On the road to Calgary

This is a long traveling weekend for me — I’m on my way to Calgary/Edmonton for a lecture and a debate. That means my internet access may be a little spotty, and I’m a little concerned about some of the trends in the comments, so I’m laying down a few rules.

  • There are too many trolls. I’m shutting off anonymous commenting for at least a little while — it won’t make them go away, but it will make it much easier for me to clean up their stinky little droppings afterwards. If it suddenly makes it impossible for you regulars to comment, let me know by email.

    I may turn anonymous commenting back on when I get back, or I may leave it in place. Consider this an experiment. Aw, heck…I’ll definitely restore it for at least a few days when I’m back so everyone can discuss whether they hate it or not.

  • Another of those interminable back-and-forth threads where people insult others with slang terms for female genitalia, and others point out that that is demeaning to women, has begun again. I hate those. I am not about to start policing language here (I hate that, too), but I will point out that if you think it’s disparagement to compare someone to any of the delightful features found in the sublime wonderland of a lady’s garden of Venus, you are a sloppy anus with a faulty sphincter and a putrefying colon. So there. You can go ahead and use any slang terms for genitals that you desire, but henceforth they will all be regarded as expressions of endearment, love, and lust.

    I’ve noticed that we’ve got quite a few readers here who feel a passionate desire for Ann Coulter. She should be flattered. You should be embarrassed that you are communicating your true feelings so poorly.

  • Comments are getting a little too gratuitously snarly. I’m not going to censor your general cussedness, but think a bit — spitting out a swear word doesn’t make you witty. At least make an effort to be creatively profane. I have high expectations for commenters here: you can be rude, I even encourage it, but force yourself to use your brain to a higher degree than is demanded by knee-jerk strings of expletives. Remember, I do have a rule about boring me.


  1. says

    Yeah, what PZ said! If anyone needs some suggestions for clever rudeness, head over to Ed Brayton’s place and take a look at the thread there about witty ripostes. There’s a huge long list of possibilities, from Shaw to, um, some living person.

    I don’t think they included the inimitable Marge Tartaglione (or however you spells that), from 1970s Philadelphia politics, who one asked a political adversary following a prolonged diatribe, “Are you finished?” When he replied “yes,” she quipped “Then wipe yourself.”

    Not really up to the British standard, but good enough for the City of Brotherly Love.

  2. Nerd of Redhead says

    Enjoy your trip as much as you can. We will have a few choice words waiting for you upon your return. :-)

  3. 'Tis Himself says

    This is a long traveling weekend for me — I’m on my way to Calgary/Edmonton for a lecture and a debate.

    Is he gone yet?

  4. JanineK says

    Yikes. I tried to register and instead, I got this old thing. I do not even remember signing up for it. Damn, I can no longer change my name.

  5. HenryS says

    Another of those interminable back-and-forth threads where people insult others with slang terms for female genitalia, and others point out that that is demeaning to women, has begun again. I hate those.
    It’s more than words…the sick “frat-boy” misogyny has consequences.

  6. Diderot says

    I figured this would be a natural consequence of the “encouraging rudeness” post, despite my agreement with it. Invective tempered with wit is a sign of linguistic skill that most posters here have in spades when they choose to use it. A little wit goes a long way.

    I’d also like to note that this changes my handle as well. So, I’m with Janine on the “Nay” vote. I had gotten quite used to going by Michael X.

  7. says

    I’m not gone yet.

    And yes, I’m hoping this will be painless and untraumatic. All I’m hoping for is some degree of suppression of the endlessly morphing kooks.

  8. says

    My father (James Blish, SF author) told me:

    “Don’t use profanity in your day to day language and writing. Otherwise, you lose a key means of letting others know you’re sincerely angry.”

    He also said, specifically with regard to writing, that:

    “English is an immensely sophisticated language; surely there is a way to say exactly what you mean, without resorting to being crude. The art is in crafting just the right words for the subject and the situation.”

  9. says

    Kirk Durston spoke at the U of M a few monthes ago. His arguments were a bit weird. Something about using computational proteomics(in a way I have never heard it described before: describing protiens in bits of information)to form a new version of the old creationist probability arguments. Is this debate being recorded? I would love to hear it. Will it be available online somewhere?

  10. says

    (Tries to think of something rude to say about Calgary that hasn’t already been said…

    … Fails.)

    Seriously, it’s a pretty city. Tho’ it’s been more than a few years since I’ve been there.

    I’ve never been to Edmonton. I’ve heard it’s just like Calgary tho’…

    (Ducks and runs…)

  11. NewEnglandBob says

    fyngyrz said:

    “English is an immensely sophisticated language; surely there is a way to say exactly what you mean, without resorting to being crude. The art is in crafting just the right words for the subject and the situation.”

    But English, being an immensely sophisticated language, also allows one to obfuscate and obliterate meaning via innuendo, suggestion, double entendre and verbosity. Too many do not say exactly what they mean and others are clueless as to what they mean.

  12. Lord Zero says

    I agree with some rules to be enforced. But im sure religious or right wing nuts are going to made a ruckuss
    about it.
    They are going to call it censorship. Plus, i fear than a ban on low quality comments will hit them badly.

    Anyway, PZ, enjoy your trip. Im sure the news about it
    are gonna be fun.

    PS: The paper related entries are decreasing on quantity ?

  13. says

    Oh! I thought this was the Abuse department…

    [ goes next door, asks politely where the Abuse department is… ]

    “Shut your festering gob, you snotty-faced heap of parrot-droppings! Your type really makes me puke, you toffee-faced, loud-mouthed malodorous pervert!”

    [ goes looking for the Argument Clinic instead, but is abducted by Denis Moore and held ransom for lupins. Please send your donations today. ]

  14. NewEnglandBob says

    Oh, yeah, I forgot my questions:

    PZ, who are you debating?

    Are you giving a lecture or getting one ?

  15. says

    Getting testy… no wait, that isn’t it. I mean, “testing…”

    I think my brain is installed backwards, in that I use far more profanity in meatspace than I do online. But while it is true that some people will not listen to any argument that contains profanity (mostly Ray Comfort types) the Carlin 7 do not affect validity.

    OK here goes –

  16. Mena says

    I didn’t think that it was possible to change my name but I tried and succeeded. Now if I can just remember how…
    It’s somewhere in the preferences.

  17. Azkyroth says

    …what the hell does it mean that you’re turning off “Anonymous commenting?”


    :thumbs down:

  18. Teleprompter says

    I really don’t like this. I do NOT want to have to sign in every time I comment on this blog.

    Blagggh. Bleck.

    I vote NO.

  19. LouisC says

    Excellent, I’ve always preferred to register for comments, it deters the most idiotic, and less determined, dullards.

  20. Nerd of Redhead says

    Teleprompter, just click remember me when you sign in. You will then have a cookie to authenticate you automatically. Works with IE6 and Safari. You may need to turn on/off accept cookies.

  21. SEF says

    if it … keeps the less amusing offenders out

    It doesn’t. Facilis very quickly started using a TypeKey/TypePad account in the previous thread.

  22. E.V. says

    Oooooh Mr. Kotter? Who was morphing? Details please. Is Silver Fox actually Vox Day or just a wannabe pillow buddy? Is Facilis and Louden the same idiot. How ’bout Doesn’t / Always – a ghost from the dungeon past? Inquiring minds want to know.

  23. says

    I appear to have had this profile for almost 4 years, and I seldom use it. Apart from getting stuck in some login loops, changing an old name to the one I’d prefer to use wasn’t all that painless. If we’re going to go to the trouble of logins, can we be rewarded with icons, or would that just spawn even more complaints?

  24. Nerd of Redhead says

    EV, On morphing I think PZ was thinking more of the tin (Sn) man, Mr. Stannum. A poisonous little wretch of a man, and his brain ain’t very big either.

  25. bobxxxx says

    Totally off topic: Today my favorite president, President Obama, published his first Saturday morning video address here. I plan to watch his videos every Saturday morning for the next 8 years.

  26. Wowbagger says

    If it means we’ll be rid of idiots like Stan/Supersport and the John A Davison fan club then that’s a plus, but I worry that it’s going to cut down on that particular breed of troll whose very ignorance and obtuseness remind us of what we’re up against.

    Plus I enjoy bombarding them with a mixture of facts, snark and abuse.

  27. Michael X says

    No no no! No icons! Spare us from becoming one of those forums. *takes off elitist hat, puts on snobby artist hat* Besides, they’re so ascetically jarring and cluttered.

  28. SEF says

    can we be rewarded with icons

    No idolatry/iconography, we’re atheists. ;-)

    The avatar/icon thing on Typekey (which has changed muchly in the years since I first registered with it and the other week when PZ started using it again) seems to be linked to having a paid-up blog. Hardly worth it. The original pharyngula website (before ScienceBlogs) had a differently linked system of pictures I think.

    You could always adopt an interesting character or three (perhaps even in your displayed username) in lieu of a usericon. Eg: ©v© …@o”

  29. says

    Oh, heck–clearly it’s 2005 again, and I’m back to my old name :(.

    I want thalarctos back–Ken, do you remember how you did it? Mine just logs me in and proceeds directly to comments; no configuration page or anything…I guess I could just start a new account, but prefer to clean up the old one, if possible.

  30. Janine Of The Fixed Identity says

    I am not even sure I want to use any sort of photo for my Typekey page. Janine, International Woman Of Mystery.

  31. E.V. says

    I confess I vomited profusely on Louden the Fool to cut him off before he got started luring people with his insipid trolling. He hijacks the thread when The SIWOTI crowd, and the subset of well intentioned pedants, can’t quite comprehend that he refuses to abide by rules of logic and reason no matter how well stated or well supported their arguments are.
    I have little regret going “full goose profanity-laden bozo” on the Fool (it did seem to cut him off), but I am sorry for boring the reasonable and sane readers here.

  32. Nerd of Redhead says

    Since we can post pictures on Typepad, we don’t need icons. My profile picture shows an overweight scientist who is bald and has glasses. I resemble that picture.

  33. Wowbagger says

    I give icons the thumbs down as well. More for the sake of those of with with slightly more venerable machines that struggle enough with the long threads without having add extra graphics to the screen than anything else – though I have to admit I dislike Richard Dawkins’ site because I find the gaudy and/or animated squares distracting.

    Keep it simple, PZ!

  34. Dharmasatya says

    I think registering to comment is a fine idea. It may help keep the spam and the idiot morphers to a minimum. (Which is not to say all people who change their handles are idiots. Janine is one example that comes to mind of someone who’s “morphing” is a source of much amusement! Her nick changes according to the last insult some creo-bot or woo-meister has lobbed in her general direction, and I will certainly miss it.)

  35. Wayne Robinson says

    So that’s the reason I couldn’t make my usual anonymous, offensive and repetitive comments… damn!

  36. E.V. says

    On morphing I think PZ was thinking more of the tin (Sn) man, Mr. Stannum. A poisonous little wretch of a man, and his brain ain’t very big either.

    Oh, so… Oz never did give nothing to the tin man?

  37. Janine Of The Fixed Identity says

    Thalarctos, here is what you need to do.

    Hit your name.

    Hit “Edit Your Profile”.

    Hit “Edit Display name”.

    Hit “Go To TypePad”.

    Make your desired changes.

    Go back to Pharyngula. Sign out and sign back in.

  38. Nerd of Redhead says

    Janine, International Woman Of Mystery.

    Argh, in my mind I picture her with a cyberuzi in one hand and a glass of chardonnay in the other, and a heavy veil to blur her face.

  39. Janine Of The Fixed Identity says

    Posted by: thalarctos | January 24, 2009

    oh, never mind, figured it out! happy bear!

    After I laid it out, step by step. Oh well. Perhaps it will help others.

    Happy Monkey!

  40. Wowbagger, Grumpy Minimalist says

    Yeah, you can change your display name. It takes a couple of minutes, but you can do it – I’m living proof!

  41. Cath the Canberra Cook says

    Oh, also: thank you PZ for your remarks on genital-based insults.

    I suppose I’m OK with TypeKey as a temporary troll control measure, but I hope you won’t insist on it in general. The other things I dislike, as well as the fixed identity, are

    – signing up for yet another site that will send me spam member information. And that had a stupid interface that got stuck in a loop when I registered and told me I hadn’t entered an email.

    – not having a personal URL in my name link. Yes, it’s a tiny bit of blog whoring, but I like following others’ links too. A new Cuttlefish? Yay! Just click on the name. It adds a bit to the community for me.

  42. Horse-Pheathers says

    Listen ye Pharyngulites, our master hence has gone
    in dance of writhing tentacle, in Calgary to spawn
    Wisdom in the eager minds of those that come to see
    the words that his chromatophores spell out in his decree:

    “If one must curse then curse ye well” spoke our leader thus.
    “Use the brain within your head if and when you cuss.
    To do less bores me to no end — please show me greater wit
    than type a couple hundred lines of ‘shitshitshitSHIT’.”

    “And so ye yon Pharyngulites, heed your master’s word!
    It pleases me if when you curse it’s one I’ve never heard.
    ‘O bastard son of flatulence, o sphincter gaping wide,
    o cesspit of the rotting flesh that crawled up there and died!
    O pestilential knucklehead whose brain is made of cheese
    spewing vapid utterances to spread your head’s disease!
    O scrofulous and vapid one, you reek of eau de dog
    and have a face that’d better grace the ass of a warthog!’

    So here I say, Pharyngulites, that if and when you swear
    do as I have done above, craft your curse with care!”

  43. Ken_Cope says

    But with an icon, I could show Janine, leftist bozo, that I drive the bus. Also, URLs are requested during login but are now superfluous, since clicking on our name now goes only to moveable type, which presumably I must move around to refer to my webpage‘s URL.

    I can see how the only way to make 1200+ threads composed primarily of SIWOTI worse, would be with icons.

  44. Nerd of Redhead says

    Janine, sometimes the Redhead doesn’t have red hair either. She has a pile of wigs and uses them at her whim. Mostly she goes about in her natural hair color.

  45. SC, OM says

    Hmmm. I noticed that when I changed it, it retroactively changed my earlier post as well.

  46. SEF says

    I had an old TypeKey account, and reset it.

    Something strange is going on. An hour or so ago my profile was a number as per usual. Now it has suddenly changed to being a name – as are several other people’s, while a few still remain as numbers (including letters). I didn’t even change my profile for that to happen.

  47. Michael X says

    Hmmm. I noticed that when I changed it, it retroactively changed my earlier post as well.

    Did that to me to. Now #8 just looks strange or incredibly snarky. I’m still not keen on this whole registering deal. But a test is a test.

  48. SC, OM says

    Something strange is going on. An hour or so ago my profile was a number as per usual. Now it has suddenly changed to being a name – as are several other people’s, while a few still remain as numbers (including letters). I didn’t even change my profile for that to happen.

    That I don’t like to hear. The whole thing makes me really uneasy.

  49. AnthonyK says

    Hmm. Let’s see:
    Evolution is just a theory.
    There is no evidence for it, none. No transitional species have ever been observed. It’s impossible to spontaneously add information: doing so violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Evolution leads to a materialistic, atheistic worldview, and one can draw a direct line between Darwinian thought processes and the concentration camps. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot are all a direct consequence of the evolutionist religion.
    And PZ Myers is an uncivil c***
    Testing, testing….

  50. raven says

    Typepad is buggy as all hell. I spent almost an hour trying to figure it out. I tried everything.

    So it works now. Really, I have no fucking idea why it works now.

    I was back and forth between scienceblogs and typepad.com.

    The key ingredient must have been the small animal I sacrificed.

    Some detailed instructions on how to create a FREE typepad account would be useful. I think at one point I accidently signed up for some sort of blog package that I have no intention of ever using.

  51. tsig says

    I was on a forum and they decided to get rid of all the problem makers. This was OK by me till i saw the list.

  52. clinteas says

    Jebus Christ on a stick…..

    Gone for 2 days and there’s apparently a wild mob flinging sexual insults at each other,and the trolls have taken over….

    I just havent been participating in any shit-flinging with the morons,if everyone would just ignore and killfile them silently,we wouldnt have this typekey situation now.

    Its not so bad,but we might miss out on the occasional interesting troll.

    Off to the beach

  53. Horse-Pheathers says

    I spent more time trying to get TypePad working than I did composing the little bit of doggerel I posted up there ^ somewhere.

    (Yeah, it shows.) ;)

  54. SEF says

    The ability to change profile name and have it ripple back throughout the blog is a serious disadvantage when trying to reply to someone’s post such that subsequent readers will understand the flow of a thread. The post number can’t be relied on because of post deletions (and occasional late insertions after being held in ScienceBlogs limbo for the crime of containing more than 3 links). Now the name used when posting can’t be relied on as a (primary or back-up) reference either, since that can be retrospectively changed too.

  55. AnthonyK says

    I don’t like typepad or whatever it’s called either. It’ll lead to us having one of the sites with avatars, and stupid quotes, and flashing lights, and large areas of white space like some of those blooming christianist places where you go and think: shall I? And then, oh dear me no, these people really aren’t quite the ticket, intellectually speaking, fibbing for jebus, as they do. And I don’t like having greek letters after my name as though I’m a member of something rather than a free thinker. It’s sinister, in my view…and you can bet that some of the fellows who come here and waste our time with points which miss the point to a considerable extent will be happy to use it, which makes me, and the little baby jebus, cry.

  56. says

    Well, that’s thirty minutes of my life I won’t ever get back. (Besides, I have better uses for the blood of two small goats than forcing the Nothing to help me with TypePad.)

    I echo #65:

    Oh, people with their own sites definitely need to be able to link to them.

  57. SEF says

    It’ll lead to us having one of the sites with avatars, and stupid quotes, and flashing lights, and …

    Hmm… “slippery slope” fallacy. So far there has been no re-addition of avatars/usericons (which were on the old Pharyngula website for a while) nor sign of a personal motto/signature area. There was never any hope of not having stupid quotes with creationists et al around though! Meanwhile, any flashing/animated stuff seems to be largely the fault of ScienceBlogs management.

  58. Kitty'sBitch says

    I hate it!!
    This is my protest name.
    I chose it because my wife’s name is Kitty, and I totally am.

  59. says

    Who but a malodorous cnidarian worm would get pleasure out of inconveniencing his commenters? A dyspeptic placozoan, a sociopathic cat, an observant creationist.

    In addition, this blithering paragon of cookie abuse waits until he’s going out of town to pull this stunt upon us. Giving us no chance to really vent our ire while he can be made to rethink his malignant cognition and correct the matter.

    Thus PZ Myers shows himself to be a wit tangled moose bopper, a goon with a warped anal sphincter, a low rent science reporter in a worn out mumu ten sizes too small. A pre-school teachers aide with a dime store diploma.

    May he pass a kidney stone with multiple sharp crystals.

  60. AnthonyK says

    Well I went ski-ing and everyone assured me I’d be fine, but I ended up breaking my d*** leg. Now that was a slippery slope fallacy.

  61. Heraclides says

    PZ, could I suggest that you point out that:

    (a) You are asking that people sign up for a TypeKey identity? This wasn’t clear to me at all.

    (b) For people to post now they must first click on the “sign in” link of the “If you have a TypeKey identity, you can sign in to use it here.” immediately below “Post a Comment” at the bottom of the page. The wording is misleading in your context, as it reads as if it’s an optional thing: you are asking that it now be read as “To comment, sign in to TypePad first”. (The comment “Email is required…” below the “Post a Comment” should be updated, too.)

    (c) When users are signing into TypePad, once they are in TypePad with an username and password, they will have to select the ‘Account’ page from the menu bar on the top of the page, then select ‘Email and Password’ from the options on the left, and check the box next to “Share your email address” to ask that TypePad will forward email address to sciblogs.

    I know I am nitpicking (!), but one person making it clear can save a lot of people time. You’re welcome to borrow my description.

    I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the “TypePad/TypeKey” approach. I would have preferred scienceblogs maintain a simple registration scheme of their own.

    Q: Why does “Post a Comment” capitalise “comment”? We’re not into the biblical-speak thing of Capitalising Random Words that Seem Important here…! ;-)

  62. AnthonyK says

    Oh, I’m not a troll. Or Nordic. But I am a typepad hater. (@73 was pure fiction, but g** d*** it, no one took me seriously. I’m upset)

  63. Jadehawk says

    who breaks a leg doing Nordic skiing? I thought it was the Alpine skiing that was dangerous?

  64. AnthonyK says

    No, the Alpine ski-ing is perfectly safe. It’s the Alpine falling over which is dangerous.

  65. Jadehawk says

    well, you’re not supposed to do THAT, silly.

    Though now that I remembered that ski-jumping also counts as Nordic Skiing, maybe the Alpine falling is still safer than the Nordic falling :-p

  66. Zarquon says

    I generally try to keep my sexuality away from the ski slopes.

    Why else would you go somewhere water has spontaneously frozen? That ice stuff is just not natural.

  67. Jadehawk says

    That ice stuff is just not natural.

    yeah! it totally goes against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics!!!11one!!

  68. Nerd of Redhead says

    Well I went ski-ing and everyone assured me I’d be fine, but I ended up breaking my d*** leg. Now that was a slippery slope fallacy.

    Sounds like some sympathy sex coming to you to me. Enjoy!

  69. Wayne says

    Good grief! I’ve just spent an hour getting TypeKey to accept my OpenID and letting me log in. Now I see why you think this will eliminate casual comments. Nobody will want to go through that!

    The idiot TypeKey site insists on knowing your gender and birth date. Why they need this is beyond me. I don’t provide my birth date freely; it’s too easy for it to be abused. But since I’m basically honest, it took me a couple of minutes to decide whether I should lie about it or forever give up being able to comment here. I finally decided I would lie so that I could post this rant. At the present moment the rant is more important to me. Yes, I know it’s the ‘net and nobody expects that we’re all truthfully representing ourselves, but is that really the way we want to build our society?

    If we have to require login, can you at least use a site like OpenID that let’s you regulate what you want seen by others, and doesn’t require personal information that’s not needed?

  70. Carlie says

    Oh, I love it when PZ does a smackdown.
    (That didn’t sound quite right, did it?)

    Took some searching, but I found my Typekey info from ages ago. Yea!

  71. Kamaka says

    I don’t provide my birth date freely;

    I have a made-up one just for the internet, so’s I don’t get mixed up

  72. Jadehawk says

    ok, now i’m curious. lacking all other information, how do you abuse someone’s birth-date? it’s not like there aren’t millions of other people born on the same day…

  73. says

    I’ve had a TypePad/Key account for ages, so here I am, the ordinary person who isn’t a scientist – in your comments feature.

    Not saying cunt.

  74. says

    “…if you think it’s disparagement to compare someone to any of the delightful features found in the sublime wonderland of a lady’s garden of Venus…”
    Kind of a disappointing view, especially for an evolutionary biologist.

  75. E.V. says

    What can you say of someone who buys kneepads by the freight car?

    How about, “Hey, while you’re down there…”

  76. Kamaka says

    how do you abuse someone’s birth-date?

    b-day is deadly with other info…name, mom’s maiden name, a good address. With driver’s license stuff in the public domain, they need like two, at most three pieces to take you apart. Think Nigeria.

  77. Jadehawk says

    b-day is deadly with other info…name, mom’s maiden name, a good address. With driver’s license stuff in the public domain, they need like two, at most three pieces to take you apart. Think Nigeria.

    right, but you’re not asked any of those other questions… I’m generally far more protective of my name than of a birth-date I share with millions of other people. it’s not like either my adress, my name, or any other useful info is connected to the TypePad account (or with anything else connected to my casual internet activity

  78. speedwell says

    PZ, the Internet filter on my work server blocks TypePad. That means that I cannot comment while traveling away from my home office, as I am required to always log on through my work server when I am in a hotel room or an airport or at a remote location. Since it is now Saturday night and I happen to be home, I can use my TypePad account, but I’m simply not going to be able to participate at other times. I am a regular and a supporter and I check this blog several times a day, every day. Please reconsider! Thanks!

  79. Epikt says

    This (typepad) is a pain in the ass. It’s making me very, very grumpy. It’s only fitting, then, that I take out my irritation on the next fundie troll that shows up around here.

    Umm, is this thing on?

  80. Jeanette says

    I’ve already gotten used to signing in, and don’t find it to be much of an imposition. It’s an especially good idea when PZ travels, and can’t babysit everyone on the site.

  81. speedwell says

    Jeannette, I don’t mind signing in, so long as it is something that isn’t unusable for me.

  82. says

    I didn’t even know I had a typepad id but I must have registered at some point. I personally don’t feel that these trolls are a problem but this isn’t my blog. PZ owns this site and he should be able to decide who he wants on the site.

  83. speedwell says

    Whoa. I read the blog Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com), and they just posted that in 1860, someone named Pete Muggins sent Abraham Lincoln the following letter:

    God damn your god damned old Hellfired god damned soul to hell god damn you and goddam your god damned family’s god dammed hellfired god damned soul to hell and god damnnation god damn them and god damn your god damn friends to hell god damn their god damned souls to damnation.

    I don’t know whether to call that one more “a knee-jerk string of expletives,” or “creatively profane,” honestly.

  84. says

    This typepad stuff was really annoying. It’s taken me hours to get it working. Turns out I somehow signed up to typepad in October 2007, no idea why. Anyway, I’m on now.

  85. says

    Nope, this shit is pure evil. My account from 2007 won’t let me update my profile so I can display my blog. Fuck typepad, fuck it right in the ear.

  86. Valis says

    On first reading the title of this thread I saw it as “On the road to Calvary”. I almost thought PZ got religion, hehe.

    Fyngyrz @ #10: Wow, your father is James Blish? I love his books!

  87. John Phillips, FCD says

    Profanity for the sake of profanity I tend to avoid, just a personal thing, except when it is obviously a bit of silly fun between regulars. However, it has its place, even when used in the plainest manner possible. Though, IMO, for maximum effect it is best used sparingly. Especially for maximum shock value with the, “you atheist are being mean and rude and you have made mebaby jeebus cry so I will ignore everything you say and babble on inconsequentially (a bit like I have probably just done :) ) about mean atheists” crowd.

    As to Icons etc., I would like to state up front and without any ambiguity before there is even any possible consideration of such evil;


    I have stopped visiting a couple of sites that I used to frequent regularly because they started allowing Icons/Avatars/Gravatars what have you. For what were previously snappy sites, response wise, even with hundreds of posts, have now become sites that often need multiple refreshes to even load properly. And that with only a few dozen posts on my reasonably fast 15Mbps/2.5Mbps ADSL2+ Annex M line, very fast DNS servers and generally excellent routing worldwide. I hate to think what the response would be like with one of our many hundreds or even thousand+ post threads with Icons etc., especially for those on lower bandwidth connections.

  88. John Phillips, FCD says

    SEF, as to commenters names having changed, you can always include the link to the comment being referenced. Just right click on the date part after the posters name and paste the link to the comment you are replying to in you rpost. You can also gussy it upo with HTML if you don’t like just the plain long link.

    e.g. your comment is I am replying to is;


    and gussied up with HTML could become

    SEF’s original comment to which I am replying

    using < TEXT >

    The link to the comment goes between the “” and a more read friendly name replaces TEXT.

  89. John Phillips, FCD says

    Sorry, that came out wrong, the last two lines should be;

    <a href=””> TEXT </a>

    The link to the comment goes between the “” and a more read friendly name replaces TEXT.

  90. SEF says

    you can always include the link to the comment being referenced.

    Perhaps you missed me already having done that on occasion!

    However, doing that wastes one of the precious 3 (or is it 2?) links allowed in each post without it being summarily abducted and sent to ScienceBlogs’ Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention. So I prefer to give name, rank and quote only for things in the same thread.

    Incidentally, as discovered on the trashy BBC site (in its various incarnations), having an in-thread record, via explicit-naming replies, of who had posted as whom, became useful when identifying the habitual morphing trolls of lesser sophistication.

  91. says

    testing, 1..2..3..

    I’m taking this opportunity to change the name I use here. I have been commenting on Pharyngula since long before the scienceblogs days, way back when it was just a blog draw in the mud with a stick, but lately other people using my same five-character name have started appearing. The fact that they’re using the same name, coupled with the fact that they too usually have nothing intelligent to contribute makes it too easy to confuse their comments with mine.

    Heck, PZ doesn’t even use my submissions to him for posts anymore, so I might as well change.

  92. SEF says

    @ raven #74:

    Some detailed instructions on how to create a FREE typepad account would be useful.

    Depending on what exactly you mean, it’s probably not possible. The original TypeKey was free back when I did it. It’s now much more linked to TypePad than it was and TypePad costs money for any level of usage of it. So far my old TypeKey account appears to work (but abruptly changed from being a number in the URL to a name during the course of yesterday evening, GMT). So far I haven’t worked out why or what the consequences might be (other than the obvious security breach connected with it).

    I think at one point I accidently signed up for some sort of blog package that I have no intention of ever using.

    Be afraid – or at least be very careful. The blurb I read had that being a free trial for only 14 days. If you fail to act promptly to cancel that subscription at the right moment (not sure if some time well before 14 days will do or if you have to catch it to the second, minute, hour or day of ticking over) they will be charging you for it. Worse, cancelling that bloggy part of it might invalidate your TypeKey part too; and could even prevent you ever using that particular login name or email address again with them.

  93. John Phillips, FCD says

    SEF. Obviously so as I don’t religiously read literally every post. Sorry to have bothered you, I’ll know in future not to waste our time.

  94. SEF says

    Ooh, another freaky thing. The post currently in position #128 here (ie #comment-1350205) now says it was posted by PZ Myers and shows up on the dark grey background characteristic of the blog host. However, on my previous page refresh, it (ie the same content in the same location) was posted by someone else entirely and was displayed as a normal user post.

    Assuming it’s not a bizarre security hole in ScienceBlogs, PZ must have found a way to have more than one TypeKey/TypePad account be recognised as the host. He’s both a name (in #9) and a number now!

  95. Zarquon says

    Oh, that’s really nasti. The PZ Myers comment #128 goes to africangenesis’s profile. SECURITY!

  96. Africangenesis says


    Yes that was nasty, I saw comments that you could change your display name, and assumed that typepad or typekey, whatever it is would enforce unique names. It didn’t. Ooops.

  97. Africangenesis says

    BTW, It changed the name on my profile to PZ Myers also, you must have clicked after I changed it back. So you would only have the number vs name to tell the difference. Or if someone has a number account instead you would have to compare numbers, which should remain different.

    OpenID which uses names would seem to be a better alternative than this typepad, since the link is the constant.

  98. SEF says

    OK Someone really needs to prod PZ (whenever the US time is appropriate) and tell him to ditch TypeKey right now. It’s way too dangerous that the unwary (majority?), who don’t routinely check code numbers (yes, I really am that “sad” as well as having quite a good non-1984-like memory for reality vs imposed fictions), could be fooled into thinking a troll was the blog host. It’s extremely bad that ScienceBlogs software is fooled.

  99. Africangenesis says

    I agree, I think there is no benefit to registering, if it doesn’t enforce unique display names. That would be the minimum benefit to expect.

  100. SEF says

    The interwebz tells me that Calgary is in Alberta in the south-westish corner of Canada and that it’s currently about 5am there on a Sunday morning. So it might be a bit early to be waking him up (if anyone here has his contact details anyway).

  101. Africangenesis says


    there is a PZ post at #9, but as I explained above, I tested whether unique IDs were enforced, so briefly #128 was also PZ myers but with the number still in the link, compare to his link.

  102. SEF says

    You could test it yourself, clinteas, by changing your own TypeKey profile (temporarily) to display the name of PZ Myers and seeing what happens to your post(s). As a scientist, PZ would probably forgive honest experimentation with a bug.

  103. SEF says

    I’ve emailed PZ (and have no particular reason to believe he’d ignore emails from me). However, it may take him a while to wake up, read his email at all and then react to it (if that’s possible from where he is).

  104. 'Tis Himself says

    For me, at least, posts #142, 143 and 144 are all from clinteas. Post 128 is from Africangenesis, but I can’t see it because I have him killfiled.

  105. says

    OK… this is the first time I have used this TypeKey thingy. I have been reading this blog for abut 4-5 years. I have just never commented while TypeKey was enforced.



  106. SEF says

    You’re too late to see the former activity, “‘Tis Himself”. I assume killfile would also have been fooled though, back when the name-stealing was active.

  107. says

    Wow, I actually got this TypeKey thing to work. (I’m not known for my technical competence, it has to be said, despite the absurd amount of time I waste on the Internet.)

    I don’t really know why Prof Myers sees a need for this. There weren’t any more “trolls” than usual; I don’t get the impression that Facilis or Silver Fox are here to stir up trouble. I could be wrong, but as far as I can tell they’re well-meaning people. Making a weak philosophical argument does not render someone a troll.

  108. SC, OM says

    HATE this.

    I don’t like the idea that it’ll all of a sudden show some identifying information. It doesn’t help, either, that every time you change your name it changes all of your posts across the board or that people can post under others’ names. I wouldn’t mind a blog- or Sb-specific sign-in, because I trust PZ and Scienceblogs, but I don’t like or trust this glitchy thing. It’s not relaxing, and makes commenting much less fun.


  109. Nerd of Redhead says

    Walton, we had several disruptive trolls recently: Me, Mover, Molly, HeWhomYouDespise and I couple of others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Facilis is one step from proselytizing, which will get him plonked, along with the crimes of stupidity, godbotting, mangling of logic, and worst of all, being boring. Silver Fox is disruptive, some of it on purpose. If he would learn something, I could live with him posting. But he is denser than neutronium at times. PZ asked him to leave a few months ago. He did, but came back recently.

  110. Wowbagger, Grumpy Minimalist says


    I’ll give you Silver Fox – his ramblings are vapid but mostly inoffensive – but facilis? He is most certainly not ‘well-meaning’. He’s had his ass handed to him about his idiotic presuppositionalist non-argument more than once but keeps turning up on unrelated threads and trotting it out; I can only assume he hopes we’ve forgotten that we’ve already seen and dismissed it. Or perhaps he’ll find someone who hasn’t and who is prepared to actually engage him and give him the attention he seems to sorely need.

    And it is trolling. There are different kinds of troll – have a look in the dungeon section as to the specific behaviours that PZ considers intolerable.

    But I generally don’t mind trolls as long as they’re not repetitive or boring. That’s the worst crime of all. They can blather their nonsense ’til the cows come him as long as they’re not monotonous or repetitive. facilis is both; as such, I’ve killfilled him.

  111. mayhempix says

    I was happy when TypePad was added because I no longer needed to enter my name and email on every comment. I use NetNewsWire for my RSS feeds and it doesn’t have an autofill feature. I agree the symbol is visually annoying but very minor relative to the benefit. But please under no circumstances avatars. Please.

  112. recovering catholic says

    Hmmmm….two of us made posts yesterday about rule internalization, and both posts have disappeared this morning. I’m not in the dungeon, so is there some other filtering system being used???

  113. SteveM says

    I am totally confused by all the hate for TypePad (TypeKey).

    Previously (and still), “post a comment” has always instructed us, “If you have a TypeKey identity, you can sign in to use it here.” Note the “if”.

    If you didn’t sign in to TypeKey then everytime you want to enter a comment, you have to fill in a name box and an email box.

    If you sign in to TypeKey and check the “remember me” box, then you can just post comments without filling in a name and email. Seems much easier to me.

    Also, when I first discovered ScienceBlogs a year or so ago I signed up for a TypeKey identity but never used it. I have never received any “membership spam” from them in that time.

  114. Africangenesis says

    Completion makes filling in the name and email pretty easy, and I note that even though you signed up you “never used it”. I think if you read the thread, you will see there there is no perceived benefit and a few noted detriments in terms of referencing display names that may change underneath us, and the possibility of spoofing the display names of others. Yes, we can do that as well, but with the requirement for registration, the imprimatur of typepad might give an impression of the uniqueness of the identity, that we assumed, but it turns out doesn’t exist.

    Perhaps openid can give that uniqueness. I don’t know if display names can be changed with it, but at least the link has the name in it, so it is easy to hover over it to see if there was spoofing going on.

  115. recovering catholic says

    Africagenesis–how embarrassing that I can’t even keep track of what I posted where…thanks.

  116. recovering catholic says

    Africangenesis–sorry for misspelling your name. Maybe I should just go back to bed.


  117. speedwell says

    Africangenesis posted, “Speedwell How does your employer cripple your laptop so that you can use the internet directly from your hotel room?”

    I guess you mean “can’t use the Internet directly from the hotel room?” Well, it’s kind of complicated. The way I do access the Internet from the hotel is usually like this:

    – Obtain a daily code key from the hotel’s Internet service. In some hotels this is obtainable by signing up at their access webpage. In others, I receive a special “free access” code for the day from the front desk. My company has negotiated arrangements with its preferred hotels for Internet to be included in the room rate.
    – Use the code to sign into the Internet service.
    – Immediately switch to the company’s VPN page and log in to a regional VPN server, which puts my session under an extra level of security administered by my company.
    – Surf and/or work (the software I support is browser-based and all of our official communication is web-based).

    What keeps me from accessing the Internet directly through the hotel service without logging on through the VPN server? Uh… it’s a little thing called the honor system. Even if I was convinced that hotel Internet networks were perfectly safe and secure (which they are not), as an IT support person it wouldn’t do for me to be the one responsible for a security breach because I didn’t follow the procedures I enforce.

  118. Africangenesis says


    So it is just an abundance of organizational caution, and an admirable commitment to honor it. I was curious whether there might be something more draconian headed my way. Fortunately, I can get by with just keeping the antivirus and firewall up-to-date and activited. — thanx

  119. Patricia, OM says

    #10, I have a box full of your fathers books. Enjoyed them a great deal while I was growing up.

  120. Africangenesis says


    I am suitably admonished. I just got through violating my own standards and calling someone a name and had to apologize, then to come here and see your advice from someone I admire. Most of my blogging is done within three feet of “Cities in Flight”

    regards to your family

  121. yoeruek says

    …sitting in front of this comment box… having all those pictures in my head… having a good laugh, but everything to intimate to tell you folks.

  122. Benjamin Franklin says


    It’s been too long since I’ve posted on my beloved Pharyngula.

    What’s all this about identity cards, and implanted identity chips?

    “Let me see your papers!”

  123. Benjamin Franklin says


    I’ve been trying to remember for months, but didn’t your dad write a story about making the entire island of Manhattan into a starship?

    If so, what was the name of it?

  124. John Casey says

    It was a series, collectively known as _Cities in Flight_. Thanks to a practical anti-gravity device known as the ‘spin-dizzy’, large chunks of Earth’s surface could be lifted into space.