.drop { float:left; color: black; font-size: 100px; line-height: 80px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: arial; }

Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trolls in Action

A year ago I did a brief post regarding what seemed to me a shortsighted policy at John Byrne's Byrne Robotics message board.

Seems someone who posts there finally noticed it and linked it on the board. So I have the unusual experience of a year old comment becoming a hot topic.

And by hot topic, I mean it's attracted a lot of abusive trolls.

What, you thought they might want to actually discuss the policy I was criticizing?

15 Comments:

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Yay for the Byrne boards. If not for them Comics Internet Nerds would have to pick a different high bar to aim for in jack-ass behavior...

3:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What, you thought they might want to actually discuss the policy I was criticizing?"

Actually, what lead them to your blog was discussion over said policy.

http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=19726&PN=1&TPN=1

3:42 am  
Blogger Sleestak said...

Good old JB.

4:24 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

So it's a worthy subject for debate on the Byrne board but if anyone else brings it up then it's a cue for puerile trolling?

I'm not sure that changes anything.

6:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So it's a worthy subject for debate on the Byrne board but if anyone else brings it up then it's a cue for puerile trolling?"

It's certainly a worthy topic of discussion anywhere. My comment was hardly apologist. But the fact that there is a discussion and debate over the policy indicates that what you're dealing with here is simply a vocal minority.

7:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So it's a worthy subject for debate on the Byrne board but if anyone else brings it up then it's a cue for puerile trolling?"

This is also worth noting.

"Actually I've registered several different names from different email addresses at Byrne Robotics. Not because I particularly want to comment there, I just see it as a symbolic act of giving them the finger."

At that moment, you really lost the ability to claim any moral high ground here. You don't like the rules, therefore you break them as a way of telling the collective board to fuck themselves.

You didn't bring this up for discussion or debate in the forum where it is relevant. You didn't bring this up with the people involved in making this policy. Instead, you post about it in a far removed location with an undercurrent of snide derision. The response you have received is certainly not acceptable. But it's not like you didn't open the door to this puerile trolling with your own suspect behavior.

"See, that's irony."

No. The real irony is that pen names are allowed under certain circumstances. Did you try?

6:06 pm  
Anonymous Chap Carter said...

Hmmm.........you mouth off about the John Byrne Forum and pat yourself on the back because you signed up under different names to give a finger to Byrne and you wonder why we aren't holding a parade for you.

Please! Try again, honey. If you had such a problem why didn't you go to the source and find out why Byrne demands real names.

One of the biggest problems we face as a society is the lack of heroes in popular culture. People today look up to drugged out athletes and supermodels who spend more time in jail than actually doing anything productive. Kids are raised on video games where the ultimate goal is to kill your opponents and steal their cars! Comics are dying, the comics of my youth that raised me from a little turd into a man any woman would be proud of sleeping with. It's a vast wasteland of weak willed pansy asses and morally comprised bullies that know nothing about doing the right thing for the right reason and instead, flex their muscles and look the other way when true evil rears it's ugly head. We need the heroes of our youths to come back and teach us right from wrong. We need John Byrne.

The comic fans of today truly make me sick and also make me weep for the future of this country. They can't tell a good comic from a bad one. Grant Morrison is a talented writer? He couldn't write a good superhero comic to save his life. He has no clue what it means to be a hero. We need more people in this world like John Byrne, a man who made me what I am today by setting an example in his work as well as in his life of always being honest and moral and just. Asking for people to stand behind what they say by using their real names is the right thing to do. I wish you could see that but I guess it's better to stay here and hide behind a pen name and continue to spew mediocrity.

12:50 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

So you're saying that my protesting a rule I consider pointless and unworkable by breaking it is morally equivilent to a bunch of trolls coming on my blog and making offensive comments? That's an interesting viewpoint.

In fact I did attempt to join your little chat on the Byrne board. I even wrote to the forum admin requesting that I be allowed to use this name so that people would know who I was, and can you guess what happened?

As for John Byrne; I think he's done some great work and consider his run on Fantastic Four a classic, but I've also seen him say some dumb things and then entirely derail debates by refusing to admit he could have chosen his words better.

People are not binary; having a bad day or producing a bad comic does not invalidate the good work they have done, and you don't need to big one person up by putting another down.

Some of the greatest writers in the english language worked under pseudonyms. Also actors and musicians. What is important is not the name on your junk mail but the name people will recognise you by.

And you know what? That's not even my problem with the Byrne board: it's a private club; they can set whatever dumb rules they like.

The problem is that they can't enforce it in any but the most arbitary way. They have no way of verifying the names that apply so they can only guess which ones are real and which are fake. So if, for example, a name comes up like Alan Moore. Do they assume it's a troll? It's a common pair of names.

Go to Scotland and you'll find hundreds of Byrnes in the phone book and you can bet a few of them are called John, but can you see that being accepted? And what if you really do have a weird hippy parents who named you Rainbow Starshine?

7:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By not specifying who you are responding to, this is a more difficult conversation. I'm going to work off assumption here. Apologies if I'm attributing your comments incorrectly:

"So you're saying that my protesting a rule I consider pointless and unworkable by breaking it is morally equivilent to a bunch of trolls coming on my blog and making offensive comments? That's an interesting viewpoint."

It would be if that were the viewpoint I had forwarded. But you didn't simply protest a rule, did you? You didn't even just break a rule, did you? You broke the rules of the forum as a way of telling the collective board to go fuck themselves, while clarifying that you had NO interest in actually commenting on that forum. How is that behavior anything other than asinine? What response should that be given? The one you received was certainly deplorable, and I don't endorse it. But this isn't exactly a complex "chicken or the egg" scenario, is it? You threw the first stone. How is that any better than posting offensive comments on your blog?

"In fact I did attempt to join your little chat on the Byrne board."

You claim to have many memberships. Did you try using one?

"I even wrote to the forum admin requesting that I be allowed to use this name so that people would know who I was, and can you guess what happened?"

If it was after your "I gave them the finger" statement, I would imagine you were told "no". I mean, why would anyone want you there after that? Did you try this FIRST? Or did you jump right to "fuck you John Byrne Forum" mode?

And if you did investigate and were told "No" before hand, does that actually warrant your symbolic (which actually ceased being symbolic when you explicitly explained your intent) act of giving the collective forum the finger?

I'm sorry you received the venom that you did. But take some responsibility. Next time you tell an entire community to fuck themselves, don't act surprised when by the back lash.

8:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also worth noting:

"but I've also seen him say some dumb things and then entirely derail debates by refusing to admit he could have chosen his words better."

I would agree with this. In fact, it's exactly what you have done here. You could have chosen your words better, unless telling the entire forum to fuck themselves is something you consider polite and conducive to discussion?

8:14 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

Anon: curious that you are defending a policy that requires you to use names when you don't give any here.

I do have several memberships, but it's been so long since I dropped by the board that I'd quite forgotten what they were. It is over a year since I wrote that, you know.

I cannot now recall the details of my investigations last year, other than never receiving replies to my inquiries of the forum administrators. Nothing seems to have changed there.

Also, since you keep repeating the allegation I'd request you go reread my original article. Nowhere did I ever tell them to "go fuck themselves". That is entirely your biased and inflammatory interpretation of me saying I was "symbolically giving them the finger". A gesture which was acceptable as a symbol of mild displeasure on that bastion of blandness "Happy Days".

And if I might pick hairs, I didn't tell them to do anything, since I never posted to the board. They didn't even know about it until chose to tell them so long after the fact.

I'm baffled why you even care what a non-member of your club said about it some time ago. Given its reputation, I'm sure you can find worse has been said in the last year.

12:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"curious that you are defending a policy that requires you to use names when you don't give any here."

Did I defend the policy? Even once? To be clear (as I have not spoken on it in any manner, thank you Kreskin) I think it's a pointless policy that serves no purpose. But the fallacious nature of the policy does not alter the fact that you began an exchange with the online equivalent of "go fuck yourselves". Now, if you engage in a behavior that is expected to garner a negative reaction, isn't that the actual definition of online trolling?

"I do have several memberships, but it's been so long since I dropped by the board that I'd quite forgotten what they were. It is over a year since I wrote that, you know."

Not difficult to create a new one though, is it? You casually made several on a separate occasion. And it's not usually difficult to request your login info from any forum. Did you try?

"Also, since you keep repeating the allegation I'd request you go reread my original article. Nowhere did I ever tell them to "go fuck themselves". That is entirely your biased and inflammatory interpretation of me saying I was "symbolically giving them the finger". A gesture which was acceptable as a symbol of mild displeasure on that bastion of blandness "Happy Days"."

What exactly do you think "giving them the finger" means? You could at least have the decency not to pretend the meaning is not universally understood. Giving them the finger = Fuck you/Fuck off. That's pretty basic.

"And if I might pick hairs, I didn't tell them to do anything, since I never posted to the board. They didn't even know about it until chose to tell them so long after the fact."

Your picking hairs to a ridiculous degree. Your actions took place at that board (registrations) and you describe them here clearly. It really doesn't matter where you post it, the message is the same. You gave them the finger. And if you don't actually understand what that means, you have no business using the term.

"I'm baffled why you even care what a non-member of your club said about it some time ago. Given its reputation, I'm sure you can find worse has been said in the last year. "

I find it funny that you claim it's "my club". I post there no more frequently than I do anywhere else. Which is to say, rarely. I'm defending that forum in this instance because you are wrong. I'm not defending them over the things that they did that were wrong. When I agree with you that the behavior of the forumers from that site has been deplorable, am I suddenly a member of your contingent? Disagreeing with you does not equal agreeing with them. Please don't reduce this to a simple binary equation.

1:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additionally...

"Also, since you keep repeating the allegation I'd request you go reread my original article. Nowhere did I ever tell them to "go fuck themselves". That is entirely your biased and inflammatory interpretation of me saying I was "symbolically giving them the finger". A gesture which was acceptable as a symbol of mild displeasure on that bastion of blandness "Happy Days"."

You might as well try to claim that the thumbs up gesture denotes a negative. I had to come back to this because I simply cannot believe you are trying to claim that "giving the finger" does not equate to telling someone to fuck themselves. Since when? Let's see what Wikipedia has to say:

The gesture is also known as the "bird", the "highway salute", and "flipping/flicking someone off". The gesture is mostly used as a non-verbal way of saying "Fuck you".

"The United States FCC has banned display of this gesture on broadcast television as an obscenity"

Why might that be? Why does the FCC consider this "symbol of mild displeasure" to be an obscenity?

The meaning of this gesture is universally understood. And as I stated previously, it stopped being a symbolic gesture when you outlined it in clear terms.

This brings us back to your own description of Byrne. Accurate, I would say. But really, it's not for you to cast stones. Not within your glass house. You certainly could have chosen your words better. But instead of admit your culpability, you dance about and pretend a universally understood gesture of obscenity is a symbol for mild displeasure.

2:09 am  
Anonymous Mike O'Brien said...

Why can't people like you just leave us alone. There are a million messageboards on the InterNet, why pick on ours?

It's like we're all a bunch of child molesters or something and the rest of the world is concerned we're going to molest your children. I mean, what have we done to deserve such scrutiny? Sure, we love John Byrne and back down when we know he's being an asshole, so what? Using real names is stupid but if the King of Comics asks us to do it, we don't question it. We do it gladly. There is a vast conspiracy to see the man fail, collusion between the comic companies, the fat wretched comic store owners and the fans who waddle out of bed and get on their cum stained computers to right those brilliant posts saying how they want to bash John Byrne's face in because he called someone "anal boy". John Byrne is a friend of mine, when I was so depressed I wanted to end it all, the latest issue of Doom Patrol came out and I forgot what I was so depressed about. I cry whenever someone is nasty to such a gentle man who wants nothing but to continue putting out quality comic books and look at the abuse he receives.

It's like Bono used to say so often, "Every age has its massive moral blind spots and a pig in shit is still a pig in shit".

Now let me tell you about the time I touched John Byrne's left nipple....but I've said too much.

6:08 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

Mike, I wasn't bashing Byrne, I was disagreeing with him. You can't have debate without a difference of opinion. The problem is that the policy he advocates is being applied on his board in an unfair and arbitrary fashion.

Anonymous, I may have misattributed some comments to you, but then what the hell do you expect if you can't even be bothered to distinguish yourself from any other anonymous poster?

And I don't care how offensively you wish to interpret my words, repeatedly insisting that I said something I did not say achieves no useful purpose.

You claim to agree with my original comment and yet you chose to set the Byrne Attack Trolls on me because you didn't like the way I phrased it. Big poopy do.

It's a sunny day and I'ma go walk in the sunshine now.

12:47 pm  

<< Home