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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Imported Trolls

My posts never have as many comments as I would like (I don't even get much spam). I am a guest blogger over at Over there, we/they have plenty of commenters including trolls. I am importing a thread to comment on comments here on my homiest home turf. I add my labels in () to refer to comments.

Angry Bear PGL wrote a post on Mike Wooten the ex brother in law of Sarah Palin who is probably not enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. PGL concludes "this issue here is not whether Wooten is some sort of saint – he’s not. The issue is the unethical behavior of Governor Palin."

Comments begin with CoRev

Wow! Now we're up to six PGL anti-Palin smear articles. Why?
CoRev | Homepage | 08.31.08 - 7:06 am | (CoRev 1)

So when will PGL come acknowledge the issue about Obama's citizenship?

Remember, this is another Democrat filing the suit.

"Wow! Now we're up to six PGL anti-Palin smear articles. Why?"

Because he is a dishonest leftist. Lying and raping and corrupt government are cool if Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy do it, but not Republicans.
dmarek | 08.31.08 - 7:36 am | (dmarek)

OK here dmarek comes close to being a commenter whose banning I would support. His argument contra PGL is pure ad hominem. He clearly slanders Ted Kennedy who has never been accused of rape. I'd say he also slanders Bill Clinton who was accused *after* his impeachment by Anita Brodderick who presented no evidence and did not explain why she waited until it was clear that non perjury and alleged obstuction of justice weren't going to be enough to get Clinton to come up with her accusation. DMarek changed the subject and, worse, changed it to the Clenis (casually adding the completely unsupported accusation against Kennedy) in order to attack the character of PGL rather than respond to his arguments. He also tosses in another red herring about Obama's citizenship which has not been questioned even by other wing nuts (they ask if he is US born which he is as proven by a birth certificate (did Lincoln present such proof) and is not legally relevant as demonstrated by the case of John McCain who was certainly not born in the USA not that it matters.

Now I suppose one could just ignore DMarek if one were more self disciplined than I am, but he is rude, lowers the level of debate and is clearly not interested in contributing anything to the discussion of the topic.

Non troll comment.

2slugbaits feeding the troll.


Obama is a citizen. He is a natural born citizen. The only candidate in this race who was not born in the United States is John McCain. You see, John McCain flunked geography when he was a kid and he thinks the Panama Canal Zone is one of the 50 states.
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 8:27 am | #

2slugbaits replied to DMarek's crazy off topic allegation. A constructive contribution to an irrelevant debate. Shows it is hard to ignore even the most blatant trolls (even for people other than Robert Waldmann).

Can we have the troll dmarek moderated? His lies pollute every thread he posts on.
Joel | 08.31.08 - 8:36 am | #

Good question. I think the word "lies" is completely justified by the allegation that Ted Kennedy is a rapist -- this is supported by absolutely zero evidence even counting obvious lies in the first person as evidence.รน

"John McCain flunked geography when he was a kid and he thinks the Panama Canal Zone is one of the 50 states."

Having perhaps our next President being confused about the geography of Latin America doesn't worry me. That John McCain is confused about the geography of the Middle East does worry me.
pgl | 08.31.08 - 8:58 am | #

Are you referring to Baghdad being the capital of Iran, or are you referring to the Iraq/Pakistan border?
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 9:05 am | #

A cheap shot. The reference to the non-existent Iraq/Pakistan border was clearly a slip of the tongue.

Non troll, non troll feeding non troll bait comment.

Let's see, Palin goes on a campaign, to have what to some is a out of control State trooper, fired. A trooper who she and her family were very close, so had heard many more of his ?stories? than any investigative bodies. A trooper who was admittedly punished for making a threat to shoot his father-in-law. Most of which happened before she was Governor.

Let me pose this question. Would you like such a trooper in your jurisdiction? Protecting you from people, umh - err, like himself?
CoRev | Homepage | 08.31.08 - 9:59 am | #

I would consider this neither being a troll nor arguing convincingly. It is on topic and reasoned. It is not convincing, because it assumes (doesn't argue assumes) that relatives are best qualified to judge relatives as they have more expertise. The more widespread view is that relatives have a conflict of interest and should recuse themselves. The view which CoRev dismisses without argument is rarely debated, because it is generally considered obvious and expressed in law and centuries of judicial practice (basically every recusal there has ever been). I'd like to ask CoRev why he (or she) doesn't support having defendants judged by their mothers who know them better than 12 strangers do.

Also note no reference to the fact that Palin lied about her administrations involvement in the case.

Finally note that only the outcome (Wooten out) counts for CoRev, not the procedure. To me this is bad reasoning. We are trying to figure out what Palin would do as President (like Palin I don't know exactly what the Vice President does except wait (Cheney excepted)). We find that she intervenes when she has a personal interest in a matter, lies about it and fires apparently qualified people who aren't "Loyal" that is to say who don't obey improper requests. These aspects of the case are more useful for predicting the future than are the faults of Wooten (note PGL started the discussion of Wooten before arguing that facts about him matter little to voters' upcoming decisions)

I'd classify the argument as ridiculous special pleading. I can't believe that CoRev would have made such an absurd argument if not motivated by partisanship. However, an extremely bad argument can be useful as it makes us think about what is wrong with the argument.

So disagreeing with the poster check
bad reasoning check
special pleading check
outspoken check

a Troll ? absolutely not. Trolldom has nothing to do with the aspects of CoRev's comment (as perceived by me) listed above.

non troll, troll feeding or troll bait comment.

Do you want your next VP to come from a state where such behavior is rather typical? Where dad goes off moose hunting with the oh-so-excellent trooper Wooten? Really, she looks pretty and all, but she's been governor of 600K Alaskans for less than two years, and she has stated that she is committed to furthering the interests of Alaska while in office. McCain is no spring chicken. I'll pass on the possibility of Palin being my president.
bk | 08.31.08 - 10:04 am | #

I've deleted more than one bk comment above for excessive reasonableness, but this is getting close to troll bait. For one thing there are more than 600K Alaskans. The claim about what Palin has stated should be supported with a link etc.


I don't see much new material. But Keep on shaking that tree if you must.
Aaron | 08.31.08 - 10:21 am | #

Way not at all a trollish comment.


Palin lied about her involvement in trying to get the trooper fired. She also intervened to get the results of an internal investigation reversed. She's Nixon Redux.
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 10:38 am | #


Palin never lied. She never got an TV and wagged her finger at the camera saying "I never tried to get the trooper fired".

And the benchmark today for a president that lies is Bill Clinton, not Nixon.
Aaron | 08.31.08 - 11:42 am | #


She lied and the audio recordings prove that she lied.
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 12:07 pm | #

2slugbaits is right

Palin, who has previously said her administration didn't exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, also disclosed that members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper.

Palin now claims that she didn't know about 2 dozen calls from members of her staff which she had incorrectly claimed never occurred. The claim that she lied is not proven, beyond reasonable doubt in the sense that, even if she had been under oath she should not be convicted of perjury , but it is a fair summary of the evidence.

Aaron gets a point off for the irrelevant Clenis reference. Still he is being sloppy about facts which were very obscure until recently and not being a troll.
I'd offer some friendly advice for Aaron -- check the facts before making definite claims on points of fact. You have certainly lost all credibility over at AngryBear, because of your sloppiness. You can still argue there but google before you type (and give links).

***Let me pose this question. Would you like such a trooper in your jurisdiction? Protecting you from people, umh - err, like himself?***

No, but if the guy were my Brother in Law, I'd have the good sense to recuse myself from any involvement in government handling the affair. I suspect that in the same position you would also. Trust me CoRev, this country does NOT need a Vice President who is dumber than you and I are.
vtcodger | 08.31.08 - 12:52 pm | #

See what I mean about how bad non troll arguments lead to valid interesting counter arguments.

Non troll link to a poll by Sammy.

Yes Aaron LIED when he asserted that Palin did not lie but that's not as bad as this spin from CoRev:

"Let's see, Palin goes on a campaign, to have what to some is a out of control State trooper, fired. A trooper who she and her family were very close"

Wooten and Palin's sister were going through a bitter divorce. CoRev knows this but tries to spin it otherwise. CoRev - if you have to be so dishonest to participate in a discussion, might I suggest that you don't participate.

The way the trolls here lie to defend abuse of power, I have to wonder if they were party of Tricky Dick's gang in a former life.
pgl | 08.31.08 - 1:42 pm | #

Uh oh, pgl is a fellow angry bear. To air dirty linen in public
1) Aaron's claim was false, but there is no reason to believe he knew it to be false (not like Palin's claim which was probably to almost certainly a lie). Accusing Aaron of lying is not helpful. Also ALL CAPS ???

CoRev is spinning. This is not lying either. I mean Aaron and CoRev are leading with their chins, there is no need to call them trolls or accuse them of lying.

Sammy - I'd like to see that poll once the press starts reporting on TrooperGate!
pgl | 08.31.08 - 1:43 pm | #


If you think "Troopergate" will derail her, you are indeed deranged. Early-onset Palin Derangement Syndrome!!!!

You need to "Dan Quayle" her, that has a chance of working.
sammy | 08.31.08 - 1:58 pm | #

If you think Troopergate shouldn't derail her then you have to be deranged...or almost as bad, just a red team cheerleader. What she did is far more corrupting than the kind of run-of-the-mill payola corruption that plagues the rest of the Alaskan GOP. This is Nixonian. She used her political power to even up personal grudges.
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 2:12 pm | #


If you think Troopergate shouldn't derail her then you have to be deranged

OK why did Sammy introduce the word "deranged" to the thread ? How can that be helpful ? I disagree on the issue as I think that Palin's lies will be demonstrated (Monegan has e-mails which he has handed over to the investigators). Worse the investigation is scheduled to be completed in late October. This isn't about Wootin or even Monegan, it is about lying, conflict of interest (oh and using the state AG for personal reasons to run a investigation of what the official investigation will find).

You're not voting for our guy, so your advice is noted and dismissed.
Aaron | 08.31.08 - 2:31 pm | #

I don't find the referenced advice. My inclination to oppose banning Aaron is reduced (but not eliminated) by the fact that he declares he is uninterested in listening to Democrats (so why is he at AngryBear ?).

On experience and termperment Barak Obama is a bit of a joke. Sarah Palin has more executive experience then Obama, more experience on energy, and since international affairs are likely to have energy supplies as a key component, her work in the pipeline gives her incites on the major issues of international politics. Incites that Barak Obama does not have.

If you want a guy to create a midnight basketball program in the South side of Chicago then maybe Barak is your guy, but Palen played basketball too, and she was pretty good at it.

So you can flip a coin to choosewho is more qualified to be vice president between Palin and Obama. But I vote mainly for the number one slot on the ticket and that's John McCain.
Aaron | 08.31.08 - 2:40 pm | #

This, in contrast, is another interestingly bad argument. The rhetorical trick is to attempt to link experience and temperament with the feeble approach of putting the word "and" between them. Obama has little experience. His choosing a vice presidential candidate after talking to her for 20 minutes total shows that John McCain has a temperament totally unsuited to the Presidency.

A more plausible false linkage would be say "age and maturity". Again an invalid argument as McCain is older than Obama but he doesn't seem to be mature at all. One could argue who is more mature (to me it is obvious that Obama is more mature) but an assertion without any evidence or argument is dumb.

The South Side basketball reference is borderline racist. It is, again, dumb. Obama has presented highly detailed policy proposals -- we can judge his ability to interact with experts. He has debated and debated and debated with experienced senators and top flight lawyers. He hasn't embarassed himself in a debate yet (IIRC) he is clearly extremely smart *and* knowledgable. Simply asserting otherwise is useful in a TV ad but not sensible in a comment thread, because there at Angrybear there are people who know the facts and have a way to argue back.


If McCain wins, then it becomes everyone's problem, not just your guy's problem.

BTW, the Washington Post has just sent two of its reporters to Alaska to work this issue full time. Can the NYTs be far behind? Perhaps they smell blood in the water. Once again those audio tapes are coming back to haunt a corrupt GOP politician.
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 2:40 pm | #


her work in the pipeline gives her incites on the major issues of international politics. Incites that Barak Obama does not have.

Your twice over Freudian slip proves my point. You're right, she will "incite" international issues in a way that Obama won't. I quite agree.

As to McCain being knowledgeable in foreign affairs, does this mean he now knows that there is no common border between Iraq and Pakistan? Has he figured out that Baghdad is not the capital of Iran? What will he do without Lieberman at his side to correct all of his gaffes?
2slugbaits | 08.31.08 - 2:45 pm | #

As narrow and rigid as the Republican party is, one would have to be a cardboard cutout not to be a maverick in it. I think she will strengthen support from the social and cultural base of the party but I don't see any appeal beyond that. Her own policies don't matter much since she just has to become a mouthpiece for McCain, and since he doesn't have many policies, there is not too much for her to learn. It does leave McCain without any economic credentials since she is at most his understudy. I wonder is she is as gaffe prone as McCain. Could be amusing.
Lord | 08.31.08 - 3:09 pm | #

Now I get it. Not having read most threads, I was puzzled to read e-mails from angry bears concerned about a possible troll infestation. OK I see we have at least one troll here -- dmarek.

Now I think the best thing to do is ignore him or her as all but one commenter up thread has done. I wouldn't actually have any problem with banning dmarek (and I am a free speech fanatic). I will try to explain at my blog,, why I think dmarek may have crossed a line which Aaron and corev didn't cross (at least not in this thread).

The few regular readers of my blog will not be pleased to learn that I rank posts there below comments here, but, hey, I do, this comment is already over long and off topic and it will be very long before I am done.
Robert Waldmann | Homepage | 08.31.08 - 3:41 pm | #

OK I still think that Aaron is not a troll. He makes on topic arguments. He isn't any ruder than the people who argue with him (a high standard). His arguments can't stand up to criticism, and he makes them in a setting where they will be criticized. This doesn't lower the level of debate, since Aaron's arguments are similar to those made by the McCain campaign in settings where they don't face the devastating counter arguments.

I have no idea what Aaron's motivation is, but I don't think he is trolling. Does he enjoy losing debates ? does he think he is convincing anyone ? I don't know but I'd say he is so useful that if he didn't exist we would have to invent him.


rdan said...


This post has been the best reading all day. Thanks.

The bad stuff is tucked away hidden on two other posts.

MG came by on one and lots of sparks. So today everyone was better behaved.

Technologically blogger is primitive for real banning, only using ip addresses which are fluid.

Please make this sort of thing available regulary. I will come here often.


reason said...

I would have thought someone consistently making clearly ridiculous (as well as irrelevant and ad-hominim) arguments could be classed as a troll. I think we have at least 2 such commentors at Mark Thoma's place.

Robert said...

Wow 2 comments. I think this is a record.

However, I was trying to import the alleged trolls. They stayed over there.

Now as to trolls I distinguish between clearly ridiculous arguments and arguments which are also irrelevant and/or ad-hominim.

I think clearly ridiculous arguments can contribute to a thread as the simple refutation is useful. I would say they are especially valuable if they are cut and pasted from a source with wide circulation which does not allow feedback (say Fox news or the McCain campaign).

If an argument which can't withstand any scrutiny is out there, it is good to bring it in here (well not here no one is here but into an Angrybear thread).

The experience of seeing how quickly McCain talking points can be refuted might actually be informative to someone who hasn't noticed that the McCain campaign is totally bogus yet who is not severely mentally handicapped. It is hard to believe such people exist, but the polls show that they do.

On the other hand it is nice for a conversation to have a theme and irrelevant comments are distractions. Nastyness, rudeness and ad-hominimosity are unpleasant
and provoke flame wars which interfere with constructive debate.

I draw the line close to dmarek. I have no firm view on whether it would be best to leave his comment in the thread, delete it or delete and ban. Or how about disemvoweling
the word is wonderful and there seems to be a disemvowelling tool on the web.