Sunday, September 11, 2011

Johnny Northside Blog Says "Buh Bye" To Trolls For One Month, Maybe Longer...

Contributed photo, blog post by John Hoff

Since the very beginning of this blog, I have tolerated a great degree of dissent in the comments section, even allowing anonymous comments that viciously attack me from every angle. Some comments, attacking my son, my girlfriend, my country, my uniform....these comments go too far and I don't publish them.

And yet, in an attempt to allow as much discourse as possible on issues of public concern, I've gone so far as to publish PORTIONS of a comment, or to say that a comment has been rejected. This allows the commenter to reformulate and resubmit their comment, and maybe get it published.

Well, as of September 11, 2011, with several anonymous trolls attacking my uniform, my service and even this great country, I've decided to drastically revise my policies about tolerating trolls.

Call it, if you will, "virtual national security."

For a period of one month, and perhaps even longer depending on the results, this blog will no longer...

...publish comments that might be characterized as "shallow, stupid and anonymous." And I will apply this policy loosely rather than strictly. If I don't feel like publishing your comment, I just won't.

This change in policy has been a long time coming. I've been urged by other NoMi bloggers--some of whom I inspired to blog in the first place--to apply such a policy. It has been pointed out the "spirit of the forum" gets poisoned by these prolific trolls who, like the borderline mental patients who show up at public forums and seize control of the microphone, impact everybody's feelings about the forum and whether they want to participate.

People become afraid to stand up and speak, particularly in their own name, out of fear they will be viciously attacked as well.

At certain public forums, like city council meetings, incredibly broad latitude of speech should be tolerated. However, at privately-funded forums, I think the folks who are buying the potato chips, diet Coke, and the electricity for the microphone have a right to say, "Hey, stinky bum speaking in word salad. Your turn to speak is completely up and now we're going to ask you to leave, because you're scary and we rented the church basement for the night, and we don't want you here."

Freedom of ASSOCIATION is part of the First Amendment. If you are forced to publish somebody else's commentary, then you don't really have free speech because you are saying things you don't want to say. If free speech is anything, it's the right to say what you think.

For a couple of years, now, I've provided a "free microphone" where all kinds of people come and speak--including those who pour out their anonymous venom--but there comes a point when it's time to show the door to the stalker mental patients with the anti-Johnny obsession who are even willing to say how much they hate America.

Everything I've seen leads me to believe the trolls have their own forums--including the Star Tribune, where lack of conscientious forum moderation has led to an environment that is not fun for the vast majority of participants. Most Star Tribune forum discussions turn into the same tired voices who blame democrats, unions and black people for pretty much everything.


On blog posts dated from September 11, 2011 to October 11, 2011, I will no longer publish or acknowledge comments that are shallow, stupid and anonymous. The trolls are, for now, free to be stupid and anonymous on blog posts for OTHER DATES, but we shall see how long THAT tolerance lasts.

If the trolls who want to comment so badly (in every sense of the phrase) will obtain blogspot profiles and speak in their own names or through profiles that can be linked to real people then I will strongly consider publishing their commentary--even if they feel like attacking America on September 11, as several trolls did the other day, along with attacking me personally for wearing my country's uniform.

As of yesterday, I don't have a problem publishing comments that are "shallow and stupid" and attacking everything from me to my son to my girlfriend to the armed forces, but hell if such comments will also be ANONYMOUS.

Therefore, blog posts dated September 11 to October 11 of this year should be considered "safe" for non-troll commenters. Other blog posts may be a "free speech free fire zone" (for the most part) but 9/11 to 10/11 are off limits to trolls.

I am very interested to see what happens to the blog commentary if my loyal readers know trolls won't be allowed to attack what they are saying in response to blog posts. If I decide the commentary is flourishing due to the lack of trolls, and there is a "net gain of free speech," then I will extend the anti-troll policy.

If there is no tangible result, I may go back to saying "What the hell" and publishing the commentary of the trolls, even if they want to say anti-American things on September 11.

And so the experiment begins...


Anonymous said...

Good Lord, it's about time!

Johnny Northside! said...

Yeah, pass the word and get the decent folks over here to use this as a discussion forum, the way it was meant to be used.

I'm having a field day. I won't say how many troll comments I've rejected, but it's PLENTY. It's so fun watching the trolls vent and knowing their words won't go any further than my "reject" button.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

What about comments that just say something like, "Great post! Thanks!"? I generally publish those, but for some reason the opposite type of comments ("Dumb post. Your a looser!") strike me as containing enough troll elements that they typically get rejected.

I've always felt like that was a little bit of a double standard, but hey, we can all be somewhat arbitrary about comments on our own blogs, right?

Dale the Truck Driver said...

With my blog I am posting all comments anonymous or not. My belief is if someone wants to state their opinion, it's fine with me. Of course if they don't or won't use their name it pretty much sums up who they are, a nobody.

Johnny Northside! said...


That was my attitude for a long time. But after the trolls attacked not only me but my uniform and my country on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I just said, you know what? That's it.

At least, that's it for the next month, and after that we will see.

Dale the Truck Driver said...

Can't fix stupid or teach common sense. Know how you feel all to well. Good luck and thanks for your sevice to our country.