Watch found on bat cruise »« E. J. Dionne report

Sorry about this, gang

…But I’ve activated comment moderation again, at least until a certain mentally ill Canadian gets bored and fucks off. It’s just easier to run interference on his unhinged ravings than be constantly logging on all day to delete them. To all our loyal regulars, just consider things business as usual. Don’t let moderation keep you from commenting. Either Kazim or I will approve your posts, no problem. Yes, “Mr FreeThinker,” we’ll even approve you, because even though you couldn’t argue your way out of a wet paper bag, you are not to my knowledge a known psychotic or wannabe domestic terrorist. And your comments do keep the threads lively.

Comments

  1. says

    Er, do we have to have moderation of everyone?If only we had, like, these electrically powered computing machines on, like, a huge worldwide network with the technology to selectively filter out the rantings of individuals on that network….wouldn't that be way cool – that way we wouldn't have to punish everyone for the misdeeds of a few?LS

  2. says

    Agreed. It's one thing to ban sincerely posted opinions that, bright or not, are at least coherent–even if in opposition to the message at the Blog. But I can't see a benefit to allowing incoherent ravings on the comments section. Thanks for handling it.

  3. says

    Hey Martin, not sure if you are aware of this, but Mabus has been making genuine threats over at PZ's blog, stuff about killing him and his family, attacking his school, etc. PZ got the cops and the canadian law enforcement involved. There's no need to post this as an actual comment, best in my mind not to give a troll any food. I just wanted to let you know so that you can forward him anything that mabus is saying as it might be relevant to the people handling the case. If you choose to contact him, I'm sure he would appreciate at least being aware of it…

  4. says

    As a Canadian, it's often instructive to be reminded periodically that Americans don't have a monopoly on batshit-crazy (as a nation, our cultural identity revolves around making fun of Americans in order to emphasize some sort of distinction between us). Between this and PZ's recent issues, I'd say we're getting an extra helping of that reality.

  5. says

    I've noticed it's been several hours now since my first response to this post and it still hasn't shown up. So if I may worry out loud a bit……My participation in moderated forums – at least those that are normally free but undergo "crackdowns" on undesirable posts from time to time – has tended to drop off over the years and I now only contribute to one or two. I've always been mildly concerned about supporting environments where one or several persons assume authority to arbitrate what is or is not acceptable content without employing some form of democratic process, no matter how well intentioned or clearly motivated by reason it is (as I'm sure is the case here). I know spam and other clearly inappropriate material has to be controlled and I assume by default that's the justification this time.Nevertheless, I usually do begin to lose interest in forums when I start having to be careful about what I say in even the mildest way in order to avoid a possible penalty of restraint or even censorship in case I might put someone's nose out of joint.I certainly hope that's not happening here all of a sudden. And I won't make any more of a deal out of this at this time, except to say that I will be a little more attentive to this going forward.LS

  6. says

    Incidentally, one of the comments I just moderated by the Canadian in question said something rather graphic about what he would like to do to my rear end.Naturally, I feel nothing but joy for Mabus when I see how comfortable he is proclaiming to the world his status as an out of the closet gay man. However, due to the nature of my committed relationship, I am forced to decline his flattering and tempting offer.

  7. says

    LS, Martin is clearly talking about Dennis Markuze, aka David Mabus, who, every few weeks, spams the science/skeptic/atheist blogosphere with long, off-topic, abusive, copy-pasted posts about how Randi is a fraud and atheists are wrong and Nostradaumus is awesome. His rants are all over the Internet, and they're all the same, and they're clearly the writings of someone with severe mental disorders. More recently, Dennis has taken to making death threats to PZ, and likely to others, given his usual MO. All Martin is doing here is making sure that we don't have dozens of comment threads turning into Markuze's personal TimeCube site/bell tower. This is far more spam removal than censorship, it's just that Blogger's options for either are limited.

  8. Martin says

    Yazbec: Oh yes, well aware. I still have the email copies of Markuze's comments and if they get worse, I'll act as necessary.ls: What George said. And for the record, this is far from the first time we've enabled moderation.To address your questions more succinctly:Er, do we have to have moderation of everyone?Yes, we do, because unfortunately blogger.com does not offer specific banning of individual commenters by IP address or anything like that. (And even if it did, Dennis Markuze would be hard to ban in this way, as he has proven to be at Pharyngula, because he hops around and posts from numerous locations with numerous IP's.) I actually consider that a real negative in the service they provide, but short of taking the whole blog down and hosting it elsewhere (which would totally fuck with our Google ranking and what have you), there's nothing to be done about it.I've always been mildly concerned about supporting environments where one or several persons assume authority to arbitrate what is or is not acceptable content without employing some form of democratic process…Well then, allow me to clue you in on a concept. This is our blog, and as admins, it is entirely the prerogative of myself and Kazim to "assume authority to arbitrate what is or is not acceptable content," just as it is the prerogative of a newspaper editor to decide what is acceptable content to publish in his paper. This is not a democracy. If I throw a party at my house and some attendee decides he wants to take a shit on my living room floor, would you complain when I throw him out about the way I'm "assuming absolute authority" instead of putting the matter to a democratic vote? If you would, you'd be an idiot. Here's a hint: It's my house.Having said that, I do not know how I could possibly have made it clearer in this post that, for our regular readers, everything is business as usual, and that the worst you might experience is the momentary inconvenience of having a short wait between the time you write your comment and the time it gets posted. I think you'll live.I usually do begin to lose interest in forums when I start having to be careful about what I say in even the mildest way in order to avoid a possible penalty of restraint or even censorship in case I might put someone's nose out of joint.Well, you know, as long as you refrain from hitting us with repeated, foul mouthed histrionic death threats, I think you'll be good. Again, where was I unclear that regular comments, even from theists we disagree with like Mr Freethinker, were still welcome?

  9. says

    "This is not a democracy"Sorry, I only participate in non-patriarchal, representative enterprises, where I have an objective way to determine if any of my remarks will be judged "foul mouthed" and "histrionic" or not and censored or not.Big happy families are not my style. You've lost a participant – see ya.L won't-let-the-door-hit-my-ass-on-the-way-out S

  10. says

    I for one will miss your contributions, LS, but I think you will find that you are extremely hard pressed to find any blog author with even a moderate sized readership who has not experienced the need to work actively at keeping the comments section free of spam, severely off topic posts, and trolling. It's rarely practical to put every deletion up for a vote.Nevertheless, if this upsets you then I obviously can't make you stay. So long.

  11. says

    "Sorry, I only participate in non-patriarchal, representative enterprises, where I have an objective way to determine if any of my remarks will be judged "foul mouthed" and "histrionic" or not and censored or not."You've found a way out of reality?

  12. says

    Wow, that was bit like "I don't want to stay in a hotel where the room service cleans up after people who vomited into the corridor."

  13. Martin says

    ls, if you're simply going to ignore my careful explanations, and instead adopt this bizarre notion that, because I am moderating comments in order to hold at bay a known mentally ill spammer who carpet bombs atheist and science blogs with crazed ramblings and death threats, I have somehow joined the Orwellian Patriarchal Thought Police and will be micro-scrutinizing every single comment submission for permissible ideas, then you're simply a goddamned pompous moron and we don't need you here.

  14. says

    "Sorry, I only participate in non-patriarchal, representative enterprises, where I have an objective way to determine if any of my remarks will be judged "foul mouthed" and "histrionic" or not and censored or not."Wow. I just laughed my ass right off. You poor child – should we fetch your smelling salts?"Pompous" barely even begins to cover that statement! Also naive, uppity, definitely histrionic, over-the-top hysterical and completely unrealistic. You'd rather the AE guys let that Mabus freak clog their shit up with hate and threats than wait to see your wisdom posted? Grow the fuck up. By the way, I really like the way you prefaced your tantrum with "sorry".Way to miss the point entirely, LS – and way to make yourself a ridiculous laughing stock in a thread already dedicated to another ridiculous laughing stock.When has someone's private blog EVER been some hippie-laden idealistic anarcho-syndicalist commune where everything's decided by a majority vote? YOU run the blog, YOU make the rules. LS, you need more practice at the interwebs.

  15. says

    With regards to LS's request to be special and exempt from moderation, and subsequent hissy fit when denied, I can only say that I LOL'd.I'm glad I've started participating here more, it's definitely fun times.- FantasmoP.S. this time my captcha started with "barf", do you guys have a special system for forcing always lolworthy captchas?

  16. says

    "Yes, "Mr FreeThinker," we'll even approve you, because even though you couldn't argue your way out of a wet paper bag, you are not to my knowledge a known psychotic or wannabe domestic terrorist. And your comments do keep the threads lively."Well thanks! .. I guess.

  17. says

    Wow, I normally like LS's comments, I'm really surprised by that ridiculous reaction!I mean, I don't like moderation either, but only b/c I hate waiting! haha I'll survive it though. :-PI'm seriously FLUMMOXED (how's that for a $10 word? haha) by this! What a stupid reason to stop following a fantastic blog!!!

  18. says

    If ls ever decides to come back make sure to remind him how juvenile his reasons for leaving were. Maybe he will be so embarrassed he will leave for good.

  19. says

    "ls, if you're simply going to ignore my careful explanations, and instead adopt this bizarre notion that, "….My last post and then I really am out of here.First off, the mistake was mine. I had thought throughout that this was a forum for the free exchange of ideas (or that if it was restricted the restrictions weren't arbitrarily enforced). But apparently it's actually not – it's actually instead a forum for the free exchange of ideas _as long as those ideas are acceptable to the moderators_. I don't see an objective standard by which that acceptability can be determined apart from the mere opinion of the moderators. I've never encountered such a standard in other forums either whose circumstances are similar.I don't consider that a free forum – I left religion and belief for the same reasons and I'm leaving this forum for those same reasons primarily as a matter of principle.Finally, your response wasn't completely reasonable. That your response to my comments were blustery and visceral rather than well-reasoned is what indicates to me that the rules here are more "it's my/our way or the highway" when I say things that ruffle the feathers of the moderators. Regardless of how well-intentioned those rules are, they don't pass muster, in my view, as rules governing a free forum.I'll continue to read the blog because the contributions are otherwise nothing short of brilliant and I have learned, and will continue to learn, so much.But my participation is at an end for the reasons I've stated.Good luck to all and thanks,LS

  20. says

    I'm reminded of Stan's dad from that South Park episode: "I thought this was 'merica!" Look, LS, if you want to take your ball and go home, I can't say I have a problem with it. But leave your damn high horse behind when you leave. Moderating comments so as to eliminate Dennis Markuze's identical, abusive, copy-pasted rantings (for example, this representative excerpt: "WE'LL BURY YOU, ATHEISTS!i think this will be more effective:visithttp://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/11853/to see how we WON THE MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL CHALLENGEand CRUSHED the entire atheist movement…") is not restricting the free exchange of ideas. It's keeping a mentally ill person from filling up old comment threads with spam. If you can't understand the difference between that and expressing views that are unacceptable to the moderators, then you're, quite frankly, an idiot.And if you've "never encountered such a standard in other forums either whose circumstances are similar," then I wonder exactly how much time you've spent on the Internet. I've been to a number of different forums and blogs, with a wide variety of moderation styles. Some omit comments altogether (as one of Ray Comfort's sites did), some notoriously eliminate comments and ban users for disagreeing with the party line (Uncommon Descent), and some just ban the spammers, trolls, and posters who consistently derail comment threads, abuse users, and refuse to post anything of substance (the vast majority of internet forums, this one included). I've been reading the AE blog long enough to see some posters get the boot (Dan Marvin, for instance), but never without repeated warnings, chances, and explanations of why the bans were in place (and I don't think I've seen any of them gone permanently). You can find Mabus's comments in comment threads on this blog (for instance, here) and you can see where his posts have been deleted (such as here, in a comment thread where you participated–where were your protests then?). This decision is not without precedent, warning, or reason, as you seem to suggest. The facts have been explained to you carefully, patiently, and repeatedly, but you choose instead to assume a pompous air of moral superiority. Your leaving is not coming across as an exercise of principles, LS, but as the petulant display of someone looking for a reason to declare superiority, and not willing to let simple things like the facts get in the way. Verification word: dingl, which seems oddly appropriate.

  21. says

    "I don't consider that a free forum – I left religion and belief for the same reasons and I'm leaving this forum for those same reasons primarily as a matter of principle."Some mentally unbalanced person got thrown out of your church for making death threats so you stopped going because you object to them being denied the privilege of harassing members and threatening to kill them? That's not the reason I left religion. I left because I stopped believing.

  22. says

    This is my favorite thread of all time! Ahem. ls spake:"I had thought throughout that this was a forum for the free exchange of ideas (or that if it was restricted the restrictions weren't arbitrarily enforced)."There is nothing "arbitrary" about removing explicit threats of violence or suchlike. "But apparently it's actually not – it's actually instead a forum for the free exchange of ideas _as long as those ideas are acceptable to the moderators_."A preposterous statement, refuted by the barest familiarity with Kazim, Martin, TAE, etc. "I don't see an objective standard by which that acceptability can be determined apart from the mere opinion of the moderators. I've never encountered such a standard in other forums either whose circumstances are similar."Howzat? There is no objective standard to be made (or discerned) between arguing over an issue vs making threats against people you're arguing with? "I don't consider that a free forum – I left religion and belief for the same reasons and I'm leaving this forum for those same reasons primarily as a matter of principle."Oh, puh-leeze. Richard Dawkins himself (Evolution Be Upon Him) would throw you out of his classroom in an eyeblink if you behaved similarly to A Certain Canadian in question here."Finally, your response wasn't completely reasonable. That your response to my comments were blustery and visceral rather than well-reasoned is what indicates to me that the rules here are more "it's my/our way or the highway" when I say things that ruffle the feathers of the moderators."If Martin's quite sober and straighforward (if somewhat exasperated) response struck you as "visceral," you must lead quite the sheltered life. Come to New York, ls, and I'll show you some "visceral" ways of communicating. ;) "Regardless of how well-intentioned those rules are, they don't pass muster, in my view, as rules governing a free forum."If closing the door on lunatics making death threats doesn't pass muster, I am at pains to imagine what "rules governing a free forum" you would find acceptable.I'm still giggling at your remark about "non-patriarchal, etc." Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!

  23. says

    LS is an idiot. The great part is that we know he's reading this, so it's not like he's not here to defend himself. He just won't. If he does, he's a LYING idiot. Anyway, I've got no problem with comment moderation. Because you see, I am a sane person.

  24. Martin says

    ls: Regardless of how well-intentioned those rules are, they don't pass muster, in my view, as rules governing a free forum.You continue to labor under the misapprehension that the world has to follow your rules. We do not have to "pass muster" with you.I thought you'd fucked off already. Why are you back? Go find some "free forum" where they'll let you tell them how they should run it. I wouldn't want you to hang out here while feeling your sense of entitlement isn't being treated as worshipfully as you require.

  25. says

    I will also miss the commentary from LS. And I also see this latest as a little out of character. However, I don't know how familiar LS is with David Mabus and his postings. Just to clarify–Mabus posts what I can only describe as nonsensical spam.On our TV list, he evades the filters by changing up his e-mail address or using new tactics now and then. I recall even opening them up and trying to make some coherent sense of what he was trying to say once–but I was totally unable. Just links and claims that were sort of half in and half out of lucid-ness.In the end he just seems to be someone who just has a real rod up his butt about James Randi for some reason. And he combines all manner of paranormal, pseudoscience together in really long, rambling, rants that are just impossible to follow and understand.He's one of the few wack-a-loons out there that I would actually want to be informed if he lived in my neighborhood. This is a guy with a mission and these spams have become a real cause with him. He's not run-of-the-mill wacky/funny. He's seriously disordered or disturbed–IMHO.

  26. says

    And I should mention that he nevers posts anything that isn't spammed to 1,000 other people on his target list. If you ask to be removed, you end up with your personal e-mail added, in addition to the list you got spammed on. He's crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>