ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2020 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Friday, August 01, 2014

4GW commenting

I've been thinking a bit about how one might apply the principles of 4GW to blog commenting, mostly inspired by what happened in the comments at esr's place after Andrew Marston showed up the other day.

What got me thinking about it is observing that online trolls have much the same sorts of advantages as non-state actors do in war; they can't be destroyed even by overwhelming force, they are perceived as the weaker party, and they have the ability to control the time and place of the engagement. Even when they are roundly defeated, they can simply retreat only to reappear without warning in the future.

4GW teaches two forms of engagement, de-escalation and the Hama model. I think Tom Kratman's direct assault on Luscinia/Marston can be taken as a good form of the latter. The challenge of the Hama model is that it is time-constrained. William Lind says that with today's 24/7 global communications, a state actor has three or four days to fully unload on a non-state actor without taking serious flak on the moral level. The Syrian army took four days to flatten Hama, after which it spent three weeks hunting down insurgents in the rubble.

I interpret this to mean that if you're going to go all out rhetorically against a troll, one has three, perhaps four comments before people start to get sick of it and turn against you. Not that sympathies will turn towards the troll, but they will begin to adopt a "pox on both houses" attitude and the moral level will be lost.

Moreover, the Hama model is best adopted when one possesses overwhelming force, which is to say, the delete key, because one has the ability to prevent the troll from answering back and prolonging the engagement.

As to what the de-escalation model would entail, I shall have to give the matter further thought. But I do know the one thing it relies most heavily upon is information....

Labels:

81 Comments:

Anonymous fish August 01, 2014 1:01 PM  

Best topic ever......!

Blogger Karl August 01, 2014 1:11 PM  

OT - A few days ago, there was a flap over an erroneous question on a quiz given to students at Ohio State University.

According to Campus Reform (noted at Daily Caller), an Ohio State University psychology quiz asked the following question:

Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125.
Which of the following statements would you expect to be true?

• Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian. [CORRECT]
• Aine earns less money than Theo.
• Theo is more liberal than Aine.
• Theo is an atheist, while Aine is a Christian.

Although all four answers are false (i.e., none would be expected to be true), according to reports and Campus Reform’s screen grab above, the quiz treated the first answer as true.

Even if atheists score 3-4 points higher on IQ tests than Christians, there are so many more Christians in the population that it is much more likely that someone with a 125 IQ score is a Christian than that such a person is an atheist.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/08/01/atheists-or-christians-which-are-more-common-among-those-with-fairly-high-iq-scores/

Anonymous 11B August 01, 2014 1:12 PM  

First, how do you classify blogger Whiskey in this? Based upon his MO, he is the Osama Bin Laden of trolls when it comes to hijacking a thread. Are we supposed to respond to him when we all know he never debates? Or do we let his accusations stand and possibly give the impression that he has won the debate?

Second, you wrote, "William Lind says that with today's 24/7 global communications....". I just wanted to point out to you that our neocon friends have recently denounced William Lind as a Holocaust denier. Does that mean that we should ignore him, or take him even more seriously than we would have?

Anonymous Soga August 01, 2014 1:12 PM  

5GW: Intrawebz Wars

Presented by our gracious Evil Overlord Of The Evil League Of Evil.

Anonymous Porphyry August 01, 2014 1:21 PM  

I havent read much 4GW, but my guess is that the de-escalation model, would be to announce publicly, in the first comment, that you think the troll may have a valid point, losing some credibility in the process, but preventing him/her from sparking a wider embarrassment. If the troll takes it further, then you can just ban him as he is no longer behaving like a normal "commenter" (his point is already proven) but is instead a spambot.

Anonymous Scintan August 01, 2014 1:22 PM  

I remain strongly behind the "Fuck PR. Kill them all and worry about the observers afterwards" method of conflict resolution.

The dead don't complain about fairness.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2014 1:23 PM  

Are we supposed to respond to him when we all know he never debates? Or do we let his accusations stand and possibly give the impression that he has won the debate?

Since whiskey so rarely responds, it's usually not worth the effort to do more than point out one or two errors.

Anonymous Doug Wardell August 01, 2014 1:26 PM  

I only read the comments where I'm particularly interested to see what other people think about it and even then I usually skim straight to my favorite commenters, so I'm sure I miss a lot of the trollish comments. What is it about the trolls that warrants this much thought and effort? Is it that they derailing otherwise good conversations and potentially driving away readers, or maybe that they're peeing on the rug, so to speak?

Basically, if you didn't spam / ban / etc. these folks and then spend so much time and effort enforcing that, what would be the fallout? If it's more than an intellectual exercise, might it warrant a Slashdot-like comment system to allow the more trusted Ilk to bury the trolls before they can elicit responses?

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 1:32 PM  

Even if atheists score 3-4 points higher on IQ tests than Christians, there are so many more Christians in the population that it is much more likely that someone with a 125 IQ score is a Christian than that such a person is an atheist.

Good to see that others have bothered to do the relevant math too. It's on the order of 10x more likely that he's a Christian.

Anonymous Porphyry August 01, 2014 1:32 PM  

"because one has the ability to prevent the troll from answering back and prolonging the engagement." like I said I havent read much, but in so far as trolling is a war does the delete key really matter? Assuming that there are infinite corners of the internet for people to shout their views, it seems the delete key is a question of containment and infection rather than of war. A sort of indirect power if you will. All the real power stems from public perception. If it's not clear, imagine John Scalzi commenting on this blog. The real engagements would be between your rhetoric and his rhetoric, and merely banning him would not result in a satisfactory result, if his rhetoric was stronger and vice versa on whatever.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 1:36 PM  

The real engagements would be between your rhetoric and his rhetoric, and merely banning him would not result in a satisfactory result, if his rhetoric was stronger and vice versa on whatever.

True. That's why the correct use of the Hama model in commenting would be to first dialectically destroy the troll, then delete him. As it happens, that's the model I have inadvertently stumbled upon as being the most effective in the long term.

If you simply delete right away, never having engaged, it makes you look weak and unable to engage. That is Scalzi's mistake and the mistake made by many other bloggers.

Blogger Karl August 01, 2014 1:38 PM  

on-topic, I don't know that there is a good permanent solution to trolls. If you require registration, that decreases willingness to comment.

based on my experience moderating a small blog site, pre-moderation gives you the most control but least audience participation. However, it does drive resident trolls away/crazy especially when they post comments decrying censorship which you then post.

I had the impression you were re-writing some troll comments earlier in the year, but I wasn't a regular reader before this year so maybe that tapered off as they gave up. Was that an effective discouragement?

Anonymous cheddarman August 01, 2014 1:39 PM  

I am interested in a discussion on how conservatives/libertarians/Christians can use 4th generation warfare principles to beat the establishments the liberals have come to dominate any thoughts?

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 1:40 PM  

if you didn't spam / ban / etc. these folks and then spend so much time and effort enforcing that, what would be the fallout?

We already know. I've tried that. Every comment thread rapidly devolves to a troll and a few self-appointed troll hunters saying "did so" and "did not" or "you're stupid" and "no, you're stupid". The trolls are actually less of a problem than the people who insist on responding to them; that's why I usually delete the comments of those who respond to the troll I'm spamming.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 1:41 PM  

I had the impression you were re-writing some troll comments earlier in the year, but I wasn't a regular reader before this year so maybe that tapered off as they gave up. Was that an effective discouragement?

I've never done that. You're confusing me with Scalzi, who does do that. I don't even have the ability to do that with Blogger's comment system.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 1:54 PM  

First, let's identify the subspecies of troll and see what that tells us:

1) The farter. ex. kilo papa. MO fart and leave the room.
2) Coward Piven. ex. Ann Morgan MO overwhelm the thread with inane comments and avoid actual debate until audience is exhausted/disgusted and leaves.
3) Concern troll (so common that no more description is needed).
4) Talking Point Troll. ex.______? . MO repeat lupine talking points and pretend to or attempt to debate issue by re-phrasing or simply repeating talking points and claiming victory.

There are more, but the common element is a desire to derail or redirect the debate in order to claim victory or to prevent an impending victory by their opponent. They are distinct from the opponent who actually wants to debate the issues, but even initially honest rabbits have an unfortunate tendency to revert to troll behavior when they recognize the possibility of defeat. In an environment where they or their enablers control the comments, you cannot have an honest debate. They will delete and ban to prevent this. In a place like this, they can be defeated and exposed. If they persist, then mockery generally ensues until they squee and flee. The rules of the blog force them to stand and fight or run away. Those that do neither but are allowed to remain are typically so allowed because they provide amusement and/or an object lesson in foolishness. Those that fight are subject to Hama Rules. Those that choose another course can be spammed or ignored. Alternatively, in the spirit of 4GW de-escalation, they can be encouraged in their idiocy. Prompted by faux agreement into ever more foolish statements. Encouraged to display their idiocy by the gentle, bloodthirsty applause of the Ilk. This has the advantage of working in other forums as well and can lead to an opportunity to crush them with their own statements even there.

Anonymous Doug Wardell August 01, 2014 1:56 PM  

VD August 01, 2014 1:40 PM

We already know. I've tried that. Every comment thread rapidly devolves to a troll and a few self-appointed troll hunters saying "did so" and "did not" or "you're stupid" and "no, you're stupid". The trolls are actually less of a problem than the people who insist on responding to them; that's why I usually delete the comments of those who respond to the troll I'm spamming.


Thanks, that makes sense. I doubt it's an option on Blogspot, but it seems much of this could be handled through a more robust comment system. For example, you could grant trusted posters the ability to rate a given post up or down. If the post is rated down by enough people (or by someone with a lot of "reputation points"), it (and potentially the responses) automatically get hidden as well unless the user explicitly lowers their own visibility threshold to be able to see these posts. This model also has the benefits of making strong posts and responses more visible to casual followers who won't read 200+ comments on a popular post. The key would be putting it out that you rate down trolls and not just posts you don't agree with, and then following up by raising the rep of people who prove to be good at spotting the trolls.

Anonymous rho August 01, 2014 2:00 PM  

There is some value to having "like/dislike" buttons for individual posts. Slashdot did a lot of work on this idea, and it worked fairly well.

There is a danger of people turning it into a game. And it can enforce a kind of group-think. (ArsTechnica is suffers from that.)

An early version of the ArsDigita Community System (not associated with ArsTechnica), IIRC, had a mode where users who were troublesome were put in a bucket where they could see their own posts, but nobody else could. I don't know how well that worked, but I imagine it might cause a troll to lose interest if he's not getting feedback. This would require registration and no public comments to be at all effective.

"Dogpile and delete" seems a good solution. If it's working, might as well continue.

Me, I don't mind trolls too much, so long as they aren't spamming to the point where the site stops working. Those who want to work on their chops can take a few manful whacks at the pinata. Sometimes that's pretty funny.

Blogger Karl August 01, 2014 2:00 PM  

I've never done that. You're confusing me with Scalzi, who does do that. I don't even have the ability to do that with Blogger's comment system.

Please accept my apologies if you thought I was drawing an equivalence. I know I have seen that, maybe it was his site, where someone who was posting normally in comments started posting something along the lines of "I'm a poopy head who can't read" etc.

Anonymous Porky August 01, 2014 2:12 PM  

I really don't see the problem with trolls.

Acts 17. Paul trolled the jews in Thessalonica and they caused a riot. Later Paul trolled the greeks in Athens and they just laughed at him and moved on.

Same message, same messenger, but the audience determined the atmosphere.

Bottom line, if trolls bother you that much, take an inward look at yourself first.

Anonymous Karl August 01, 2014 2:14 PM  

I'm a poopy head who can't read.

Blogger FALPhil August 01, 2014 2:16 PM  

It is a shame that there is no mechanism to place a diagonal banner over the troll's post that reads "Troll Alert!", or some such warning. It could be semi-transparent so the post could still be read, but it would preempt the readers' sensibilities around the veracity of the post. I envision a mechanism that could be applied to individual posts, all posts by a named user, or all posts from an IP address.

Blogger Feather Blade August 01, 2014 2:17 PM  

MO repeat lapine talking points

/pedantry

Anonymous LOL August 01, 2014 2:20 PM  

Kremlin trolling the White House:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2713032/Kremlin-mocks-Obamas-masculinity-tweeting-picture-holding-poodle-Putin-petting-leopard.html

As a frequent troll, the most discouraging response is when they delete me without comment. Second most annoying is on moderated sites, if the owner does not post what I wrote but responds to some portion of it (usually misrepresenting it in the process).

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2014 2:35 PM  

An interesting question but I don’t see how you get past the fact that what makes you the state actor is you aren’t anonymous and you have a reputation. Marston is relatively anonymous, doesn’t have much of a reputation, doesn’t have an organization, so how are you ever going to damage him? A non-state actor generally will have something the state can go after. If it’s a Violent NSA you kill them, damage them physically, if it’s a non-violent actor you damage their reputation, their organization, turn the people against them, etc.

What are you ever going to do against someone like Marston, an anonymous internet Troll who shows up wherever he wants, whenever he wants, with whatever name/identity he wants, and has no reputation or organization to damage?

I think it’s a lost cause trying to apply 4GW principles against the Marston’s of the internet; they don’t have enough in common with NSAs to make it work.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 2:53 PM  

An interesting question but I don’t see how you get past the fact that what makes you the state actor is you aren’t anonymous and you have a reputation

That's a fascinating demonstration of not grasping the subject. The very problem that state actors have with non-state actors is that they don't have anything the state can go after. When it tries to kill them, it usually produces more replacements in the process than it kills.

The analogy is far from perfect, but many of the same issues apply.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 01, 2014 2:54 PM  

You realize, right, that since we can get his address, quite easily, Yama could be subject to more conventional, non-4GW corrective measures.

Not that I am suggesting anything of the kind, of course. Although I did spend my summers in the same town and know it very well.

Anonymous frenchy August 01, 2014 2:57 PM  

Vox,

Your post brought these scriptures to mind:

Prov 26:4 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him."

Don't give him a platform. Instead of rebuking him, give him the silent treatment.

Speaking of trolls. This is a real good story of a troll and how a king dealt with him.

Prov 26:5 "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

Mock him by showing the world how foolish he is. Call him out.

So there are many ways to skin this cat.

And as for the story about the king, the king's song later had him killed for violating an oath.

Anonymous Sensei August 01, 2014 3:11 PM  

Vox, I think I saw a comment on an earlier post to the effect that we'll get a 4GW reading recommendation list at some point soon? If not then let me be the first to ask if you'd recommend a good place/author to start educating ourselves on the subject.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 3:15 PM  

Give it a few weeks, Sensei. Then we'll give you plenty to read.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 01, 2014 3:16 PM  

You can engage indefinitely with trolls without getting bad "audience" reactions if your blog has a lot of truckling, toadying and piling on.

A blogger who wants to optimize for beating up trolls should encourage that. The persona of the blogger goes a long way to shape the commentariat. What he or she supports and penalizes goes further.

You can engage with the trolls on unfair terms, scoring wins you award yourself, and again getting only good, bull-baiting and piling-on reactions from the right sort of commentariat. You need not win on the merits to "win".

One example of the rigged fight system was a troll you gave five comments per post, with one comment per post to be reduced if he or she violated some rule you made. Of course then the cheering squad can score wins baiting an opponent who can't argue back, either because their comments are used up, or because the rule means they aren't allowed to make what they see as their key points.

I wasn't interested in what the troll was saying, and I saw no merit in it, but I was interested in the sportsmanship aspect of the contest you chose for yourself, and the fight of one against many, so I urged the troll to stay disciplined and do only what he or she could within your rules, and I urged everyone else not to "score wins" off an artificially helpless opponent.

Nobody else saw it that way. The general commentariat liked piling-on and gloating, sure of which side would win, and the troll had zero self-discipline and was quickly gone.

"...if you're going to go all out rhetorically against a troll, one has three, perhaps four comments before people start to get sick of it and turn against you."

Not based on what I've seen.

"...and the moral level will be lost."

Only in the sense that Damien Walter's brilliant SF career is lost.

Of course there are different ways of going "all out": tricky ways and sneaky ways, cold and cutting ways, abusive and blustering ways, and so on.

What works depends on the ethos of your commentariat community, and that is all there is to it.

Anonymous Dumb founded August 01, 2014 3:22 PM  

I think we have a new unit of measure: The Kratman.

Currently, ESR's posting rates 93 Kratmans. (Some might be by Kratman himself.)

Anonymous A Visitor August 01, 2014 3:22 PM  

"I remain strongly behind the "Fuck PR. Kill them all and worry about the observers afterwards" method of conflict resolution."

Here here!

Ergo, I'd advocate a four pronged approach, Vox.

1) Ban known IP troll addresses
2) Have a standing policy that commenters don't respond to trolls unless you give the go ahead
3) Run a simple CGI based script (if Blogger allows it, it's been years since I had my blog) that prevents known troll monkiers (and ones you designate afterwards) from commenting. If we were talking about a stand alone platform, I could probably use what little C, C++, and Java I remember to write a program that prevents a certain designation of alphanumeric permutations from commenting (I'm sure another member of the Ilk could too)
4) One said go ahead is given, beat the #@$! out of them verbally. Destroy them. Annihilate them. Screw hearts and minds and FM 3-24 here. Make them sorry they ever opened their mouths.

Added bonus:
5) Have a bi-monthly troll shaming post. Show how stupid they are. Ridicule them.

"If you require registration, that decreases willingness to comment." Heck, you already do that at AG. That wouldn't be too much of a change. Plus, it'd be an excuse to get an OpenID account.

"I am interested in a discussion on how conservatives/libertarians/Christians can use 4th generation warfare principles to beat the establishments the liberals have come to dominate any thoughts?"

I advocate, for those that can stand it, infiltration. Make a career out of working your way up the ladder in these places. Get into a position of power, start turning the tide. On the street level, debate them. Call them out on key points you know that are indefensible. Slowly start whittling away at their smug superiority, etc.

"You realize, right, that since we can get his address" I was going to suggest this too for trolls, since you can geographically (unless they're using methods that I won't go into here, lest we give them ideas) pin them down via their IP address. It may cross a line though.

Sensei, I recommend FM 3-27, David Galula's Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice, Max Boot's The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Arms and the Rise of American Power, David Edelstein's Occupational Hazards Success and Failure in Military Occupation, Thomas Ricks' The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, and this piece by Steven Biddle and Jeffrey Friedman.

All of those were from a graduate level class I took on theoretical (in the IR sense) causes of war. Some of the authors I agree with, some I don't. Finally, though it has yet to have been published, when it does read The Will to Fight by Jasen Castillo. It's about WWII and what causes militaries to fight for, what an objective observer would conclude, are causes (among others) that qualify as war crimes.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 01, 2014 3:23 PM  

@Porky: "Paul trolled the jews... "

If Paul was a troll then we need a whole new word for most of the twits being discussed in this thread.....

Paul didn't usually engage with juvenile, verbal farts and then run away or hide when challenged.

He was all in, putting his life on the line when he stepped up to the soap box and take on an often hostile crowd.

Your comparison perplexes me greatly......I need some whiskey.......

Of course, you could just be trollin'........

Blogger Tom Kratman August 01, 2014 3:23 PM  

Okay, I'll bite; what does it measure, DF?

Anonymous Sensei August 01, 2014 3:24 PM  

Give it a few weeks, Sensei. Then we'll give you plenty to read.

Excellent, thanks muchly. In the meantime I'll just be forced to content myself with the backlog of material from all these standout authors who have suddenly emerged to populate my reading list. (Castalia rocks, seriously)

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2014 3:26 PM  

The very problem that state actors have with non-state actors is that they don't have anything the state can go after

a state actor has three or four days to fully unload on a non-state actor without taking serious flak on the moral level.

Um, Mr. Super Intelligence sir, see above…

That’s incorrect, they do have things they can go after, they are just different than the traditional ones and when they do go after them they have to be careful how they go about it.

My primary point is simply this, Marston the internet troll has nothing, literally nothing you can go after.

I agree it is an interesting analogy.

Blogger Giraffe August 01, 2014 3:36 PM  

My primary point is simply this, Marston the internet troll has nothing, literally nothing you can go after.

He's not a troll. Vox has offered the man a book deal. I think they are becoming fast friends.

Anonymous Randy M August 01, 2014 3:36 PM  

"As to what the de-escalation model would entail, I shall have to give the matter further thought. But I do know the one thing it relies most heavily upon is information...."

Is this where you announce Castallia House's new fledgeling writer?

Perhaps you can start a new imprint for him and Damien.

Anonymous Gara August 01, 2014 3:40 PM  

I am interested in a discussion on how conservatives/libertarians/Christians can use 4th generation warfare principles to beat the establishments the liberals have come to dominate any thoughts?

You mean stuff like bombing abortion clinics, throwing acid into women's faces or kidnap little school girls?

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 3:44 PM  

/pedantry

No problem. It was my careless error. Unintentionally funny one though in the rabbit/wolf analogy.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 3:46 PM  

And example # 4 shows up to fill in the blank

Anonymous Porky August 01, 2014 3:46 PM  

If Paul was a troll then we need a whole new word for most of the twits being discussed in this thread.....

My guess, Patrick, is that if you went to a Jewish blog and started proclaiming the deity of Christ you would be called a troll, and it would be rather disruptive to the normal conversation there.

Anonymous Dumb founded August 01, 2014 4:00 PM  

Okay, I'll bite; what does it measure, DF?

It seems to measure the level of interest Kratman has in a posting, although it might be a polluted by the activity of yamalamadingdong in that posting and thread.

Anonymous YIH August 01, 2014 4:04 PM  

11B:
First, how do you classify blogger Whiskey in this? Based upon his MO, he is the Osama Bin Laden of trolls when it comes to hijacking a thread.
I first found out about Whiskey over at SBPDL, apparently he developed and honed his ''White males are all betas, africans all alphas'' shtick over at blogs like Hartiste.
A little research/personal knowledge will tell you he often has no idea what he's talking about (I've caught him out on things like movie theaters and Disney World).
There is simply no point in even taking him seriously, so I don't.

Anonymous Nah August 01, 2014 4:12 PM  

I am interested in a discussion on how conservatives/libertarians/Christians can use 4th generation warfare principles to beat the establishments the liberals have come to dominate any thoughts?

Won't work because the Left controls the media and the courts.

Blogger Dark Herald August 01, 2014 4:20 PM  

Troll War.

An interesting concept. We saw how well that worked out for the Tumblr Social Justice Warriors that tried to raid 4chan.

As wars go it wasn't that devastating but Tumblr isn't going back to that dark ally of the internet any time soon. It was like watching a group of Take Back the Night feminists, who had successfully patrolled the streets of Ann Arbor at two in the morning in their cheap lingerie, trying the same thing on Eight Mile in Detroit.

Genuine resistance is unknown to the modern lefty.

They expect everyone to roll for them at this point. The days of MLK and the march on Selma are long over. They don't go into a fight even considering the possibility they will get punched. It's rather a shock for them when it happens.

Anonymous American Kulak August 01, 2014 4:30 PM  

"William Lind says that with today's 24/7 global communications, a state actor has three or four days to fully unload on a non-state actor without taking serious flak on the moral level." This is the problem Banderastan faces too. The pathetic charade that Strelkov's men were 'shelling themselves' could be maintained in Slovyiansk with Vice news as practically the only Western media outlet in the beseiged city. Thus the Ukie army could blast away with GRADs and arty from Karachun hill to their hearts content until Strelkov decided Slovyiansk wasn't really worth defending and dying in the rubble would only satisfy those in Donetsk and Moscow who wanted to sell out the Donbas rebellion anyway. But when the Ukies start shelling or rocketing downtown Donetsk, even journos who typically slam the rebels but dismiss all criticisms of Kiev with snark like Max Seddon start getting a tad nervous. Because you never know if the Ukie gunners will drop a 152 mm shell right on top of a Max Seddon or Ben Judah, the shell doesn't know how much they've been in the tank for Kiev regardless of how many 'Seig Heil Banderas' or Nazi SS Das Reich division Wolfsangel armbands the Azov Battalion wears.

Blogger rcocean August 01, 2014 4:32 PM  

A lot of conservatives on this blog won't have anything to say if you get rid of the trolls.

Blogger rcocean August 01, 2014 4:33 PM  

BTW, I thought Absolm!Absolm! by Faulkner was pretty good. A little wordy and repetitive, but the first 3rd, and the last 3rd were pretty damn good. Its gets better near the end. Faulkner needed an editor on this one.

Blogger Bogey August 01, 2014 4:34 PM  

Isn't the correct response to 4GW always extreme intolerance? You could engage or just simply hit delete from the very beginning. Both could make you look like a terrible person, but if defeating your opponent is the final goal.


....or you can just send Kratman to knock on their door.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 4:40 PM  

You mean stuff like bombing abortion clinics, throwing acid into women's faces or kidnap little school girls?

Some of your ideas might work, I suppose, Gara, but you're a bit too extreme for us.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 4:41 PM  

Isn't the correct response to 4GW always extreme intolerance?

You literally could not be more wrong. That's the conventionally incorrect response. Have you ever actually read anything on 4GW?

Anonymous Don August 01, 2014 4:58 PM  

Does 4GW apply to the internet world? Doesn't there have to be some force or pressure that applies to the more powerful to force them to mitigate their behavior/response?

Or am I missing how it is being used here?

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2014 5:09 PM  

You realize, right, that since we can get his address, quite easily, Yama could be subject to more conventional, non-4GW corrective measures.

Not that I am suggesting anything of the kind, of course. Although I did spend my summers in the same town and know it very well.


The look on a trolls face if VD showed up at their door would be pretty priceless. It's not like these are people with strong back bones.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 01, 2014 5:10 PM  

"It seems to measure the level of interest Kratman has in a posting..."

Ah. I think that's valid but of seriously limited utility, since I am not a measure of much, myself. I do think it might be well to redact from the count merely fun posting, as in shitting on Chlamydia, but perhaps they should be handled by a separate count.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 01, 2014 5:11 PM  

"Won't work because the Left controls the media and the courts."

You forget that 4GW, ands 0GW, which is what I am inclined to think it is, also include healthy components of purely kinetic activity, and the threat thereof.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing August 01, 2014 5:26 PM  

Attn: Stilcho, "repeat lupine talking points"

Lupine = wolf

Lapine = rabbit

And thus the r/K metaphor is rescued from (inadvertent) subversion.

Blogger Bogey August 01, 2014 5:30 PM  

You literally could not be more wrong. That's the conventionally incorrect response. Have you ever actually read anything on 4GW?

I was thinking more of Tom's direct response which seemed more than adequate.

Not that sympathies will turn towards the troll, but they will begin to adopt a "pox on both houses" attitude and the moral level will be lost.

I rarely if ever feel this way as the limp-wristed masses do, hence I still enjoy the Scalzi take-downs, and yes, I do consider him a troll.

Blogger Bogey August 01, 2014 5:36 PM  

By the way, what kind of warfare have you been engaged with when comes to Scalzi?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 01, 2014 5:40 PM  

"As to what the de-escalation model would entail, I shall have to give the matter further thought. But I do know the one thing it relies most heavily upon is information...."

Isn't the more-or-less universal indifference to Whiskey a successful example of de-escalation? And hasn't he himself supplied all the needed information?

Nobody needs to explain why they are not bothering to engage with Whiskey; his habits and long trail of hit-and-run comments supply their own explanations for everyone.

You can talk about hidden identities and agendas and other theoretical 4th generation options, but in reality few people want to bother with that. There are some that are smart enough to realize that if they wanted to hide their identities they would have to change their obsessions or at least their habits, but they're simply not inclined to.

Besides, the handles that the troll-bashers may regard as cloaks of shame, the trolls may see as proud banners. Whiskey has put a lot of effort into being Whiskey. So that identity has value, it represents an investment, and maybe he guards its value by trolling only in ways that he regards as legitimate but not in ways that he would see as cheap and unworthy of the rest of his body of work.

Responses that might be appropriate given the theoretical 4th generation warfare troll threat can be dispensed with in the light of well known "threats" that do have something valuable to protect. (In their own opinions, which is what matters.)

Anonymous Don August 01, 2014 5:42 PM  

Whiskey kind of mitigates against himself because he usually throws up a wall of text. The eye can just skim by it to the next comment. If it were pithier perhaps he would get more 'engagement'.

Blogger Dark Herald August 01, 2014 5:59 PM  

"Won't work because the Left controls the media and the courts."

The media is a rapidly evolving battlespace. The highest rated show on CNN is some Tony Bourdain travel show. In ten years I expect CNN will have about as much news content as the History Channel has of history.

I don't know anyone under fifty who gets their news from the TV and Millennials don't even watch it.

The future of media is too interactive for the liberals to control like they used to. They are still the gatekeepers but the walls are disintegrating around the gates.

That doesn't mean they won't come up with something new. In fact I expect them to try.

It will be for be for the sake of the children.

The courts are a different problem but too OT for this thread.

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2014 6:00 PM  

Whiskey's not a troll. Being wrong, repetitive, or annoying does not a troll make. When a topic is near and dear to Whiskey's heart, he says his piece and moves on.

A troll tries to derail the conversation, either into fighting or into a different topic. Take Gara's bleating above about "bombing abortion clinics blah blah blah." He doesn't actually care about that, have any reason to think it's pertinent, or intend to have an honest conversation about it. If you attempt to engage him on those terms, you're playing right into his frame, and he'll get off on watching you flail around in the weeds. The best response is short and to the point, usually with a healthy dose of ridicule.

Imagine that you're talking to some friends in real life about an interesting topic, and a spastic, smelly guy comes up and yells, "What about bombings at abortion clinics, huh?" and then pisses on your leg. Are you gonna present him with facts about how that's irrelevant and the last such attack was who-knows-how-many years ago anyway, while he giggles and grins on your leg? Or are you gonna punch him in the face?

The analogy holds for the second part, too, because you can't let it go on too long. If he comes back undaunted from too many of your punches, you'll start to look weak. You might give him a couple chances to learn his lesson, but after that you're going to put him down to stay. Online, the only way you can do that is with the ban-hammer. So when a troll emerges, you punch it in the face a couple times, then ban it and get on with your life.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 01, 2014 6:04 PM  

I'm not saying that a predictable troll ought to be tolerated, only that one who gives out more information and a handle or at least a method that they seem to take pride in and want to protect gives the blogger more of an option to de-escalate intelligently.

On the other hand, serious shilling, shifty and deceptive agendas, identity-mimicking and other "cute" games diminish the blogger's options. If he or she de-escalates then, it's blindly, and that's not such a promising idea.

In effect, being "cute" about where the troll stands and what rules he or she plays by is a secondary attack, one that limits the blogger's options and pushes him or her towards a quick and massive response that the blogger might not be sure is appropriate or might just not want to take time for then.

The habitual solipsism, rudeness and moral obliviousness of a real hive-minder is far from "cute" but it has similar effects. People like this are predictable all right, but they don't take any rules of conversation seriously except that their side has to win. That effectively limits the blogger's options for useful de-escalation, without requiring the troll to exhibit any brains at all.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 01, 2014 6:13 PM  

cailcorishev, I think being a troll is much more about what side you are on than what standards you uphold. Generally, if you are on the side of the blogger you are deemed to be not a troll even if you are behaving extremely badly, while if you are not on the side that the blogger finds palatable or useful for his agenda you are likely to be deemed a troll even if you are behaving much better.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 6:17 PM  

Attn: Stilcho, "repeat lupine talking points"

Lupine = wolf

Lapine = rabbit

And thus the r/K metaphor is rescued from (inadvertent) subversion.


Thanks. I'm aware of that (and was aware of it at the time I made the error), hence my earlier mea culpa re: careless and unintentionally funny mistake. Aren't you amused?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 01, 2014 6:19 PM  

Also, from the point of view of a 4th generation warfare model, the relevance of what side you are on is obvious, and the relevance of what standards of decorum you uphold is less obvious.

We're basically discussing how bloggers can beat up or neutralize commenters that disagree with them, that are on another side. That's how warfare models work.

Raising standards seems to call for some other kind of model, but not a warfare model.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing August 01, 2014 7:00 PM  

Aren't you amused?

Ah, yes. At my own impatience. I normally read everything and then post.

Inadvertent subversion of my own side brings out the irrepressable pedant in this textualist.

I really would have laughed if I had realized it was a joke and not a mistake. That's my kind of humor, right there. The delivery was too sly for me :)

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 7:05 PM  

The very problem that state actors have with non-state actors is that they don't have anything the state can go after. When it tries to kill them, it usually produces more replacements in the process than it kills.

A more complete statement is that the non-state actors don't have anything the state is willing to go after. There are valid reasons for this, mostly dealing with what Lind would call the risk of losing the moral side of the conflict. However, and this is crucial, when your enemy already has the full support of the progressive establishment and the media, it is foolish to woryy about what they may think or say about any action you take: they are already your implacable enemies. The only group you need worry about is your own base of support. Would Americans have supported Hama Rules against Afghanistan in the months following 9/11? Absolutely. Reduce it to rubble, then make the rubble bounce for good measure. Then, preferably leave. What about terrorist cells elsewhere? They have support networks called families and tribes. Those are military organizations that pre-date armies and are legitimate targets when they actually provide support and comfort for the fighters. Sure, you do it more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger (at least for propaganda considerations if not in actuality) and suitable considerations can be made when appropriate, but you do it. It isn't too difficult to explain (say to an American in November, 2001) that it was unfortunate that Haji's entire tribe was wiped out in the operation to destroy his terrorist organization, but it was unavoidable and necessary to stop him because A) his tribe was part of his organization and B) it was the only way to stop even greater loss of life on our part down the line. Those who won't accept it are those who would not accept ANY reason. Those who are your base will nod their heads and accept it. Those in the middle can be persuaded (see, e.g. how many Americans accepted less logical reasons put forth in support of the invasion of Iraq).

Putting a bounty on the heads of the fighters works well too. These people don't exist in a vacuum and often have rival organizations and tribes in their areas of operations and home bases that are happy for a chance to settle grudges or just gain an advantage for their groups. Just take care not to support those who will simply replace the dead terrorists: support a group that has something to lose if they cross you and make them aware of the facts of life.

In this modern age of near universal electronic surveillance along with the money that can be made available for Humint operations, there are damned few places to hide. 4thGW fighters and their supporters can be identified. Identify their base of support and suborn it, split it, attack it, degrade it, allow it's natural rivals a shot at it, etc.

Now, a 4gw civil war is a harder nut to crack for a target state because it is exponentially more difficult to identify and target and the moral side becomes much more important. The British success against the IRA is a great example: you have to be able to take losses to support the moral warfare and use every opportunity to, in the minds of your target audience, de-legitimize, criminalize, and marginalize your enemy.

In the end, these are all ways to convince the enemy to stop fighting; whether you do that with a bullet to his brain housing group, making his supporters afraid of the consequences of continued support, or convincing his neighbors that he is a cancer that they must excise.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2014 7:07 PM  

I really would have laughed if I had realized it was a joke and not a mistake. That's my kind of humor, right there. The delivery was too sly for me :)

Oh no, it was an unforced error on my part. I only laughed when I realized what I had done.

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2014 7:10 PM  

Titus Didius, a troll can't be on the side of the blogger, because a troll by definition is trying to derail the blogger's work. You seem to want to define "troll" as equal to "jerk," and while sometimes a troll will be a jerk, that's not part of the definition. A concern troll, for instance, may appear to be the most considerate commenter on the site, and yet a talented concern troll up against an unaware site owner can send every thread off into endless nit-picking over disclaimers.

We're basically discussing how bloggers can beat up or neutralize commenters that disagree with them, that are on another side.

No, that's not what we're talking about. Vox was clearly talking about trolls. There are people here who disagree regularly, and they're treated fine. An honest opponent adds to the conversation, if only as a foil. A troll is a different matter; he wants to ruin the conversation, not add to it.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet August 01, 2014 7:21 PM  

Having been a troll at this blog in the past, perhaps I can offer some insight.

Deescalation: Acknowledge your troll's humanity via their reason for trolling. Psychological. It also gives you the moral high ground. You would be humanizing them as a political act.You'll also touch a nerve. Don't sympathize anymore than to show disgust. Trolls are not psychopaths, they are incredibly sensitive (they have to be in an attempt to evoke emotions). Show them the mirror and remind them of what they once were. This can be done very simply.

In 4gw, this would be like abandoning rational trade-offs in hostage negotiations, which cause more problems, to move to an approach based off mutual moral or religious reasoning.

Vox also accepted my apology without qualification or hesitancy, which made me grow up a hell of a lot very quickly. I saw the sort of man I could be, instead of the troll I was.

Hope some of this makes sense.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2014 7:23 PM  

By the way, what kind of warfare have you been engaged with when comes to Scalzi?

Attrition. I feed off conflict and find motivation in it, whereas he finds conflict wears him down. Notice that he can't even bother to fake enthusiasm for it anymore, he mostly tries to ignore it and sounds resigned when he can't. As time has passed, more and more "dudebros" have openly expressed contempt for him, including female "dudebros" and that wears on an individual with his various insecurities.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet August 01, 2014 7:27 PM  

An example to clarify the de-escalation...

You don't buy Palestinians new cars to give up their water rights or their arms. They'll just get offended. Policies like this have been tried in intense religious conflicts (I vaguely recall this from somewhere). Instead, start from a religious or moral agreement point, even and especailly if one party is violating that value. Not 4gw, but think Bush when he saw whichever Russian leader's cross necklace and knew he could be trusted, opening things up. There are applications to 4gw in hostage negotiations, but I'm not sure which book.

Anonymous Rhy August 01, 2014 7:37 PM  

"An interesting concept. We saw how well that worked out for the Tumblr Social Justice Warriors that tried to raid 4chan. "

4chan is 4th Gen warfare version of terrorism. Think on it.

Blogger Matthew August 01, 2014 11:53 PM  

Whiskey's not a troll. Being wrong, repetitive, or annoying does not a troll make. When a topic is near and dear to Whiskey's heart, he says his piece and moves on.

He's a Jew pretending not to be a Jew. Can't get more trollish than that.

Anonymous Rob August 02, 2014 1:41 AM  

So is it obvious that lightning-speed genocide is the answer to 4GW? lol

Anonymous Don August 02, 2014 5:48 PM  

Whiskey's Jewish? I know he's got some weird social/sexual ideas floating around his noggin but I never got 'Jewish' off him I just assumed he was a neocon with some odd fixations.

Blogger Akulkis August 04, 2014 1:49 PM  

If you simply delete right away, never having engaged, it makes you look weak and unable to engage. That is Scalzi's mistake and the mistake made by many other bloggers.

Which is precisely why most on the left just delete all dissenting comments. Most don't start out there, but they soon discover, once outside the libtard echo chamber, that there are a LOT of aspects to most any issue that they've not only never considered, but never even HEARD before. They soon discover that they are overwhelmed by the deluge of logical counter-arguments, and resort to deleting.

People these days talk about "right-wing radio" as if it is naturally anti-left wing. But that's not true. We've had talk radio in this country for decades... going back to the 60's if not earlier. I first started listening to talk radio in the 80's ... it was monolithically left-wing at the time -- and it seem that was a time when a lot of non-left-wingers started listening to talk radio, because talk radio shows were moving to larger stations, instead of obscure stations listened to only by academics & hippies.

What happened was that over the course of 10 years, one left-winger after another retired from the microphone -- and it's not because they were too old and unhealthy to make it to work and sit in a chair for a couple of hours. No, the problem for them was that they were getting hammered relentlessly for their emotion-driven arguments about why problem X should be solved with program or policy Y.... and the conservative callers pointing out that feel-good program/policy Y only makex X worse (X^2 ?).

Libs love TV and print, because nobody can respond in real-time to their idiocy, and so they can continue to operate under the delusion that the readers/viewers actually agree with their inane nonsense.

Blogger Akulkis August 04, 2014 1:51 PM  

However, it does drive resident trolls away/crazy especially when they post comments decrying censorship which you then post.

Excellant psy-op!

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts