Things on my mind and a very useful vocabulary word/concept.

Very random post.


Current mood: Hurt – Johnny Cash

Target mood: Get up – Korn and Skrillex


This post is mostly a bunch of things I’m trying to think about right now that are holding up my writing. Sort of a “writer’s block objectified”. Sometimes what it takes to get me motivated is to socially verbalize what I’m feeling strongly about. It does not matter if anyone actually reads or responds to it in the abstract (but that would be nice), what matters is that I put it out there in social space. “Raised social profile” is an emotional experience. It’s the feeling that eyes might be on you so you have to take that into account while you do something. It’s a way of socially manipulating myself to deal with areas where I am working on a personal flaw and could use the motivation (that’s what it feels like anyway). Once it’s out there you feel the need to take it more seriously.

So I’m not saying I’m famous or anything, but it’s amazing what you realize you need to do when you actually “say it out loud” in public spaces. It’s like a bunch of motivational “search lights” come on when it works.



Thing 1) I’m turning my social dissections of trolls into my lessons on social conflict. I’ve decided that I need to standardize a format so that a reader has some predictability, and so that I can better control how I present things to readers. I’m trying to get more disciplined in what I am writing. Trying to make some predictable structure out of what I did here could be useful.

My next case study (and probably next post) will be about the troll “Yor” at We Hunted the Mammoth. They were quite the name-caller with little to no willingness or ability to back up the things they were typing.  A primary strategy was to switch the nature of the group or person they were arguing about in order to avoid providing substance for their claims (example: criticizing the commentators and blog, and then switching to criticizing feminism/feminists/radical feminists more broadly). They were little more than a dog pissing on a tree.

So far the structure of a dissection will be Intro, a general description of the person acting as a troll (as best as can be determined by the segment of reputation given in the comment), and the conflict involving the troll dissected apart into “rational sub-sections”. A rational section is going to be defined by it’s role in the following conflict.

For examples of “rational sub-sections” the troll’s first comment (1) and the first set of responses (2) have a defining effect on what is to come, a definition that has a lot to do with what I would call tit-for-tat psychology.

The term itself has a negative connotation defined by things like seemingly intractable conflicts among families (the Hatfield and McCoy conflict that spawned references in cartoons), to the social interactions between modern Israel and Palestine. Yet the same process for mirroring situational moral and ethical conduct at a level that includes conscious and unconscious elements, also includes the famous golden rule. The first comments (s) by a troll and the first set of responses are critical when it comes to the social posture that the combatants choose as they form impressions of themselves, one another, and the content of “their comments” from multiple frames of reference.

Things that I consider ethical and moral concerns (3) will also be introduced along with the specific comments in which they apply as well.


Thing 2) I should to do vocabulary/concepts posts, and you can consider this one the first (I’m also now asking myself why I’m not already doing them). I appeal to journal articles a lot in justifying the existence of phenomena and there are things I can do to help readers out. One of those things is to have a list of concepts that can unify a lot of things at the same time and to trickle them out in posts.

My first one is the term [social affordances].

The simple definition of [Affordance] offered at Wikipedia link that is “the possibility of an action on an object or environment”. In an analogy interacting with a video game that would be all the little things that you can do with the game as you interface with it, and the game console/computer running it. Everything from buttons, to movement, to menus, to game in-the moment interaction mechanics from milliseconds to hours and more. The ability to sense and use a system of damaging enemies based on “elemental effects” (fire, water, light, etc…) is an example of an affordance in video games with perceptual and cognitive elements.

Now think about how that concept merges with common experience. I think in terms of Social Affordances a lot. There are variables in how brains make minds associated with the concept. The ability to become aware of a previously unknown social pattern that can be sensed and interacted with is useful. Everyone can claim to have a basic interest in those two words presented as a term. Using this concept forces us to try to be as objective as we can about it.


Thing 3) ^[That]^ gets us to symbology (which I started above). I need to simplify the presentation of complex information in a form that is approachable and challengeable. I’m good at an authoritative voice and I dislike arguments from authority. That requires some creativity on my part in terms of making shit up with what the culture has made available to me. If you think that is farfetched you can #fuckoff (or is that “#youcanfuckoff”?). The following will be a set of equivalences that will be rules for the rest of this blog post.

[]=object=social affordance

Whatever I put in brackets is to be considered an object and a social affordance in the remainder of this blog post.

[social affordance] is also useful because I can yank lots of simple concepts from stuff like basic algebra or file structure to represent relationships (three kinds of brackets, lots of possibilities). So what about some [objective examples of social affordances]?

*The ability to detect and use [fallacious reasoning]/[list of logical fallacies]/[fallacy “X”]. For example [Ad Hominem]. The “/” creates a hierarchy structure similar to hard drive file locations here, but it indicates a way of conceptualizing relationships among categories and specifics within a category.

There is a distance between looking up a logical fallacy, and internalizing what it means to see it in a fluid enough manner to deal with one in seconds. On top of that recognizing it in yourself has its own set of challenges that amount to something I think of as “ultimate in-group interference, self” (no square brackets yet because I’m still trying to comfortably define such, but I bet you get what I’m talking about).

The ability to see a pattern in social communication, which is a behavior that you were previously blind to, is the creation of an objective [social affordance]:[fallacy “X”] (you can after all interact with objects). With time you can get more skilled at fallacious reasoning in general. My writing is very much about creating social affordances related to social conflict.

So what are some other things that I would call social affordances?

*[Political dog whistles]

These are words and terms, often ones that already exist, that are used differently by two or more groups of people. These words and terms are used differently for the purposes of organizing behavior  differently between the two groups. It’s a unique set of social meanings/responses/uses for the in-group of a user.

“death panels”, “identity politics”, “communist”, “family values” and more are examples of political dog-whistles.



I’ll end this with a couple of screen grabs from Powerpoint that involve some other ways of symbolically representing things that I’m trying to learn more about and use more fluidly in terms of concepts as they apply to common experience. I like playing with symbols and symbolism as a compulsive habit.


“Memory” is anything that changes you as you move forward in time. But this also allows for things that you inherit genetically and non-genetically that are likely to have significantly biased who you are now. If inherited epigenetic marks are involved in my Tourette’s Syndrome I would consider that a part of Memory, it’s just not my memory alone.


Circles inside of circles. That’s going to be interesting to get right. The proportion of Trump voters that agree with bigoted statements or provide answers to questions that suggest such is a tempting thing to play with. But on the other end I can imagine the mess that the same Trump voters would do with this (the one above too). Fortunately morals and ethics associated with a discussion of group dynamics and structure is also a thing that can be bound to that.




  1. Mitch Buchanan says

    I don’t want to sound rude here but I am confused- is this a serious blog by a real person, or is this some kind of test of a Sokal style text generator? If this is a serious blog post then I would strongly suggest that you hire an editor. This blog post is incoherent and all over the place. I don’t think you have gotten your intended message across. Please consider a rewrite.

  2. L'Carpetron Dookmarriut says

    Oh wow, you are finally writing again! It seems that it takes you a couple of months to write a rambling missive where you try and analyze some random unknown internet troll. Hopefully you can work [name removed by author] into your next article. His buffoonery always gives me a chuckle. Are you still working on developing a technique to b detect rapists by their internet posts? If you are successful, maybe you can prevent another [name removed by author] from spewing up in the comments.

  3. says

    I am a real person.

    I would strongly suggest that you practice the observation skills that you have presumably learned sometime in your life and point ot the things that you think need an editor. Otherwise I really don’t care. Criticism that lacks substance while suggesting inability to convey substance is hypocritical at best.

  4. says

    I have had four obvious trolls try to post here since I opened this blog and they have all shared one feature. They are cowards.

    L’Carpetron Dookmarriut (currently in the comment dungeon), if you wish to have your issues with my writing taken seriously you will actually address me and my writing instead of trying to appeal to my social instincts related to other people who post on this network in a fashion reminiscent of carrion eaters. I am me, not those other people. Have the guts to actually address me. If you do so I’ll actually have a go at what you think you see in my writing (outside of the substance-free, feelings based characterizations you have offered).

  5. John Morales says

    Brony, you kinda got what you wanted — the response “when you actually “say it out loud” in public spaces”.

    Mitch @1 is confused, gets you even less than I do.

    The troll @2 is almost certainly a slymie.

    “This post is mostly a bunch of things I’m trying to think about right now that are holding up my writing.”

    I get what a weblog (blog) essentially is, so that your intro is informative.
    Accordingly, I don’t see this post as a thesis to analyse, but more as a position statement and a placeholder — doodling which is confusing to the casual reader.

    (Thinking out loud)

  6. says

    You are right. I needed a couple of days to think about it. I’ll make an apology to Mitch and be more explicit about why I found it a problem. People who don’t “get me” are also unavoidable and I’ll have to think about how to respond to that better.

    I’ve been pushing my limits with respect to use of aggression in order to increase in skill (for employment and social media) and that makes occasional errors unavoidable. Creating social response habits is complicated and an accident has me more irritable as I heal from injury.

    Also I meant to unapprove L’Carpetron. I think the app was a bit unintuitive there. I’ll leave it up since it’s been there for a bit and it’s part of the social context for readers. But I’ll be more explicit about why it’s an example of social cowardice and merely a person socially marking territory as well as remove the identities of the people that the troll decided to use as human shields.

  7. says

    I apologize for the intensity and rhetoric in my previous response to you. I owed you the courtesy of a positive intent and you have given me the opportunity to create some more useful social responses. Editing of the sort that I might have to spend money on is low on my list of proprietorship at the moment.

    I am a real person. This is a serious blog, but it is also the blog of a person who has very different ways perceiving society and text than most people (~99% of people with respect to symbolism in communication to be specific, that’s a benefit of a psychological diagnosis). Your reference to a text generator is frankly insulting. You owe me the courtesy of assuming that I am human as I do in assuming that you are human.

    While I do assume that your negative experiences reading my blog are real experiences, I do not find criticism that general very helpful. I have accepted specific suggestions from others in the past however and am working on incorporating them. If you can:
    1)Be more specific than “incoherent” and “all over the place” (where was I incoherent?)
    2)Show me where you think I did not get my intended message across (I have many messages and many intentions)

    When I have that kind of information I can consider things like rewrites or incorporating suggestions into future writing.

  8. says

    L’Carpetron this comment is from a person who is only here in the same sense that a dog pees on fences or a bear scratches on trees, but closer to flinging poo since we are primates.

    Your joy at my writing is false. Your impressions of my writing are empty of anything but emotion and social manipulation. You replace the objects connected with your feelings about me with references to other people in the greater atheist/skeptic social justice community. That is cowardly, do you always need human shields when you get personal?

    Your choice of people also reveals that you don’t care about child sexual abuse. The social grooming of children for sexual activity is one of the closest things we have to what is called “brain washing” in movies. You give me moral permission to hold you accountable for terrible things that happened to you as a child by your actions. Fortunately for you I tend to give people some social leeway when it comes to terrible experiences that shaped who they are. If you have any specific issues with the strategic anticipation of social interaction involving rapists on the internet feel free to be specific instead of hiding behind the victims of child sexual abuse.

  9. Alejandra Panocha-Sucia says

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and I am really enjoying it so far. I really only lurk nowadays, the discursive violence of the MRAs/slimepitters against Pharyngula and FTB is just too much to deal with. In the fascist Amerikka that we live in now I just don’t have the spoons to deal with their shit. I don’t even have energy for proper self care now.

    I am really glad that there is finally a blog discussing the discursive warfare that happens on the internet. The internet is serious business. The discursive warfare has caused real casualties. Good people like Melody Hensley and Kurt Eichenwald have been hurt. Its good to see we have brave people like you who will fight back. I have admired your bravery on the rhetorical battlefield since the time you fought the slimepit trolls who falsely accused Avicenna of plagiarism. I hope that someday, if you have the spoons, you can go behind enemy lines at the slimepit and take the fight to them there. Thank you for all the good work you do.

  10. says

    That is a useful concept. Thank you!

    I would only point out that “meaningless” is true in the sense that we can’t or don’t see a meaning. The reality that they are associated still remains, and that meaning often says things about us in general.

    It’s like the “internet troll”. It’s there, undoubtedly. But it’s stereotype of human behavior and still has a general purpose driven by instinct.

    A troll causes the feeling of conflict and people get called trolls for different reasons. Those reasons It’s often passed off as some joke. However the nature of jokes is to release negative tension so the feeling of being trolled matters. I believe there are differences in how trolling is used based of things like political affiliation. No one “just trolls”. We don’t troll things we feel good about.

  11. says

    Thank you for the kind words. Praise like that is nice to have.

    Standing in the way of people having a bad effect on society is hard. I just relieved some tension related to my feelings associated with events about five years ago. I finally have a visual model for how I see conflict in places like comment sections of websites. I’ve been grinding away at that since I was a moderator at Ponychan which had a schism at the same time this community did.

    I have to point out that Avicenna did plagiarize though. They are no longer here for a reason despite the value of thier work as a whole. Role-modeling our beliefs always has the potential to hurt.

  12. richardemmanuel says

    That looks autistic, old bean. Or whatever the correct word is. Unusual minds are most needed in Physics. Peer-review is circular, with copies of people. You may crack it. I wouldn’t worry so much about the odd behaviour of normal people, you may not be downloadable to their neck-tops anyway.

  13. says

    What are you referring to when you say autistic?

    I ask because I want to figure out how to account for difference of experience since the actual reality is tourettic and adhd. The picture in your head should align with Tourette’s Syndrome and society, and adhd and society. It’s fair to be non-literal but you should account for errors in metaphor.

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