The Silence of the Trolls

Anti-social network I by Maurice Mbikayi

The anonymous 'face' of the GOP

I’ve noticed that ever since the Times-Call went to the Intense Debate commenting system that the overall tone of the comments has improved. Golly. So Free Range Longmont was right? Moderation is important? Whodathunkit?! Nice to see the volume of attack comments drop off sharply and outright lies and smears are being removed. I submit that a better way is to simply not publish them in the first place. Letting the anonymous deaths-heads spew, then removing it is not really the right approach; something I’m certain the Times-Call’s new management knows but ignores because let’s face it, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

I’m also honestly gratified to see the wingnuts using WordPress, glad I could teach them something.

But one thing they just refuse to get is that anonymity is cowardice. They attack and attack yet whine that they’re afraid if they use their real names they’ll be targeted. I got one name for ya: Gabrielle Giffords. The real extremists in America are the heavily-armed far right and the attacks keep happening. During Bush’s second campaign, people were getting shot too – and the MSM had to be horsewhipped to talk about it. Now the wild-eyed tax cutters have put a knife to the throat of every Social Security Recipient, been identified as the perpetrator and the ‘guard dog’ media is cowering and wetting the rug rather than raising the alarm.

Robert Scoble has this to say:

The Real “Authenticity Killer” (and an aside about how bad the Yahoo brand has gotten)

March 7, 2011 By

Steve Cheney has never written something that so pissed me off than the blog he wrote today stating that Techcrunch’s switch to Facebook comments has killed authenticity.

Here’s the rub. He used his real name.

Strike one about why he’s wrong.

But then he wrote this line “Face it, authenticity goes way down when people know their 700 friends, grandma, and 5 ex-girlfriends are tuning in each time they post something on the web.”

Hello! Name one person on the web that doesn’t use Google or Bing. One. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Hint, your 700 friends are on Google. Your grandma is on google. Your five ex-girlfriends are on Google. My ex-wife is on Google.

Thinking back over my 46-year life I’ve only read something more wrong a few times.

Not to mention I worked with an executive at NEC who got fired for something he anonymously wrote on a forum (a racist post). Someone figured out where the IP address came from and sent the post to his boss, who quickly fired him. Being truly anonymous and untrackable on the Web is very difficult.

So, what’s going on here? Why is it causing people to lose all perspective on EVERYTHING?

These “authenticity is dead” people are cowards.

See, where I ONLY post opinions I’m willing to sign my name to, lots of people are actually cowards and just not willing to sign their names to their mealy-mouthed attacks.

So I think I’m in pretty good company when I say that the people of Longmont should look closely at who’s saying what and why all the people attacking independent news are wearing masks. They aren’t the Lone Ranger*, that’s for sure. The political landscape is pretty flat around here, a few simple observations should make it clear to any citizen that the muddy tracks around the internet lead to a very small group with an obvious agenda. If the person talking to you isn’t honest enough to tell you their name what’s your assurance they’re telling you the truth?


* more like alone and deranged

  2 comments for “The Silence of the Trolls

  1. August 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    David Sirota had a relevant opinion piece in today’s Denver Post, The War on Anonymity. I was reminded of Longmont when I read the following:

    “As Zuckerberg and Schmidt correctly suggest, online anonymity is primarily used by hate-mongers to turn constructive public discourse into epithet-filled diatribes. Knowing they are shielded from consequences, Internet trolls feel empowered to spew racist, sexist and other socially unacceptable rhetoric that they’d never use offline. Compare a typically friendly discussion on the non-anonymous Facebook with the usual flame wars that dominate anonymous comment threads, and you’ll understand why a new Zogby poll shows that most Americans believe anonymity makes cyberspace less civil. Ending that anonymity, then, probably guarantees an online world that is a bit more cordial.”

    But Sirota also cautioned, “Encouraging civility while preserving avenues of dissent is a tough balancing act, and the core debate over whether one should have a right to anonymity in public spaces is long overdue. However, it comes with a danger — namely, that legitimate arguments for disclosure will be expanded to justify illegitimate spying on private interactions.”

    That comment is mostly an abstraction. His closing paragraph (a tidbit I somehow missed) makes your hair stand on end. The underhandedness of the backers of the Republican Tea Party would have even more tools of intimidation and retribution at their disposal.

    “If you think that’s farfetched, recall that this is precisely what happened in Congress last month, when a House committee moved forward a proposal forcing Internet service providers to keep logs of all online activity by their users. Clearly, if it becomes law, this legislation would undermine not just anonymity in public spaces, but privacy in general. Should it succeed, we may achieve transparency, but at far too high a cost.”

  2. August 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Mayor Bryan Baum’s wife is desperately trying to discredit ‘Free Range Longmont” as no better than the other commenters on the Times-Call. Any Intense Debate user is invited to check the profile on ‘doog’ (my personal account) or ‘Free Range Longmont’ and they’ll find immediately that both accounts bear my name ‘Doug Wray’ – there is no attempt to obfuscate or conceal who’s behind them. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the many ANONYMOUS PSEUDONYMS* that routinely spew hate in the Times-Call comments or make openly libellous remarks on websites like LongmontReport.com which Ms. Baum has admitted knowing the operator.

    * I don’t mind pseudonyms – it’s the anonymous ones that I take issue with – personally, I think the mayor’s wife and a very small group of viciously hateful people are behind them. Again, the public is encouraged to ask who’s speaking. It changes the tenor of the message.

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