such a false dichotomy, when I really didn’t mean to, is that I was not as clear on distinguishing honest from dishonest anon posters as I could have been. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, ouini. I’ll endeavor for greater clarity in the future. (Though, as I’ve been told I talk too much, I’m afraid I may be about to get even worse at that!)

  11. says

    > “An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.”This is interesting. I’ve noticed recently a trend toward people misusing the term “ad hominem” on other boards. They seem to be classifying it as “insulting someone.” I don’t know why this misunderstanding is so pervasive. I also recall one poster on this blog who beligerently asked something like: “Is it an ad hominen if it’s _true_?!” (rhetorically, as if he thought it was not).An insult is not an adhominem. And an ad hominem may be true or false.Ad hominems are meant to be used as red herrings or distractions to detract from the argument, by equating a negative element about the person arguing with his argument somehow being invalid.This is not the same as, for example, pointing out someone is an ackknowledged alcoholic in an argument about prohibition–where the person may well be biased due to their connection with the problem. However, discounting their arguments _automatically_, simply because the individual is a known alcoholic would be an ad hominem; because even with their problem, they could still make a valid point.So, if I’m talking government with someone, who I believe does illicit drugs, and I call him a “dope head”–that’s not an ad hominem (whether he does or doesn’t do the drugs, it’s still not an ad hominem).It doesn’t become an ad hominem unless I add something like: “You’re a dope-head, so how could you possibly have a grasp on anything–including government issues?!”A good layout for ad hominem is here:http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html1. Person A makes claim X. 2. Person B makes an attack on person A. 3. Therefore A’s claim is false. The attack being true or false, again, is irrelevant. And if #3 is not employed, then no insult or negative comment or accusation is an ad hominem.I know most of our regular posters understand this–but I wanted to clarify it, again, because I have seen so many recent misconceptions of this fallacy on other atheist boards as well.

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