Friday Cephalopod: Where’s Michelangelo when you need him? »« They shall regret feeding my megalomania!

New Rule

You’ve all seen it, the increasingly common inept attempt people make to defuse valid criticism of their untenable positions. Most recent sighting for me was this comment at The Mary Sue, which consisted mainly of the commenter saying that no way would any man have pulled the “fake geek girl” routine on Rae Johnston and even if they did no way could she have been clever and snarky enough to leave him in the funniest smoking crater of all time, and then said commenter ended with:

Let the bashing commence I guess.

You’ve seen variations on this trope. “Flame away,” “I’ll get flamed for this,”  references to asbestos undergarments and SPF 400 flameblock.

And there’s a commonality among the people who use that trope, generally having to do with shitty argumentation. As Sally Strange said here last week,

Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

Sally’s correct, and there’s a reason for that. Well, two reasons.

  1. Sally is smart;
  2. The reason people adopt the “I am Daniel and you are Teh Lionz” approach is because they’re feeling defensive about their arguments, and seeking to defuse the rhetorical spanking they fear they’re gotten themselves into by way of the deft use of our old friend passive aggression.

Frankly, if even the execrable H*go Schw*zer has seen through this particular pathetic trope, it’s time to stop it. As that post with its triggering comments (and OP) points out, trolls use this trope because it works.

So I’m calling this a New Rule. It covers my posts here, and it should cover every other person’s posts everywhere else online as well. If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously. Because as any well-read atheist knows, the lions took no interest in Daniel whatsoever when he was thrown into their den. They didn’t kill him, they didn’t bat him around; they just sat in a comfortable corner of their den and rolled their eyes at him every now and then as he made a spectacle of himself praying not to be eaten. And afterwards he became the topic of a number of lion in-jokes. Or so I’m guessing. The story may be apocryphal.

Comments

  1. says

    What wasn’t reported is that Daniel had his mates ensure the lions had been well fed the night before. They were all in a food coma.

  2. says

    Wouldn’t Shadrach be a more apt fictional character?

    As it happens, there was once a Nice Guy in Judea, a fisherman by trade, who was despondent for lack of female companionship. One day in his 28th year he met a kind young woman at the local marketplace, and he invited her to his seaside fishing camp for a meal. She arrived, and he felt at a loss for words, so he showed her his fish-drying rack completely covered with shad.

    “That’s a very nice fish-drying rack,” she said politely.

    “It’s yours. I want you to have it,” he said. A bit taken aback, she changed the subject. “And is this where you live?”

    “It is,” he said, waving at his modest hovel. “And I would very much like to share it with you.”

    “Wow, this is all moving so fast,” she replied.

    “Spend the night with me,” he said, grasping her hand. But she pulled her hand from his and hurried away.

    Later the Nice Guy’s best friend came to visit. “How went it with the young woman from the marketplace?”

    “I just don’t get it,” said the Nice Guy of Judea. “I offered her the shad rack and me shack, but abed no go.”

  3. DLC says

    Zeno @2 : I prefer to use the term “Dramaholic” myself.
    As for the unhappy Daniel, perhaps if his mob had gotten him broken out the night before. . .
    aw hell with it.

  4. Owlglass says

    Indeed, that’s silly. It’s like proclaiming “I will probably get wet” when jumping into a pool. But it is more of a figure of speech than anything else. A kind of tautology. Some people prefer not being taken seriously to being flamed. Not being taken seriously, and not taking anything else seriously (but treating it like serious business) is a well-known source of happiness and diving goggles.

  5. says

    There’s a button on the keyboard to defuse valid criticism of an ignorant comment. It’s located to the right of the =,+ key, just above the \,| key. I use it often after I read a comment I’ve written and am sure I’ll rightly get shit for it.

  6. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    The reason people adopt the “I am Daniel and you are Teh Lionz” approach is because they’re feeling defensive about their arguments, and seeking to defuse the rhetorical spanking they fear they’re gotten themselves into by way of the deft use of our old friend passive aggression.

    QFT. Best sentence I have read in a while.

  7. says

    I’ve also found those to say ‘no drama llama’ to take actions that actually increase the amount of drama. o-o

  8. maudell says

    Only mindhive groupthink sheeples in the lamestream internet don’t think that “flame away” is an excellent counter-argument. If you think for yourself, you’ll see how great it is.
    (vade retro Sarah Palin!)

  9. vaiyt says

    @oddest: Do you think those posts qualify as passive-agressive flame-baiting? Because that’s the phenomenon being discussed in the post.

  10. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

    There WAS the time I prefaced the suggestion that the custom in-game portrait I was requesting (in a Baldur’s Gate modding community) for a humanoid Yuan-Ti character should be “about as ‘inhuman’ looking as Voldemort was in the movie” with “I’m probably gonna take some flak for this…”

    Wait, does that fit the rule? O.o

  11. oddest says

    @Chris: Dammit! I’m a fool. I wrote it Myers, and then said to myself “No, that’s how everyone misspells it.” and hypercorrected it without checking; sorry.

  12. oddest says

    @vaiyt: I’m not sure how to answer that. If the “New Rule” is, as I suspect, a humorous observation on life on the Internet, that’s fine. And my answer is a humorous counterpoint.

    If the New Rule is intended to be taken seriously, as you appear to be doing, it is a silly rule, as my humorous counterpoint demonstrates.

  13. Tethys says

    Oddest

    The new rule is a humorous observation of common troll behavior. Your counterpoints are missing the point, and aren’t particularly humorous.

  14. oddest says

    @Tethys,

    I regret that you don’t find it humorous. I, on the other hand, found the unintentional irony of the situation delightful.

    I understand that humour based on irony can be difficult to convey in text, especially across cultures. Perhaps it didn’t make it across in this instance.

  15. says

    oddest:
    I am not certain you understand what Chris is getting at with his post.

    You’ve all seen it, the increasingly common inept attempt people make to defuse valid criticism of their untenable positions.

    You say that PZ violates this New Rule, but to do so would mean that he has an untenable position that he’s trying to defuse. Can you cite an untenable position that PZ holds that he is trying to defuse?
    Or have you not fully thought through your position?

  16. Owlglass says

    @oddest
    “On Pharyngula, the Blogger trolls you” :D

    @Tethys,
    come on, lighten up.

  17. oddest says

    @Tony!

    Something tells me I should stop digging, but people are misunderstanding my point, so let me try to explain.

    I am *not* attacking PZ here.

    Chris has effectively made the following unsound logic.
    Trolls sometimes use this type of phrase.
    Therefore, people who use this type of phrase are trolls.

    I interpreted the unsoundness of this logic as within the normal bounds of humour. Was I missing the point in doing that? I really hope not.

    I found the irony that PZ had used that type of phrase very recently to be humorous – it is a clear counterexample, proving the rule is wrong – and I tried to share that.

    People seem to have misinterpreted my intentions as saying the rule is sound, and PZ is a troll. No! The rule is clearly unsound, and should not be taken seriously as a 100% accurate troll filter.

    To the extent I am responsible for my words being misinterpreted, I apologise for that. I was not intending to troll.

  18. Tethys says

    MouthyB

    Or, you know, an inept attempt at a gotcha

    Apparently we aren’t supposed to notice that part. I was giving oddest the benefit of the doubt, but since ze decided to double down on “I are so funny, har har har” I will note that oddest is beyond the three post limit.

    ___

    Owlglass

    Fuck-off cupcake. Don’t let the door hit you.

  19. says

    oddest:

    I found the irony that PZ had used that type of phrase very recently to be humorous – it is a clear counterexample, proving the rule is wrong – and I tried to share that.

    People seem to have misinterpreted my intentions as saying the rule is sound, and PZ is a troll. No! The rule is clearly unsound, and should not be taken seriously as a 100% accurate troll filter.

    Although you think some people have misread you (for whatever reason), I do not believe I have. I *know* you do not feel the rule is sound.

    My point is that it *is* sound.

    Again, if you look at what Chris Clarke said:

    You’ve all seen it, the increasingly common inept attempt people make to defuse valid criticism of their untenable positions

    Emphasis mine.
    Given that you think PZ has violated this rule with his blog titles, then you are saying:
    “PZ is attempting to defuse valid criticism of his untenable position in the following blog posts:
    Here comes the transhumanist hate mail!

    Oh, boy, more people will hate me for this one”

    My response to that is:
    “What is PZ’s untenable position?”

    I do not feel that PZ has presented an untenable position in the examples you’ve given. For whatever reason, you feel that in those two blog entries, PZ has a position that is on shaky ground, if not completely fucked up. If you’re going to make that assertion, you need to provide some support for it. You cannot make the assertion, walk off and expect people to just accept it.
    I do not feel you’re thinking this through all the way. It is more than just making the preemptive statement of “here comes the hate mail” or “more people will hate me”. Chris is saying that those statements *combined* with an untenable position are hallmarks of a troll.

    So again I ask:
    In the two threads you cite, what is PZ’s untenable position?

  20. krubozumo says

    Well, it all depends. I have never disclaimed the possibility of flames to my comments even though many of them go against the grain of various blogs. But the flame does have its uses.

    It seems pretty obvious to me that comments which are almost certain to elicit flames are mainly intended to derail the thread and avoid discussion of the issue the OP intended to open for discussion.

    I also wonder whether or not someone who posts a comment with a flame disclaimer has not deliberately formulated said comment to elicit flames.

    Benghazi!

  21. says

    Oddest: Irony, I do not think it means what you think it does.

    A person who creates posts on a blog is very different than some random wanker who dropped by to JAQ off on the thread, prefacing his or her comment with a passive-aggressive ‘I just know no one will understand my genius/you people are so mean, etc.’ If they blog here, we have a context on someone who’s been writing here for awhile to know whether or not they’re joking or climbing up on the cross so they can splatter more of the crowd…..

  22. oddest says

    Thanks for your response, Tony.

    You are asking me to defend a position I don’t hold, so when I ignore your question “what is PZ’s untenable position?” it isn’t because I haven’t thought that through. It is that I do not claim that PZ position is untenable/shaky/completely fucked up.

    I think where we differ is the definition of the rule itself. You say “Chris is saying that those statements *combined* with an untenable position are hallmarks of a troll.” While the “untenable position” was used as the justification of the rule, I don’t think it is part of the rule itself. Here is what I am reading as the rule itself:

    So I’m calling this a New Rule. It covers my posts here, and it should cover every other person’s posts everywhere else online as well. If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously.

    So, the rule doesn’t require an untenable position to be detected, and it is intended to be applied to 100% of posts (“100% effective” is a slightly different issue.) Under that reading, I stand by it being unsound. (And I also feel a little foolish at having exposed it to such scrutiny, given the humour intended.)

  23. oddest says

    @mouthyb,

    Is this the part where I am supposed to harshly insult you to prove to the other inmates I am hard and they shouldn’t cross me? Fuck that.

    I do think you are misjudging and maligning me – I wasn’t passive aggressive. I have already apologised twice for minor transgressions, which is inconsistent with claiming genius or martyr status. I think that should be sufficient. You’ve missed the irony, and then accused me of not knowing what it is. JAQing off is a particular form of rhetoric that I have not used. I haven’t complained people were mean; I have pointed out there was a miscommunication and tried to fix it.

    You can decide for yourself whether to generally give newbies the benefit of the doubt, but your failure to do so here is blinding to you to what my behaviour has actually been.

  24. says

    “Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.”

    Well, it would be strange to complain that a post is likely to be flamed when you don’t think that the community you are posting it in will consider it “eminently flame-worthy,” you must admit. I am not sure that translates into knowing that you’re wrong or knowing that you’re offensive, only into knowing that you’re unpopular.

    Not that unpopularity is entirely unrelated to being wrong or being offensive, by all means. But I expect I would be very unpopular on a great number of sites if I went there and said what I thought, no matter how right I was. Admittedly, I don’t go to those sites for exactly that reason, but the point still stands.

  25. says

    Fuck maybe I retroactively violated this rule when I said “I run the risk here of being bunnified”.

    No fair making rules that make me look silly retroactively.

  26. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    Not that unpopularity is entirely unrelated to being wrong or being offensive, by all means. But I expect I would be very unpopular on a great number of sites if I went there and said what I thought, no matter how right I was. Admittedly, I don’t go to those sites for exactly that reason, but the point still stands.

    We have lumps of it round the back.

  27. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    erikthebassist #43
    Personally, I have had, on occasion, good results from requesting a bunny.
    But I’m not going to push my luck.

  28. says

    oddest:
    One more time.
    You refuse to see that the New Rule is not just about “saying things”, but rather “saying things to defuse an untenable position”.
    It’s right there in Chris’ post.
    If someone were to come in here and make a statement about how humans have not had a significant impact on climate change, and end their comment with “let the flaming commence”, that would be a perfect example of what Chris is talking about. The untenable position is climate change denialism. The comment is meant to defuse what they’ve said.
    If an anti-gay bigot came here and said lesbians should not be allowed to adopt children and let loose with “let the bashing commence”, that is another example of what Chris is talking about.

    Why do you think it is *just* making the statement “let the bashing commence” or “let the flaming begin” that is the root of Chris’ point? Focusing on *only* those comments, results in ignoring the CONTEXT they exist in. Those comments only take on troll qualities if they accompany unevidenced, non-sensical, ridiculous statements.

    Your focus on the comments without the context ignores the fact that context can change. “Let the flaming begin” can be used in jest. It can be used to poke fun at the lack of logic others have. You do not know what they mean until you take in the context.

  29. Alain Van Hout says

    With regard to those two examples in which PZ supposedly has broken his New Rule (there really should be some easy reference for this), one perhaps too obvious point is that PZ started his posts with that, much like he and most other bloggers tend to use hyperbole in their titles (and often the beginning lines of their post), after which they get down to business (well not all bloggers follow through on that).

    That’s very different to ending your post/comment with it, which implies that it represents your final, supposedly deciding argument.

  30. bad Jim says

    I’ve made comments, here and elsewhere, which I knew might be unpopular, but I did it to explore the issues, or to understand why other people see things differently. You can learn things that way.

    Saying “flame away” is putting the emphasis on the participants instead of the ideas, and advertising a mind unwilling to change.

    This being Pharyngula, I could probably say something like “The cliff swallows nesting in the eaves of my house for the third year in a row have hatched and fledged a tiny new flock. Squee away!” and people might, at least if I had pictures. (Sorry to bring this up, but I just love the way swallows fly.)

  31. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    Alain Van Hout #47
    PZ is not the author of this post.

  32. Alain Van Hout says

    PZ is not the author of this post.

    Damn, I didn’t notice that o_O. No matter. If you change his into this in my previous comment, that pretty much resolves that issue.

    But thanks, chiqua, for pointing it out :).

  33. Alain Van Hout says

    chiqua -> chigau
    That settles it, it’s too early for me to be posting comments o_O.

  34. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    bad Jim #48
    I have watched swallows-in-training.
    The nest was in an old broken-down shed with a ‘window’ the size of a sheet of plywood.
    The fledglings had such a hard time!
    But those that grew up could fly straight into an opening barely larger than their own diameter.

  35. glodson says

    I’m probably going to get flamed for this, but I’m totally jealous of Chris’s beard.

  36. Holms says

    Oddest made a joke, it fell flat. The Horde swings into action to rectify this, because this is serious business.

    I’m going with Owlglass’ “lighten up” on this one.

  37. Colin J says

    Tony! The Lonely Queer Shoop @ #46:

    oddest:
    One more time.
    You refuse to see that the New Rule is not just about “saying things”, but rather “saying things to defuse an untenable position”.
    It’s right there in Chris’ post.

    I think you’re the one with the reading & comprehension problem: “saying things to defuse an untenable position” isn’t in the rule, it’s in the preamble.

    Read the OP again with particular attention to Sally’s quote.

    Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

    Sally’s correct

    The rule is that any post that includes something like “let the flaming commence” is BY DEFINITION presenting untenable position. That’s the whole point of the rule.

    It’s not meant seriously – not as seriously as you’re taking it anyway.

  38. Holms says

    I’m probably going to get flamed for this, but I’m totally jealous of Chris’s beard.

    YOU LEAVE THIS BLOG FOREVER!!!!¿!

  39. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    Alain Van Hout
    No worries.
    I still have hopes for a PZ vs CC mud-wrestling cage-match.
    (I may get flamed for that. )

  40. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    Holms #54

    Oddest made a joke.

    What?
    Where?

  41. bad Jim says

    Chigau, I’ve only once watched swallows flying back into a nest (some years ago they built one on the other end of the house and never came back). What amazed me was that so many of them could fit into a nest the size of a coconut. This year there seem to be a half-dozen adults and I have no idea how many fledglings; surely they’re not all staying in the same place!

    Another animal story: my daily routine includes a stroll along the boardwalk in Laguna Beach, and for weeks I’ve been practically guaranteed a marine mammal spectacle, sometimes dolphins, sometimes a sea lion, even, occasionally, the distant spout of a whale. It’s addictive. (This is not to say that pelicans aren’t enough fun by themselves.)

    Yesterday, though, a seal lion suddenly stopped cavorting and floated rigidly with a flipper in the air, for at least half an hour. I’d seen the same thing a day or two before, assumed the animal had died, and hoped to find out something about it in the local news. A lifeguard was scanning the ocean with binoculars, and when she put them down I asked her what was up, and she said, more or less, “No, they just relax and lie on their backs like that.” Ten minutes later it had gone on its way. A simple thing, but learning “no, it’s not dead” is a like sudden emotional transfusion of helium.

  42. says

    Given that PZ is such a prolific writer, I just wanted to take a snapshot of his output–in this case his postings since 01 April–and try to categorize them. I have listed his posts and separated them into groups. Now, I admit that I used my own methodology for pigeonholing posts, but I suspect even if you shuffled them around to match your own criteria, you would not find an enormous difference.

    SUMMARY
    In 12 days PZ made 60 posts. I divided them into the following categories:

    Atheist Infighting: 4 posts, 6.6% (1 of these is about Thunderf00t, 1.6%)
    Social Justice and Politics: 16 posts, 26.6%
    Personal Life, Culture, Jokes and Miscellany: 10 posts, 16.7%
    Science: 8 posts, 13.3%
    Atheism, Creationism, Religion: 22 posts, 36.6%

    I’m aware this is a small 12-day sample and further research needs to be done. My methodology is crude and needs to be refined. However, it does suggest that the amount of time PZ spends on the Slymepit, Thunderf00t et al is dwarfed by the effort he expends on other issues.

    Maybe others could pick this up and give us data over a longer period so that we have solid data the next time a social justice opponent claims that PZ is all about teh Slymepit-bashing.

    The posts polled are as follows:

    Atheist Infighting (4)
    They shall regret feeding my megalomania!
    Did Richard Carrier have to remind me…
    EllenBeth Wachs recounts her experiences
    Have you noticed that we’re always getting offended?

    Social Justice and Politics (16)
    Well, when you put it that way…
    A vivid demonstration of white privilege
    Why?
    Nothing accidental about it
    I can’t imagine living in an abusive relationship
    Virginia is for lovers…of similar skin tone and opposite sex who don’t touch each other’s genitals with anything other than their
    Margaret Thatcher is dead
    The Joe Rogan experience
    Jewish women master retroactive invisibility!
    Free Amina!
    Just when you thought Libertarians couldn’t get any more revolting
    Hey, North Carolina, have you forgotten how it went last time you rejected the US government?
    The oppressive nature of chivalry
    Both wrong, both right
    I just hate their freedom
    Hugo, Cesar, so what…it’s one of them Hispanic fellas

    Personal Life, Culture, Jokes and Miscellany (10)
    Status update
    IMPORTANT NERD QUESTION
    This is just disgusting and wrong
    For the gentlemen in the audience only
    A subtle warning
    Another crummy leak
    Goddamn cancer (Roger Ebert)
    Sale on Pharyngula merch!
    Goddamn cancer (Iain Banks)
    No fools here

    Science (8)
    Botanical Wednesday: One, two, three…ha ha ha…four, five, six, SEVEN. Seven purple tentacles, ha ha ha!
    Learn a little developmental biology
    Here comes the transhumanist hate mail!
    The dark side of open access journals?
    Mary’s Monday Metazoan: The Too-Common Sludge Duck
    Friday Cephalopod: Reach!
    Uh-oh
    Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Denizens of the icy deeps

    Atheism, Creationism, Religion (22)
    Joe Barton has data!
    Jesus, the biologist
    #HumanistSolidarity with Bangladesh
    I had a vision last night. A vision of a world without gods.
    Yet another case of anti-atheist discrimination in Tacoma
    Argumentum ad Batman
    Christian hypocrisy and profiteering at Oklahoma Joe’s
    Head and heart, atheists
    The ark builders
    Happy 9th Paul Nelson Day!
    Good ideas and bad ideas
    Textbooks could always get worse
    SkepTech Reminder!
    Oh, boy, more people will hate me for this one
    Mastropaolo is just plain out of his gourd
    Solidarity with atheists of Bangladesh
    Clenched fist salute for the progressive cause of equality! No compromise!
    Moar regional events!
    You’re letting me down, atheists
    Skepchick is a little late on this one
    “Less religion, more God”
    “Pat” is short for “Patronizing”

  43. says

    Colin J @55:
    While it is possible that I have misread Chris’ post, I do not feel that you’ve presented sufficient proof to convince me otherwise.

    Quoting SallyStrange:

    Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

    Again, it is the context. It’s not just the preamble. It is the question of what lies beneath comments like “let the flaming commence”. Preemptive complaints about flaming *combined* with a flame-worthy (i.e. untenable position) post is what Chris is talking about. You (and oddest) are ignoring the specific context under discussion. The content is what matters. Sally is saying that she has not seen anyone make a comment with reasonable content that has complained, preemptively about flaming. She’s talking about people who make comments that *are* flame worthy (or untenable or unreasonable). The rule hinges on how reasonable the comment is.

    I think this:

    So I’m calling this a New Rule. It covers my posts here, and it should cover every other person’s posts everywhere else online as well. If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously.

    is where you and oddest are-IMO-tripping up. Yes, this is where Chris says flame away=not taken seriously. The question to ask after that is “WHY?” Well Chris had already agreed with Sally’s position that people who say “flame away” hold an untenable position.

    Oh, and I think you and oddest do a disservice to Chris by asserting that he wouldn’t look beyond the words “Let the flaming commence” before judging a comment.

  44. lsamaknight says

    I’ve got to confess that I do think that in certain contexts it can be used… but that’s because I have used the concept if not the exact phrase myself. In a topic of high drama but little real world consequence (character shipping in an anime series if you want specifics), and it is in such situations that it is best contained.

    Though I do believe that it should probably not be used in any subject where it has a direct impact on people’s lives. There, it is indeed inappropriate, if only because it preemptively dismisses potentially legitimate concerns while trying to weasel out of the consequences.

  45. seranvali says

    It seems to me that it’s because they know they don’t stand a cat’s chance in hell of putting forward a coherent argument so they’re telling us all how mean we are before people start replying in the hope that they’ll shame those who respond into “being nice”.

    Oh, BTW, I’ve been lurking here for a while and just decided to stop prevaricating, set up and comment. so hi everyone!

  46. rq says

    Those poor lions. Afternoon cocktails with jazz accompaniment all interrupted by some fool praying loudly right through the best songs.
    (Story @7, Chris, is brilliant.)

  47. rorschach says

    You refuse to see that the New Rule is not just about “saying things”, but rather “saying things to defuse an untenable position”.

    *Sigh*

    And how do we decide what is objectively untenable or untrue, exactly? Isn’t it just as likely that “flame away” or somesuch is added to a comment based on the realization that said comment is made in a forum where it doesn’t represent a majority view, and is therefore anticipated to incur a lot of opposition?

    What’s “untenable” or what is true is not determined by majority vote in a web forum, so I really don’t quite see why adding a remark foreseeing stiff opposition to uttering a minority view should be deemed a punishable offense.

  48. says

    rorschach:
    You bring up good points. I’m not the one who made the rule though. Perhaps you should ask Chris.

    I’d say it has something to do with their experiences involving the type of people who do make those statements.

    I find it a stretch to see “not being taken seriously” as a punishment.

  49. bad Jim says

    Um. Calling it a rule is perhaps just a jocular way of pointing out that no one who flounces off like that is taken seriously anyway.

  50. says

    Oh my goodness
    What’s up with all those people who, instead of understanding that this is about a common troll-tactic and shedding light on it, insist that we’re talking about really, really, really a rule that’s going to be enforced.
    Yeah, I can totally imagine Chris moderating his threads by telling all of those who engage with one of the trolls (and let’s admit it, we can resist that kind of thing like Caine’s ratties resist Nutella) that nonononono, you must follow the New Rule.
    (Also, those things are not incompatible)
    There’s this thing I call “Giliell’s Law”
    It says that the level of idiot asshole bullshit somebody spews will corelate with the level of misspelling my nym (there was once this guy over at B&W who manage 4 different versions in as many posts and none of them the right one).
    That doesn’t mean that everybody who misspells my nym is an idiot asshole.

  51. Colin J says

    Tony! The Lonely Queer Shoop @ #63:
    You want proof? Read the OP.
    The rule is:

    If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously.

    That’s it. It’s because people who use passive-aggressive phrases like that are generally (always, according to Sally & Chris) making unreasonable comments. You don’t have to analyse what they’ve said; if they invite flaming then go ahead and flame. That’s the point of the rule.
    By your reading (or by my reading of your reading, anyway) the rule is: If it is a crap post AND it includes a phrase like “flame away” THEN it is a crap post. Do you see the redundancy there?
    All oddest did was point out the irony of proposing such a rule on PZ’s blog where PZ himself has used similar phrases. Yeah, I know there are arseholes around who try to wag their fingers at PZ at the slightest excuse and it wasn’t immediately clear if oddest was one of them. But oddest cleared that up pretty quickly.
    You want context? Try reading the rest of the paragraph where the rule is expressed. The bit about Daniel & the lions. As I said in #55, the rule is not meant to be taken seriously.
    You call it doing Chris a disservice. I call it getting the joke.

  52. Caveat Imperator says

    #61,

    Are you sure that wasn’t meant for the Thunder Fool/ Richard Carrier thread?
    Don’t get me wrong, the content of your post was lovely, but you may want to post it where it’s needed more.

  53. rorschach says

    What’s up with all those people who, instead of understanding that this is about a common troll-tactic

    I don’t know what’s up with “those people” you mention. Personally, I am questioning that it is necessarily a troll tactic.

  54. says

    Personally, I am questioning that it is necessarily a troll tactic.

    The fact that it can be used non-trollingly* doesn’t mean that it isn’t commonly used by trolls.
    See, PZ’s own posts where it is used humerously.

    *Yes, I totally made that up

  55. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Chris,

    May I be your Rule Enforcer? You are obviously taking a hard stance on this issue, and I already roll my eyes and have to force myself to concentrate on comments starting with some variation of “I am going to bullshit you, let me warn you beforehand” so it won’t be much of a problem to just keep doing what I’ve been doing all the time.

    Oh, it’s not so much a rule that shall be enforced without mercy, as it’s an observation of commenter behavior? You don’t say. And here I thought you were ordering us not to take these people seriously at the threat of… bunnies? chigau always gets bunnies, I want bunnies too! *whinge*

    Sorry, I got distracted by the idea of bunnies.

    I will let people continue this very seriously serious discussion about how one of our great leaders has sent the sheeple a new order about what to think.

  56. Ulysses says

    There is a difference between hyperbole and “I just wrote something stupid and I know people are going to point out my stupidity.” One is a legitimate rhetorical device, the other is an admission of stupidity.”

  57. John Morales says

    Quite similar to the one where people pre-emptively apologise for having written what they are about to write; that always amuses me.

  58. Holms says

    Ingratiating oneself with a demi-troll. Tres drole.

    Incorrect. I don’t give a shit what (s)he thinks of me, nor do I recall any other post by him to establish if he is a ‘demi-troll’. I just happen to think he is right. This reaction is simply disproportionate to what amounts to a simple, if lame, joke.

    It’s a bit like “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic, but….”

    In my experience, “I’m not X, but…” will always be extremely X.

  59. Anri says

    Sally is quoted:

    Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

    Answer: Yes, there have been occasions of that.
    In fact, two of PZ’s recent posts do just exactly that – preemptively complain about flaming and then go on to make eminently non-flame-worthy points.

    That has struck the occasional person as ironic.

  60. John Morales says

    Anri, in which two of PZ’s recent posts does he complain about flaming? :)

  61. says

    I still have hopes for a PZ vs CC mud-wrestling cage-match.
    (I may get flamed for that. )

    OBJECTIFICATION! Jeez, we not only have to write intelligent stuff, we have to provide fanservice too?

    It’s an ongoing problem. This blog happens to be manned by a couple of hawt guys, but I expect you to be able to look beyond our beautiful bodies and excellent beards and pay attention to the content. We have minds, too, you know.

  62. Louis says

    Oh but PZ I’m sure we all love a man who can give good mind.

    If you know what I mean. *

    Louis

    * Given that this is basically a single entendre, I’m guessing everyone knows what I mean.

  63. Anri says

    John Morales:

    Anri, in which two of PZ’s recent posts does he complain about flaming? :)

    Sally is quoted:

    Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.

    Answer: Yes, there have been occasions of that.
    In fact, two of PZ’s recent posts do just exactly that – preemptively complain about flaming and then go on to make eminently non-flame-worthy points.

    Yo dawg, I heard you like quotes, so I’m answering your quote by putting a quote of my quote of a quote of the quote as a quote.

  64. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m sitting over by rorschach on this one.
    It’s a fucking stupid rule unless you spend all your time in the freakin Pharyngula Lounge where everybody’s huggy and agreeable about whatever. A topic worthy of serious discussion will not, in general, be conducive to that kind of kumbaya consensus. There are very often times when somebody posts a comment that legitimately dissents with the generally accepted local culture. That’s OK, or ought to be. Such a poster may know very well, through experience, what to expect when posting a particular dissenting opinion to some particular blog or whatever.
    I suppose you could ask such posters to keep their predictions to themselves. But judging them for lacking such restraint is insular, logically stupid, and basically tribal. We already have all the answers here among Us.

    Next time I get the chance I’m going to post a comment like “Victim-blaming is the worst possible thing! I await your vociferous agreement.”

    p.s. the word is ‘droll’
    p.p.s. Tony, learn to shut up sometimes.

  65. shimmy says

    The reason people adopt the “I am Daniel and you are Teh Lionz” approach is because they’re feeling defensive about their arguments, and seeking to defuse the rhetorical spanking they fear they’re gotten themselves into by way of the deft use of our old friend passive aggression.

    Or could it possibly be that the individual is simply acknowledging the fact that their views may not be shared by majority of readers, and they expect to receive a shed-load of abuse from the sycophants and zealots that invariably infest those forums/blogs?

  66. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’m probably going to get flamed for this but I blame Rebecca Watson. – Louis

    Nah. Rebecca Watson will get flamed for it. (Unless it’s Anita Sarkeesian’s turn.)

  67. says

    I’m probably going to get bunnified for this but…

    With all this talk of swallows and small spaces and beards, I dare anyone to prove to me that there are not swallows living in Chris’ beard. Which oddly now makes me wonder if he has a sled that’s pulled by bunnies too.

    Chris are you sure you’re not Radagast?

    Flame away.

  68. says

    Or, in my case, I know from long experience that I can say something blandly neutral like, “It’s a nice day today!”, and I can expect that someone somewhere will howl away about how Myers expects all atheists to like the weather! And it’s probably got women in it! And I need my FREE SPEECH to say the weather sucks!

    So I’ve given up and just roll with it. I’m beginning to find it amusing that someone can now say something positive about Atheism+, for instance, and the snarling mob will pounce and declare “PZ Myers put you up to that, didn’t he?”

  69. jamessweet says

    I’ve got an even better rule: Don’t comment at Pharyngula if you want people who disagree with you to be nice about it.

    So — Let the flaming commence! No really, I don’t care, because I usually don’t look for responses from my comments at Pharyngula — I’m just not thick-skinned enough, srsly. I don’t mean to single out Pharyngula either, it’s certainly not the rudest place on the internet, and generally (though not always) Pharyngulites are very thoughtful and insightful when they are grinding down your self-esteem into a tiny speck of dust. It’s just, you know, not for me. Observe as I now cowardly turn tail and run!

  70. John Morales says

    Anri, again, in which two recent posts does PZ complain about it?

    (I’ve seen what’s been adduced by another, but those indicate glee and defiance respectively)

    I heard you like quotes

    I’m not too keen on evasiveness.

    (You responded, but you didn’t answer)

  71. carlie says

    What is the point of saying “let the bashing commence”, then? (people who don’t agree that it’s a passive-aggressive way for someone to admit they have no point). What is its rhetorical purpose? If the point is to acknowledge that this opinion is different than the norm, then they can just say so. Acknowledging that difference usually means understanding that more explanation/convincing will be necessary, and that the argument they’re making needs to be more robust. But if one only acknowledges the difference without making any extra effort for explanation, then there isn’t really a purpose for saying so. And if the difference is acknowledged not as an opening reason for why the statement is about to be detailed and explanatory, but instead is acknowledged only by way of saying “now you’re all going to be mean to me, I just know it”, then again, what is the purpose, if not just to try to evoke sympathy and deflect actual engagement with the ideas presented?

  72. says

    With all this talk of swallows and small spaces and beards, I dare anyone to prove to me that there are not swallows living in Chris’ beard. Which oddly now makes me wonder if he has a sled that’s pulled by bunnies too.

    Tssss
    It was mice in the beard. The swallows live under the hat

  73. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Or could it possibly be that the individual is simply acknowledging the fact that their views may not be shared by majority of readers, and they expect to receive a shed-load of abuse from the sycophants and zealots that invariably infest those forums/blogs?

    When they do that on purpose it is called trolling. Look up the definition, and the statement is acknowledging their trolldom. If they aren’t trolls, they don’t anticipate the type of response.

  74. says

    Tssss
    It was mice in the beard. The swallows live under the hat

    Which says nothing about whether swallows live in Chris’ beard. The speculation of bunny pulled sleds and secret identities was just that, but I am convinced that the swallows exist.

    And stop flaming me! Geesh you people are rude. I’m never coming back.

  75. Holms says

    “It’s a nice day today!”

    “What do you mean? Do you wish me a nice day, or mean that it is a nice day whether I want it or not; or that you feel nice this day; or that it is a day to be nice on? Fuck you, Bilbo!
    And with that, Gandalf left The Hill in wrath. Bilbo was thus spared his grand adventure, never found the One Ring, and Sauron defeated Middle Earth forever.

  76. sharkjack says

    97 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Or could it possibly be that the individual is simply acknowledging the fact that their views may not be shared by majority of readers, and they expect to receive a shed-load of abuse from the sycophants and zealots that invariably infest those forums/blogs?

    When they do that on purpose it is called trolling. Look up the definition, and the statement is acknowledging their trolldom. If they aren’t trolls, they don’t anticipate the type of response.

    When they say what they say with the intent to get lots of attention, that is trolling, but stating an oppinion that you know will get negative reactions from a majority of readers is not by itself trolling.

    When the tropes vs women video came out, I got in quite a few discussions on places that the majority of those people disagreed with Anita. I wasn’t trolling them and I was expecting the reactions to not be positive. (and they largely weren’t). It can be tough when you’re in the minority and 5 people respond to each of your responses, some of them having stuff before that, others coming in fresh 10 posts in. Some people never get it, others leave the discussion and others changed their position (if only slightly). That’s what I set out to accomplish and it’s far removed from what a troll’s goal is.

    Either way I had no intention of trolling and your definition is too narrow. People often don’t show their true troll colors in the first comment, the whole point of the bait is to look legitimate. It’s in the following discussion that a troll gets revealed. I’m petty sure that’s one of the reasons the whole don’t feed the trolls thing is not an accepted rule of thumb here on pharyngula.

  77. otrame says

    Concerning mud wrestling:

    Is it possible to both OBJCTIFY and admire the minds? I mean, I do admire the minds quite a bit, both of them, but I find the bodies of mature men rather…… er, nice.

    Okay, so I’m straight. So sue me.

    P.S. I am in love with Lous. Just FYI.

  78. says

    No one has seriously (non-jokingly, not in the attempt to make the statement ironic) said, “I know everyone is going to flame me but……” It’s a moot point, since the phrase is not used seriously, just used to set up a joke or as a passive aggressive start to an unreasonable position.

    Oddest: Did you start your posts with that phrase? No? Then I wasn’t calling you anything. I was referring to what seems to me (in an ass-load of years on the internet) to be the primary reason for some drive-by yahoo to close their trolling with, “Let the flaming commence.”

    And the point about a long-term blogger using the phrase and a random stranger using it still stands. Context: still a way people understand your words.

  79. WharGarbl says

    @mouthyb
    #104

    And the point about a long-term blogger using the phrase and a random stranger using it still stands. Context: still a way people understand your words.

    I agree that it depends on context. For example, if someone go on Apple forum to raise what they believe is a legitimate complaint about whatever Apple product they bought, they may start with “I know everyone is going to flame me…” based purely on the fact that there are Apple fanboy (or fangirl) who will flame someone just because they pointed out something bad about something they love.

    P.S. To defuse any possible flaming possibility, I’m just using Apple as an example. Fanboyism/Fangirlism exist in just about anywhere, Apple, PC, XBOX, PS3, WII, etc.

  80. says

    Form the OP:

    If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously.

    I took it that Chris Clarke was setting out a descriptive view rather than a prescriptive one.

    Consider the comments people have encountered that are prefaced by, “I know I’ll get flamed for this, but …” Consider how these comments have led people to update their prior probabilities.

    Now, consider how these updated priors will prepare people to take serious (or not) your totally-not-trolly-at-all comment of very thoughtful points that you have prefaced with “I know I’ll get flamed for this, but …”

    What useful work is done by those extra eight words, beyond activating people’s priors for their encounter with your very thoughtful points?

  81. glodson says

    OBJECTIFICATION! Jeez, we not only have to write intelligent stuff, we have to provide fanservice too?

    That’s a dumb question. Yes. Duh.

  82. Winters says

    “Gonna get flamed for this…”

    Similar to another pet peeve of mine: “I’m sorry, but-“

  83. says

    The point, dear friends, is that if you have a truly sound and well supported argument, you have no need of passive aggressive posturing, no need to preemptively whine about how mean people are going to be to you. If your argument stands by itself, then flaming is merely a reflection of your opponents ignorance.

    The disclaimer reads as an admission that you’re not fully confident in your ability to answer potential objections to your position.

  84. chigau (please don't let me be misunderstood) says

    Well, Chris, I bet you didn’t expect this kind of response.
    —-
    Chas
    The word is “drôle“.
    So “drole” is closer than “droll”.
    Did you miss the italics and the word “Tres“?

  85. wmdon says

    I once took an excrutiatingly boring class on rhetorical analysis, from which I remember almost nothing – aside from the concept of modalities. I remember being fascinated by the fact that certain common phrases in speech and writing were actually encoded directions to the listener/reader on how to interpret the information presented in a sentence (and, by extension, how to interpret a speaker/author’s intent) . Especially those phrases that were patently false (and commonly used by salespeople and other slime; things like “To be honest….” or “In my opinion…” or “Most people believe..”

    To me, the phrase “I’ll probably be flamed for this, but…” is a fairly common modality that tells the reader that whatever comes next will be controversial and challenging to the majority view. At least, that’s what the author intends. What it really means, of course, is “here’s an unsupported opinion that I really haven’t thought through very well and I’m just posting because I’m a trolling asshole and the flaws in my argument are too obvious even to me”.

    ED: Link fixed

  86. wmdon says

    Great. I make one comment every two years, and I bork the HTML.

    I’m going back to lurking.

  87. daniellavine says

    @oddest,Holms,Rorscach,Chas:

    The phrase “I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but…” is 1) incredibly condescending and 2) an obvious deflection tactic. Whoever writes it is both assuming that the audience is not going to seriously consider it (in which case why bother writing it in the first place?) and in case anyone takes it seriously enough to object to it the writer is reserving the right to say “See? Told ya so. You guys are closed-minded jerks.”

    They can (and often do) make this sort of response even if a negative reception is well-conceived, logical, and backed by evidence. The phrase is primarily used as an excuse not to bother to support one’s own opinion.

    Now consider the fact that you can be relatively sure you’re going to get flamed for writing your opinion. Does that necessitate using the phrase “I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but…”? No, of course it doesn’t. I say if you’re going to write the thing then write it and defend it in good faith without presuming people are going to flame you for it. More importantly, don’t begin the discussion with a deflectionary tactic that any thinking person who has seen a few trolls in action will recognize as such.

    I don’t know why I’m bothering because SallyStrange said it perfectly at 110:

    The point, dear friends, is that if you have a truly sound and well supported argument, you have no need of passive aggressive posturing, no need to preemptively whine about how mean people are going to be to you. If your argument stands by itself, then flaming is merely a reflection of your opponents ignorance.

    The disclaimer reads as an admission that you’re not fully confident in your ability to answer potential objections to your position.

    Though I’ll go a little further and say it means something more like “The disclaimer reads as an admission that you’re simply going to reject objections to your position on the basis that it’s incoherent flaming whether or not it actually is.”

    We’ve all seen this dozens of times, right?

    Compare this “rule” to Godwin’s law. Not every comparison to Nazism is ridiculous hyperbole, some are quite apt. So I suppose you four guys have all written stern emails to Mike Godwin tut-tutting him for trying to “outlaw” legitimate Nazi comparisons?

    No, of course you haven’t. Maybe you four are the ones who need to lighten up and take this rule with the seriousness intended?

  88. says

    @Giliell

    It says that the level of idiot asshole bullshit somebody spews will corelate with the level of misspelling my nym

    They are probably just shipping Gilligan from Gilligan’s island with Castiel from Supernatural.

    (Little joke for @lsamaknight)

  89. Tethys says

    Hmm, this thread has taken an interesting path.

    Oddest makes a category error, then proceeds to whine about how mean we are when it is pointed out that the comparison is invalid. After reading the wiki definition of category error, I suspect that one of the horde is author of that page.

    A category mistake, or category error, is a semantic or ontological error in which “things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another”,or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property. Thus the claim that “Most Americans are atheists” (untrue in 2009) is not a category mistake, since most Americans could be (contingently) atheists. On the other hand, “Most bananas are atheists” is a category mistake. This is because bananas belong to a category of things that cannot be said to have beliefs. [...] To show that a category mistake has been committed one must typically show that once the phenomenon in question is properly understood, it becomes clear that the claim being made about it could not possibly be true.

    To put it another way, if you want to make an accurate comparison, you must compare apples to apples. Oddest ignored all context, compared blog comments to headlines, called PZ a troll, and got offended when we pointed out ze was not funny, and was making an error in logic.

  90. Holms says

    Maybe you four are the ones who need to lighten up and take this rule with the seriousness intended?

    I would suggest that the people needing to ‘lighten up’ are those that are getting all rules-lawyer over Chris’ ‘rule’. Especially those that are actually getting hot under the collar at Oddest’s tongue-in-cheek reply. Especially especially Tethys.

  91. Tethys says

    And now Holms is making another category error.

    * yawns, tosses mane, continues not taking holms seriously*

  92. daniellavine says

    Holms@121:

    I would suggest that the people needing to ‘lighten up’ are those that are getting all rules-lawyer over Chris’ ‘rule’.

    As I already argued, that’s exactly what you guys are doing.

  93. Anri says

    John Morales:

    Sorry, I thought your smiley indicated you were kidding about my use of language (‘flaming’ as opposed to ‘being flamed’), and so I responded both with a bit of a joke (“I heard you like X so here’s X in your X” meme), and also a quotation showing I was just echoing Sally’s language.

    As to the substance of the post, intent isn’t magic, I have no idea why people preface their posting with that sort of thing, and I don’t much care. I was just offering a couple of counterexamples (presumably) to the idea that no good posts ever follow “Imma get flamed/hate mail/whatever for this!” intros.
    They do, and they can, and they have, right on this very blog.

    But, ok, I’ll ask – if I see a post stating at the head that the poster is expecting hate mail because of it, should I assume it’s not worth reading and ignore it? What does the New Rule say on the matter?

    Or is this one of those rules that tells you everything you need to know about a post from the first line – but only after you’ve actually read the whole post?

  94. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Why is a frog like a joke?
    You can take it apart bit by bit to see how it works, but in the process you kill it.

    If there were such a crime on the statute books, some of you folks would be up before the beak on a charge of humourcide.

  95. John Morales says

    Anri, heh. I was (and am) just being playfully pedantic for argument’s sake.

    But, ok, I’ll ask – if I see a post stating at the head that the poster is expecting hate mail because of it, should I assume it’s not worth reading and ignore it? What does the New Rule say on the matter?

    Here again is the rule: “If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously.”; I guess it’s up to you to judge whether such a post is stating that one expects flamage (in which case the rule doesn’t apply) or whether is telling people to flame (in which case it does).

    More to the point, the rule is not that what’s written is not worth reading and should be ignored, but that it should not be taken seriously.

    Or is this one of those rules that tells you everything you need to know about a post from the first line – but only after you’ve actually read the whole post?

    It could be both; you should ask the ruler for a definitive answer, but yet again, the rule says nothing about whether to read the post, but about its expected quality.

  96. John Morales says

    Acolyte:

    Why is a frog like a joke?
    You can take it apart bit by bit to see how it works, but in the process you kill it.

    What a rubbishy analogy!

    A well-dissected joke remains a joke rather than the remains of a joke, whereas a well-dissected frog no longer remains a frog but rather the remains of a frog.

    If there were such a crime on the statute books, some of you folks would be up before the beak on a charge of humourcide.

    Dry humour is not for you, right? :)

  97. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Dry humour is not for you, right? :)

    On the contrary, the drier the better. But tearing someone a new arsehole for making a joke about the New Rule and PZ’s post titles is not dry humour, it’s a complete humour breakdown*.

    *I was going to add, ‘and bullying to boot’, but then I thought of the flaming ;-)

  98. John Morales says

    Acolyte, to what arsehole-tearing do you refer?

    (And do you not distinguish between making a joke and purportedly attempting to make a joke?)

  99. ChasCPeterson says

    yeah, I was going by somebody’s quote and so yes. I missed the italics.
    *embarrassed*

  100. Acolyte of Sagan says

    John Morales
    12 April 2013 at 7:50 pm (UTC -5) Link to this comment

    Acolyte, to what arsehole-tearing do you refer?

    (And do you not distinguish between making a joke and purportedly attempting to make a joke?)

    re. arsehole tearing; it was nothing you did, I was referring to the commenters who ripped into oddest after his (admittedly not very funny but well observed nontheless) joke.
    There, answered both questions in one.
    G’night.

  101. Anri says

    John Morales:

    Anri, heh. I was (and am) just being playfully pedantic for argument’s sake.

    Ah, good, I was hoping I hadn’t totally misinterpreted what was going on here.

    For myself, I’ll approach it this way: I’ll read posts that start with a ‘flame on’ disclaimer if I can make my eyes stop rolling sufficiently.

  102. Holms says

    And now Holms is making another category error.

    What improper comparison have I made? For that matter, what comparison of any nature have I made?

    As I already argued, that’s exactly what you guys are doing.

    I’ve been saying from my first post that people should chill, that it’s just a wry observation rather than a hard rule. So, how on earth am the one getting my ‘rules lawyer’ on? Silliness. I think you’ve accidentally lumped me with the people who are now arguing wikipedia and dictionary definitions for or against oddest’s shitty joke, simply because I’m not on the same side as you.

    I was (and am) just being playfully pedantic for argument’s sake.

    You don’t say. Actually, that seems to explain about 90% of this reply thread.

  103. says

    @ Holms

    Incorrect.

    Prodding someone with a sharp stick is supposed to elicit laughter, not correction.

    @ chigau

    “drôle“

    Eau contraire!

    “drole”

    The mis-spelling of French words on Pharyngula is a tribal identifier.

  104. says

    Acolyte:

    re. arsehole tearing; it was nothing you did, I was referring to the commenters who ripped into oddest after his (admittedly not very funny but well observed nontheless) joke

    How was oddest ripped into?

  105. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Tony! The Lonely Queer Shoop
    13 April 2013 at 1:21 am

    Acolyte:[........] How was oddest ripped into?

    Did you not see the various comments (including one or more by your good self) by the commentariat who failed to see that oddest was simply jesting and set about telling him exactly why (s)he was wrong and that( s)he’d missed the point ((s)he hadn’t,by the way, just played with it), that (s)he hadn’t thought his/her position through (what position? It was a joke, not a debate point) and even a veiled suggestion by tethys to ban oddest – unless I’m missing the point of tethys saying “I will note that oddest is beyond the three post limit”.
    There are lots of examples; just press ‘Ctrl+F’, enter ‘oddest’ into the little box that appears and look through the comments every time you see
    oddest’s ‘nym highlighted.

  106. Tethys says

    Yes, Acolyte of sagan, you are missing the point. Or more accurately, you are projecting based on my noting that oddest was past the three post rule.

    Do note that oddest was only told that their joke wasn’t particularly funny. (Oh, the humanity!!1) Oddest’s style of commenting is a common opening gambit for the trolls who have a hate on for PZ ie. twist any and all topics to show the supposed hypocrisy of the horde.

    Owlglass was told to fuck off, because owlglass is an enormous asshole.

    Then you misread the hilarious example of “All atheists are bananas.”
    If you’ve been around here long enough, you should know why that actually is funny.

    What is most hilarious tho, is the people who keep accusing me of having no sense of humor, despite the fact that everyone agrees that oddest’s joke wasn’t funny. Logic…how do you werk!?

    ps. Holm’s “sometimes pharyngula trolls you!” was kinda funny too.

  107. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Sorry, my mistake. I thought the ‘three post’ rule was something about suspected trolls having three chances to prove otherwise or suffer expulsion to the dungeon, or whatever PZ does to trolls – and without a fair trial too! Now that’s inhumanity; t’s more like Guantanygula round here sometimes.
    Maybe it’s because I’m not a regular here, but rather drop by from time to time so don’t get to see the trolls as much as you, but I saw oddests well-observed but poorly told joke for what it was straight away, and I was both amused and surprised by the reactions of so many who seemed to think (s)he was either trolling or trying to make a serious(-ly flawed) point.

    I don’t know Owlglass, I’ll take your word for it.

    To my shame, I read over the bananas line without it registering, but yes, it is rather apt.

    To my credit, I didn’t accuse you of not having a sense of humour, though I may have made a veiled suggestion of a mass humour-failure over that one comment. And I think that logic works in such an illogical fashion that it’s actually incomprehensible, which is why it’s often the least funny jokes that are the funniest – especially after alcohol or a funny cigarette or two. Example: What’s red and invisible? No tomatoes!

    I thought Holms’ comment was a statement of fact rather than a quip. You live and learn.

    Friends?