Does the Marquis of Queensbury Really Rule?!

Gay Patriot put up a post asking commenters to be civil.  I guess they didn’t think we were being very civil, because they have now closed the thread to further comments.

I tried; I really did.  North Dallas Thirty decided he wanted another go-round, and I threw a few punches but tried to get right back into the spirit of the proceedings.  Evidently he didn’t read the post, because — of course — he kept it up.

Are there Marquis of Queensbury rules for blog commenters? If there aren’t, there ought to be.  Not that people would likely pay them any more attention than they did Gay Patriot’s call for civility.

The problem is that you really can’t treat all commenters the same.  In a perfect world, where all the inhabitants were angels, you could certainly do this.  But not in this world.  Some commenters do start fights.  And then they perpetuate them.  The only choices they give those they attack are (A) turn and run away, in humiliation, tails tucked between our legs or (B) stand and fight.  I don’t think I’ve made it any secret which of those two options I will always choose.

Perhaps, if you allow that sort of conduct to go on for too long on your blog, you lose the ability to put a stop to it.  I don’t have that problem yet, as I’m only just beginning to get a readership of any size.  But when I do, I will have at least this one rule:

If you attack another commenter, you’ve started the fight.  This will be recognized as the situation.  And if I do not step in to put a stop to it immediately, the commenter who has been attacked has the right to fight back.  I have to let him or her do that. 

At some point, naturally, I will need to step in and ring the bell to end the match.  I’ll have to close the comments on that thread, or whatever else seems necessary.  I would only ban people I regarded as trolls or habitual troublemakers.

On the now-closed Gay Patriot thread, Cinesnatch asked a very good question.  He wanted to know exactly what a troll really is.  As far as I can recall, from that tangled thread, he didn’t get an answer.  My answer would be that it is someone who shows up on a blog only to make trouble. 

Somebody called Cinesnatch a troll, and this is quite unjust.  He was making an honest effort to be fair, and simply not getting anywhere with it.  As far as I have ever seen, he has always been a responsible commenter.  One of the reasons it’s unclear, to so many people, what a troll really is is that anytime somebody says something another person doesn’t like, they are called a troll.  After a while, the word simply loses its meaning.

As for me, I hope to learn something from this past weekend’s Gay Patriot donnybrook.  That is to make sure I make my points clearly, and not take the bait when some idiot attacks me.  Sometimes, in comments, I rush — and when I do, I frequently pay for it later.  I also need to realize that life is too short to waste arguing on commentary threads.

I will close this post with a quote from that great American sage, Rodney King:  “Can’t we all just get along?”

 

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About heine911

I'm an Episcopalian, Classical Liberal Ladies' Woman, helping to save Western civilization, searching for the perfect wife and enjoying every minute of it all.
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5 Responses to Does the Marquis of Queensbury Really Rule?!

  1. Rattlesnake says:

    I wouldn’t restrict the defenition of a troll to a commenter that comments specifically to cause trouble; he or she may be trying to make a legitimate argument, but they do it in such a way that causes trouble. If Daily Kos is any indication, leftists are simply accustomed to vitriol and so they bring it wherever they comment. But that, of course, is not applicable to every leftist. I am not sure whether or not there is any way to distinguish between a leftist (or any commenter regardless of their political ideology, for that matter) who is attempting to make a legitimate argument but does so incivilly and a commenter that is merely trying to cause trouble. But I would consider both trolls, even if that is not the usual definition. They both end up causing trouble. If they can’t even try to use manners when commenting, they are a troll, regardless of their intentions.

    • Lori Heine says:

      Those are good points. I welcome all points of view from commenters, but I have certainly seen my share of leftist trolls. Here, they’ll be given the chance to prove whether they are trolls or not. As much as I love Gay Patriot — it’s one of my very favorite blogs — I think Dan and Bruce should be the ones to decide who are trolls and who aren’t, instead of the commenter in question.

      Fortunately, none of the people who comment here regularly are trolls. I’m very happy with the quality of commenters I’ve gotten so far.

      I don’t even mind an occasional visit from Seane-Anna…

      • Houndentenor says:

        Freedom of the press belongs to the person with a press. In this case it’s the person whose blog it is. Lori, you are perfectly within your rights to delete any comment for any reason. It’s your site. The same goes for every other site.

        This is a problem across the net. I have seen any number of people post truly hateful things online just to stir up trouble. That’s how some people get their jollies. If you only see liberals doing this then that’s a reflection either on the kind of sites you read or a case of selective vision. It’s all over and started as soon as people were dialing up to message boards. People feel free to be truly nasty under a cloak of supposed anonymity. I’ve even known people who were stalked (in person, not just online) by someone who got too involved in their postings.

        I too have a hard time walking away from a fight but sometimes you have to walk away not because you can’t win or aren’t right but because the other party just wants to be a jerk. You can try to out-jerk them but where’s the victory in that?

    • Houndentenor says:

      I agree with your definition of “troll”. To me it’s someone just there to cause trouble, but not really to make valid arguments. I laugh at the idea that it’s only liberals who pull this crap. I have dealt with any number of right-wing trolls over the years. I suspect they come in every variety of person.

  2. Tim Mc says:

    I won’t ever comment on gaypatriot again, it’s not worth the effort tbh. ND30 is a vicious self hater who sees gays as the root of all evil, and the rest just sit around and talk fight with him. I miss conversing with SonicFrog but I can always just go to his blog. Personally I’m disappointed that Dan allows such vicious personal attacks and I don’t think it’s actually safe to be associated with most of the conversations on there as anyone casually reading wouldn’t understand that nd30 and his toadies think that calling someone a pedophile is a normal thing to do.
    Beyond that the site is hopelessly partisan and shrill with little real thinking going on, I could just crib their titles from Limbaugh’s transcripts and no one would know. It’s nice to think that all that really matters is how you conduct yourself and everyone will treat you equally but it’s not true. At some level gays have to fight to be treated as equal citizens, not just dream of having enough money to isolate ourselves from the problems most of us face. Personally I feel Obama is a centrist republican candidate and despite his stumbles out the door and his budget dreams, I’m happy with the job that he’s done.

    Sorry for the late rejoinder on this thread.

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