Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dueling With The Larouchies

I have an account at Factnet, which is an anti-cult site. Lyndon Larouche is one of the cults being discussed and I am a member at that forum. Usually when I visit not much is happening. However, in January the Larouche site posted yet another screed, in which I was named. About the same time a character named ace appeared at the site. Thus began a long period of posts and counterposts involving ace and several members. I finally got involved, largely because I was tired of being accused of stalking Robert Beltran. I never have, although the Larouche organization, of which Beltran is a member, would like to convince you otherwise.

The tone of the posts escalated, to the point that ace put up 3 posts in succession involving friends of mine and including an offensive personal comment. I informed the administrator who issued a warning to ace and cautioned ace that if he didn't get a grip it would not go well for him. Ace apparently did not get the message and was permanently banned yesterday. The rest of us got a warning. Given that I dueled with ace, when perhaps it might have been better to ignore him, I accept that a warning was likely warranted.

One thing that was discussed, and I am still not certain about, is whether or not the Larouche organization had gone on the offensive at Factnet via ace. One item we discussed was whether or not this was a team effort, or a single person. Ace claimed to live in the Chicago area, to be married, to own a home, to be a 'legal' observer, and that he was not a member of the organization. I disputed the 'legal' observer part given his full throated participation in the life of the board. I also disputed his claim that he was not a member, pointing out that his behavior proved otherwise.

Today, one of ace's cheerleaders showed up to complain about her boy getting booted and oh the injustice of it all. I am all for freedom of expression, and I recognize that the expression can be annoying and sometimes downright offensive. However, context matters when judging what should or should not be said. Context requires judgement and humans are not always reliable in terms of making good judgements. Deliberately lobbing personal attacks on people you do not know in order to hurt someone at a forum, deliberately engaging in personal attacks on people rather than arguing the issues, deliberately misrepresenting yourself, are all indicators that perhaps that poster needs to leave. At least in my view they do because the issues are no longer the focus of the forum. Ace did a great job disrupting the forum. When he was banned all of his posts were stripped off the forum, which shrank by 50 pages! Hopefully we will all do a better job managing ourselves should he, or a friend, return. For now, I am not sad that he is gone.


Anonymous said...

From "Howie" --
A couple weeks ago, I went down the previous 200 "Ace" posts and came down to this 21 day line-up. (This was a quick enough count that it might not add up to 200 -- I just wanted to get the general idea.)

13-May 39+
12-May 39
11-May 8
10-May 9
9-May 9
8-May 2
7-May 16
6-May 29
5-May 31
4-May 20
3-May 22
2-May 11
1-May 26
30-Apr 17
29-Apr 14
28-Apr 30
27-Apr 74
26-Apr 64
25-Apr 12
24-Apr 12
23-Apr 16+

I imagine the last week would veer closer to the above 40 range than the below a dozen. I can't picture myself posting any more than 8, and that would be an extreme outlier if I were sucked into a discussion on something.

It was a "Rapid Response" system that included posting replies of "Oh goody [fill in the blank] is online and about to post", a lot of crypto-threats (told Peter Tenenbaum "I'm keeping a scrap-book"), and pushing unrelated articles about Tony Blair (not even bothering contextualizing to the Larouchian view that Larouche is somehow involved -- 'cause its self-evident.)

The most superficial end point came with Ace's "I own this forum" and link to the youtube video on trolling. That's essentially a challenge of "What are you going to do about it?" -- I have seen a board administrator respond to that by changing all of a troll's posts to some gratuitous self-insult.

Peter T. said...

The morning sun shines here, some.

This make me happy.

Peter T.