Influencers, Trolls and Bots, Oh My!

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Regulars here know all about the trolls – and possibly, bots – that disrupt the comments section of this (and other) web sites. It’s an Internet-wide problem and I think I’ve found the solution.

Or, rather, Jordan Peterson – the great contrarian psychologist – suggested it. He posited, first of all, that Internet anonymity encourages narcissists and bullies (the two are manifestations of the same pathology) to harass people because they can do so without the repercussions that would attend if they did so personally. That is why anonymity is a problem on discussion boards, in the comments section of web sites such as this one. You get people who get enjoyment out of getting a rise out of the people who are trying to have a discussion.

There is also the newer problem of chatbots that mimic people – and do a convincing job. Anyone who has played around with chatGTP know this already. And there are what are styled “influencers,” by which is meant people who are paid – or motivated, for political reasons – to disrupt the comments sections of sites that provide a forum for outside-the-narrative discussion of verboten topics, such as the truth about EVs and the drugs that aren’t vaccines.

But – paradoxically – it is anonymity that enables heterodox discussion about verboten topics. Many people are under great pressure to not publicly say anything that can and will be used against them. Not in court – not yet – but at work. Or when applying for work. Everyone knows the power of Woke. If there’s anything online that can be used to frame you as a “denier”- of whatever – or a “hater”- of whatever you’re supposed to pretend you love – then it will be.

As a personal aside, I can tell you I know people who work in the car industry, some of them for major automakers, who have written me privately (and posted here anonymously) that they must be very careful about what they type publicly. For example, one has told me – off the record – of pending upper management decisions pertaining to workers’ future in relation to EVs – that he cannot talk about openly. More specifically, he cannot use his real name to comment about it, to state his own views regarding it.

So, anonymity is also important. Many of the world’s most important, Earth-moving publications were initially published anonymously – for the sake of the physical safety of the authors thereof.

Back to Peterson.

His solution inspired my own, which is a bridge from one to the other. He (if I am understanding him correctly) wants people to use their real names – verified – online, relegating those who wish to remain anonymous to a kind of separate Internet for people who wish to remain anonymous. It would be a place where the anons can back-and-forth with other anons but the anons would not be permitted to engage with people.

I like the concept but the implementation worries me as it seems like it could metastasize into something along-the-lines of a digital ID and I’d rather deal with legions of trolls and chatbots than accede to that, for it would give the government (and corporations) exactly what they want. That being the power to know about – and so, control – what everyone has to say about everything.

There’s a better way, in my view. It is the policy I’ve decided to implement here at EPautos and – so far – it has worked perfectly. It works as follows:

No one must either register or provide a verified identity to comment on these pages; they are open to everyone, including those who – for legitimate reasons – prefer not to use their real names.

It is an honor system, basically.

But, when someone (or something) abuses the system, as by establishing a pattern of trolling the other commentators and does so anonymously – or using a made-up identity –  I may intervene and require that someone (or something) to identify by name – their real name – as the condition for being allowed to continue posting here. I did just that recently with a person (or bot) that was using the handle, Lyspooner – a corruption of the name of Lysander Spooner, the 19th century libertarian writer – to post comments Karl Marx would have approved of.

I told him/it that it would have to use its real name going forward as I (and others here) had grown weary of its baiting (and insulting). My reasoning being that such a person – if it is a person – is only willing to be abusive without risking consequences, such as being publicly associated with the comments he/it leaves online.

He/it left.

As did several other anonymous or fake-named trolls/bots/influencers, such as “Cashy” and “EarthLuvr.” Call them out – and they go away.

That’s my solution.

What do you think of it?

. . .

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102 COMMENTS

  1. Mark Twain wrote about the adventures of Huckleberry Finn! Good pen name, Mark Twain. Hilarious, really.

    It’s a banned book. Banned back in 1885.

    Sigmund Freud wrote the book “The Cocaine Papers”. Banned in Boston.

    You can buy a copy on Amazon.

    Have only ever seen one copy.

    Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” was banned too. Back in 1895.

    Copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Stalag 17” was burned in a town 50 miles from me back in about 1969 CE. German Catholics were not happy campers.

    Abraham Lincoln used his real name and that didn’t work out so well for Honest Abe.

    My mom always said you have to pray for the Jews, for they know not what they do.

    Martin Luther called them out, “The Jews and Their Dirty Lies”, the original title of the screed.

    • Copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Stalag 17” were burned in a town 50 miles from me back in about 1969 CE.

      Were, not was. Grammar Nazi time.

  2. Great solution to a real problem. It’s a safeguard that is well needed and appreciated.
    Unmoderated comments and lack of proper banning /controls is like leaving the doors and windows of your house open all night without screens then wondering why you have an insect or rodent problem.

    I get the free speech let them speak their idiocy then leave it up in the web forever theory. However the anonymity of comments leaves no consequences for acting like a total jackass. The internet age has produced some of the most cunty personality traits.

    A good face punching solved a lot of poor behavior back in the day and I think the lack of that has allowed the retardation and lack of respect to proliferate.
    Reminds me of a time when I was about eight yrs old I called one of my friends a stupid faggot and pushed him. He got upset and hammered me right in the jaw hard enough that I couldn’t even muster the strength to hit him back.
    My dad asked me what happened (not sure how he found out) I told him the whole story. He just laughed and said ” Well, what the hell did you think was going to happen? Don’t start shit if you dont want any!”

    Consequences ladies and gents…

  3. Jordan Peterson is ignorant. He has no historical perspective.
    I have been around internet discussion since 1989. Yes the 1980s. Back then the primary discussion happened on USENET and nearly everyone used their real names. Since ‘consumer’ internet access didn’t exist for most people until 1993, everyone was using a company or academic account. People had their work phone numbers in their signature files. It was like this until mid 1990s. Guess what? There were nasty, abusive, trolling people with their real names. Practically nobody was anonymous and those that were had to be a sysadmin or friend thereof and still could be traced although slightly more difficultly. Of course back in the early 1990s the idea of punishing someone for what they posted was absurd. The idea of contacting their employer about was not even considered.

    Thus it has nothing to do with being anonymous. If someone is a bullying troll they are the same anonymously as they are with their real name. There were tenured professors writing all sorts of things back in the day with their real name on USENET. The difference is punishment. And who faces punishment? The trolls and bullies under JP’s scheme won’t. Just like in government K-12 schools they serve an institutional purpose. Absolutely nothing will happen to them in a non-anonymous internet. On power’s side they’ll be just fine. On the opposition side they’ll be ‘examples’. The people who will be destroyed are the polite, thoughtful, well written, ‘wrong’ thinkers.

  4. I’d imagine that I have responded to that entity once, maybe twice. My cynical side, however, allows me to laugh at his/her/it’s antics. I mean, it is obvious that no one of any consequence could be so dim-witted and that it’s entire exercise is designed to harass in order to elicit a response. In that way I agree that whoever it is, is nothing short of a sad, bored and possibly misguided thing of some sort. Having said that, I won’t miss it’s silly takes or asinine comments. I don’t comment a lot anyway but I do read a lot of comments, just so I know I’m not alone in this shitshow of a world.

  5. Jordan Petserson was also for vaccine mandates fwiw. That along cancels this psuedo-intellectual clown to me along with other stuff. He joined the neocon daily wire as well. I think you strike a good balance here Eric. Can it be maintained? Who knows! Some anonymity is essential because I’m a libertarian business owner in a communist city and could easily be doxxed by some loser otherwise. Folks who have read my posts know what I do and where I work. Keep up the good work!

    • Agree with you on Peterson, Mark. I could never figure out why he was held to such high standards after falling for the biggest psych op in the world. I actually watched an interview with him and how he thought if he got it the government would leave him alone?!? Is he really a psychologist? For all his bluntness and bluster he comes across as a man sadly lacking in confidence.

      • Hi RG,

        Yeah, that was disappointing – in re Peterson and “COVID.” But the reason why I like the guy is he can admit when he was wrong and seems to be an extremely thoughtful and decent guy who genuinely cares about truth. He has his flaws, as we all do. But I consider him to be a human being – and that (to me) counts for a lot!

    • Hi Mark,

      Yup. And – in re here – I allow wide latitude for people to post; only when a poster gives cause to suspect he’s a troll – or a bot – will countermeasures be deployed….

    • I agree with you that JP is multiply-flawed. However … with him, as with any human, the output is a mixture of the worthwhile and the nonsensical. (Well, there are some alleged humans where there’s no worthwhile output — the Biden Thing comes to mind.) Anyway, I think it’s useful to read / listen to a variety of people, all inevitably wrong about some things. But one must be thinking critically while reading, and use discernment to sort the wheat from the chaff. When it’s mostly chaff, the sorting is prohibitive in terms of your limited available time, and you’re better off not reading / listening. I’ve consumed a fair amount of JP’s content in recent years, and have concluded that the chaff/wheat ratio is too high for me. (For me, Joe Rogan is another example.) I guess my point, at long last, is that adopting ideas from a “mixed” source need not imply that you’re on board with everything. Really, the only person I agree with at all times is … me. If it turns out that I’m wrong about something, I change my mind, and am then 100% right again! 🙂

      • Rogan is another mixed bag. Occasionally entertaining but also some oddball ideas I can’t recall specifically at the moment. Matt Walsh is usually ok even though he’s with the neocon Daily Wire. Mark Dice is funny. Paul Joseph Watson is usually good. The Duran and Alexander Mercoulis are great. Some good writers – Paul Craig Roberts is excellent. Caitlin Johnson and usually Ann Coulter are great. Its out there if you look.

    • Hi Mark,

      Can you show where Peterson advocated for vaccine mandates? I’ve seen him advocate against mandates, but not for them. In this clip he clearly speaks against mandates, but does seem to endorse some type of social/political pressure, restricted access except for medical necessity, which is awful. Maybe the full conversation provides more context.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0wIgO6NctE

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

  6. I have posted here at times, been a donor, got the stickers 🙂 all to say that your blog is always worth reading.

    And you are king here. Albeit a benevolent, longsuffering one when it comes to trolls.

    You asked for feedback: I think this blog has a great balance of free speech and moderation. You (owner) have the right to set the rules, and enforce them. I think it has been going well. Is it perfect? Is anything in life?

    Just keep up the great writing and freedom focused content, and we will be coming back.

    • Thanks, Rodrigo!

      To be clear: In no way am I going to prevent people who wish to post anonymously from doing so. I’ll only intervene when a poster establishes a record of trolling people or has given ample cause to suspect it’s a bot. In those cases, I’ll simply ask the person – or bot – to identify itself, which I think will serve to weed out the trolls and the bots and thereby prevent them from interfering with the purpose of this site.

  7. The only thing I would add to the article that wasn’t mentioned but I’m sure would be heeded by most everyone, just ask that when people recognize a troll-bot, to stop responding to it personally. Make a new post, under whatever name you want. Say what you want to say in response to the troll-bot.

    I did this recently with LieSpooger. I made a response on its own, did not say LieSpooger’s handle specifically, and got no response from the troll-bot. In fact, much better, I got a positive response from Eric!

  8. Fools go where angels fear to tread.

    It’s about cars, vehicles, the trend, the zeitgeist. Where it is all going.

    Kubota will manufacture equipment for industrial use, no matter what the maha reishas say.

    When Joe Biden speaks, nobody with a lick of sense listens.

    EV land is a dead end.

  9. I am in agreement with the commenters who prefer absolute freedom of speech for everyone, even trolls. Bots are a different story and may require technical expertise to parse., but that’s above my pay grade.

    I have in the recent past been “disappointed” with some of the commenters and even Eric spending what seems like an extraordinary amount of time arguing with the troll/bot. I would prefer if an eloquently short rebuttal was made, and move on, but who am I to tell you what to do?

    As far as using real names, just remember, the internet is forever, and GovGoog is vacuuming up every morsel for future scrutiny and punishment of you and your descendants. It’s not shameful to use anonymity when possible. There are not many places one can go and be anonymous these days.

    “Philo”

  10. Heck, I’m happy for Eric to know exactly who I am. He can know my home address, my cell phone number and can even come over to my messy house any time he wants! For that matter any of the regulars here that go back years, except the infamous Clover and a couple others from the past, I couldn’t care less about knowing every boring detail about me.

    But as Eric pretty much nailed it, I can’t be “on the record” having anti-establishment opinions in my line of work and stay employed or get another job in the business. When I retire, if I live that long, it’ll be a different story.

    Generally speaking, I’ve rarely got into even the mildest of spats on here but a couple times, yeah. I’m gung-ho for the cause, so I won’t be talking down or against the content being published here, that’s for sure!

    I’m certainly no true libertarian or Scotsman, though I try. Really, more than anything else, I come here to learn how to be more principled in terms of liberty and libertarianism. I learn how to better articulate my beef with the establishment.

    I also really like cars and driving all manner of vehicles. So it’s kind of a shame that I have to come to terms with where things are really going but better to come to terms with it, sooner than later. Too bad we all couldn’t be getting together under better circumstances but here we are!

  11. You may be on the right track with this policy, Eric, but I think you’re headed in the wrong direction. When it comes to free speech, one must be an absolutist. Experience has shown if free speech isn’t embraced whole hog, the path ends up becoming the same one the libtards are currently treading, namely censorship that leads to empty ideological conformity. I say let it ride and if the bots/trolls/libtard posters insist on posting inanities, let them do it. We are all free to ignore them. Anything less will result in the free speech of us “normals” being restricted to some degree or other.

  12. Well Eric, your solution is simple and effective. But I’m concerned that it might be like stepping on one cockroach- it solves A problem but doesn’t solve THE problem. It costs you time and effort to manually deal with clowns. Bots can proliferate automatically, and can easily overwhelm the resources you can marshal to manage your site.

    The internet had so much promise, and the good guys were winning the battle of ideas handily. That is why Barack Obastard was pining and whining for a internet kill switch. Obviously what They came up with was a system of jamming and spoofing- overwhelming honest discussion with waves of propaganda and armies of trolls/bots.

    I suspect that a better solution would be to give out encrypted keys to posters, and when a key is abused, rotate out every key except the offending one automatically. If the number of egregious troublemakers (gonna be the name of my band someday…) gets too high, they will consume too much of your time.

    I don’t know of anybody doing this, but as a programmer and systems designer with decades of experience, I think it could go very well. In fact, you could monetize by selling the keys- a buck or two monthly from all of us freeloaders could make your life pretty comfortable. Kind of similar to Tom Woods membership system, but for the ability to post the costs should be very small- micropayments.

    • Hi Ernie,

      That’s an interesting idea! Of course, I have no idea how to implement it. And would it preclude new people from being able to post without prior enabling of the “keys”?

      • It occurred to me as I was reading the comments. I have neither seen nor heard of it before, but such a system could be useful for many things. Perhaps new posters should be given a 5 buck credit to start out- I don’t know enough of that kind of security though to know how to/if it’s possible to pin the key to an IP or mac address or a route. Regardless, if it were implemented it could slow down the bots and make life harder for the meat based trolls.

      • Hi Eric,

        I think your solution is elegant. Of course, it may take more effort than it’s worth. Trolls are annoying and rarely add anything themselves to the conversation. But they often bring out good responses from good faith commenters that may influence good faith readers who are seeking a different way of thinking about the world but aren’t there yet.

        It is possible to reach people (not the trolls), consider Michael Rectenwald, a former Marxist who is now a powerful, and very educated, advocate of libertarian philosophy. Or Naomi Wolf (the good Naomi), she has been dogged in exposing the lies and ill intent surrounding the covid response. Years ago, Lew Rockwell interviewed her on his show. It was obvious that she began to look at the world differently because of that, and other, interactions.

        Also, the original Clover and his Australian doppelganger Gil, brought out many thoughtful and compelling comments (along with understandable vituperation).

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

  13. Are we taking bets if the House is ever going to elect a Speaker?

    https://www.foxnews.com/live-news/house-of-representatives-to-vote-on-new-speaker

    Jordan has failed the second round of voting. If the Republicans goal is to decimate the party they are doing a fine job. I am all for the destruction of the Uniparty system. I highly doubt we have anyone in Congress that reads this site, but I do want to offer some friendly advice because this is just downright embarrassing. Throw out Elise Stefanik’s name. Would she be my first pick? No, but the Party of Elephants is becoming a laughingstock. All that will do is empower the Asses or worse, Jefferies becomes Speaker along the way by some miscount or “deal” with Gatez and Company. The last thing this country needs is a Legislative Branch that gives Biden a free ride. At least, pretend there is some resistance.

    • The 45-day continuing resolution which cost K-Mac his job expires on Nov 17. Every day that passes without a Speaker makes a gov shutdown more likely next month.

      Divided partisan control of government is good, but a leaderless, recessed House is even better! No breakfast links are emerging from the legislative sausage factory; it’s shut down.

      Big Gov has lurched from gridlock to train wreck. The least we can do is show up at the accident scene and spray the smoldering wreckage with gasoline. 🙂

      And hast thou slain the Goverwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
      O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
      He chortled in his joy.

      — Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

      • I’d like to propose a constitutional amendment.

        For every day that passes and the US government is in debt, when Congress adjourns for the day all of them are to be led off into individual empty cells, where they are fed nothing but bread and water and not allowed to communicate. They have to sit there and think about what they did.

        Furthermore, instead of formal term limits after x number of years, how about this: every politician who votes for a law, or signs it, and every governor or president or cop or DA who attempts to enforce it, is forced out of office immediately, rendered permanently ineligible for public service, and imprisoned for the amount of time the unconstitutional law was in force.

        Couple this with an explicit power of the state legislatures to nullify or declare unconstitutional any federal law, by a supermajority.

    • Hi RG,

      It may be that the Republicans – the Party – are no longer viable. Like the Whigs they supplanted. What do the Republicans stand for, exactly? Exactly nothing! Just bromides about “less government,” whatever that means. And except when it means less “defense” spending.

      RFK at least offers a more coherent alternative.

      • Republicans are slow progressives now. Same as the democrats, just slower.
        RFK Jr I believe has a lot of ignorance combined with old democrat thinking. He’s better on somethings but very dangerous on others. His thinking is still compartmentalized. He can’t see the patterns across subjects.

        • Hi Brent,

          I heard on the radio earlier today that RFK, Jr. has come out in favor of reparations payments. Sigh. I sometimes just want to go backpacking for the next 20 years . . .

          • I would expect something like this with RFK, Jr.. He’s always been left. It’s just with the medical tyranny, dangerous “vaccines,” the deep state and the Ukraine war some of us found some common ground with him. There is no human savior out there, ever (although Ron Paul might have come close).

            The good news is that now he probably won’t be splitting the non-leftist vote like I thought he might.

      • He’d best remain away from Dealy Plaza, recently. We there with #2 son to “solve” the murder of RFK Jr’s uncle Jack. From that vantage point, it’s an easy shot. A bolt-action carbine, though, cheap, but a number of better weapons were readily available, like the M1 carbine that supposedly Oswald would have probably some “trigger time” as a Marine. Did Lee Harvey act ALONE? It’s PLAUSIBLE but not conclusive that he did.

    • I’m loving this shitshow, break out the popcorn! Every day that goes by without a Speaker is a day they can’t send our tax dollars to Israel (whatever happened to Keeeev?) 😆 Biden is absolutely disgusting the way he panders to Nuttyoohoo’s murder of every last Palestinian trapped in Gaza.

      • Job #1 of the new Speaker will be to whoop through a $100 billion blockbuster aid bill, linking support for the controversial Ukies to the politically unassailable Izzies — our best friends in the whole world, bar none, forever and ever, shalom!

        Might have to unplug from the internet that week. This is going to be the sickest, ugliest sellout ever by the crapulent US fedgov and the treasonous Uniparty that runs it — openly plundering decent Americans to shower grasping, mercenary foreign swine with stolen loot. I object like hell.

      • I’m with you Mike. Chaos is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Let’s face it, there’s absolutely no fixing the disaster that has become this country (or the whole world for that matter). The sooner it all burns to the ground, the sooner we can move on to whatever is next, which will hopefully be better.

    • Raider Girl,

      Perhaps I’m too ignorant about the selection of House Speaker. Me, I’d pick Thomas Massie. He’s their best and brightest, and most principled fighter for freedom to boot. Hell, he even lives off grid when not in DC.

      But things aren’t run in that way. What has Jim Jordan done? What ever did Kevin McCarthy, but seek “leadership”? They are Trump’s men, sure. But so what?!

      Lastly, the great thing about the House lacking a Speaker is that the legislative branch is effectively defunct. Good. It would be better if they were seeking to repeal a bunch of despotic legislation and flush some alphabet agencies, but they seem to have no interest in that, so this is next best thing.

  14. A well-balanced policy, Eric. It seems most salient when someone comes along whose viewpoints vacillate capriciously and tend to be merely aimed at provocation rather than discussion.

    In a separate matter, Eric, I now understand the problem I was experiencing with the Forum, and it was also addressed by Helot:

    You can include one link in your post. Two or more, and your post simply disappears upon posting, erased from existence. (Cue Doc Brown)

    It is inconvenient, but I know you’re the Libertarian Car Guy, and not Web Developer Guy, so I’ll try a work-around for now. (There will be many posts)

    • Hi BaDnOn,

      Yes, posts with multiple links go straight into moderation, but they usually do not disappear.

      Put this link into your toolbar, it takes you to the full comments page where you’ll see what you wrote but it will say “this comment is awaiting moderation”.

      https://www.ericpetersautos.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php

      This sends you directly to the comments page. You do need to register and sign in to access this page (ignore the “no login providers enabled” bit and login anyway). It lists every comment in temporal order and in “widescreen” (no compression). It also shows comments awaiting moderation that do not show up in the comment thread following a particular article. This can be helpful to those anxious that their post has been deleted by Eric (it hasn’t, unless you’re a particularly tenacious and delusional stalker sporting multiple names). Occasionally, a comment will automatically go into moderation, but it is viewable on the full comments page.

      Directly to the right of each comment there is the name of the post and a “view post” link which takes you to the top of the article. To access a particular comment without having to find it by scrolling under the article, click on the date and time link on the right side of the screen (in the “submitted on” column). This takes you directly to that comment. If it is early in a thread you can reply directly to it. If it does not have a reply button under the comment, scroll upward until you find a comment on that thread with a reply button. Clicking there will put your comment in that thread. If you want your reply to be directed to a specific person, scroll up until you find the most recent comment from that person with a reply button and click on that (sometimes this is not possible).

      It is far easier to navigate the comments from the full comments page than by scrolling underneath each article. I hope this info is helpful.

      I also copy each long post I write (control C) before posting. So, if it does disappear, I can retrieve it.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

      • Thanks, Jeremy, but when I log in with that link, it simply says “Sorry, you are not allowed to access this page.”. :p

        And since you’re here, is there any reason other people seem to be able to use rich text, and I am not?

        • Hi BaDnOn,

          Boy, I wish I knew the answer to that. The link doesn’t ask for your username and password? That’s what I see when I use it. Have you tried logging out and going directly to the link? Maybe the browser matters? I use Firefox and have never had a problem. I know many users can access that page but some have said the same as you.

          Maybe some of the more tech literate people here can figure it out.

          Bummer,
          Jeremy

          P.S. I’m pretty sure that Raider Girl had a similar issue when I posted the link before, but solved it. Maybe she can pipe in.

          • Hey Jeremy,

            Yes, it gave me the login screen, and I logged in. It then said I didn’t have access. I’m using the Brave browser, but I’ll try Firefox a bit later to see if that makes a difference. Thanks for trying. 🙂

            • Hey BaDnOn,

              I hope it works for you. Maybe Helot has the answer. Anyway, I always sign in from the comments page, not the main site. I don’t know if that makes a difference.

              Cheers,
              Jeremy

      • Is there a way to get back the “notify me by email of follow up comments?” Was quite the timesaver since I didn’t have to scroll through the whole post.

          • I imagine that the, “not allowed access” message BaDnOn encountered is because that sign-in webpage is for the comment section for the articles, which is a different thing to sign-up for.

            Signing-up for The Forum does not mean a person is signed-up for the comment sections of Eric’s articles, & vise-versa.

            The two systems don’t play together even-though they look the same.

            • Hi Helot,

              The link I provided is for the comments. I assume BaDnOn is registered from the main site, which allows access to the comments. Anyway, I hope someone can figure this out. I wish the comments page was still accessible from the home page, bummer it disappeared.

              Cheers,
              Jeremy

  15. A wise solution indeed Eric. I don’t think these characters were as big a problem as some around here suggested. After all, trolls can simply be ignored. They’re like the homeless under the bridge. Stop feeding them, give them a wide berth, they wither and die, or go away.

    I’m afraid there is no anonymity anywhere. The Central Scrutinizer knows it all, just waiting for some low life apparatchik from GovCo to pull the info from Jewgle. I commend you for providing a platform for free and open speech, hope you can maintain that against the mounting pressure of leviathan.

    In the end, its confirmation that the ideas espoused here are powerful. In a fair fight, liberty always wins. Only a few places left now. I’m sure we all remember all the little free speech bolt holes of the past, mostly gone now. With the whole of the world wide web, they cant even tolerate a minuscule little corner of dissent, one populated with dissidents and rabble rousers. It says a lot for Globo Homo’s insecurity and weakness.

  16. All good here. It’s your property so you make the rules. Others can agree to them or not post comments. My only additional thought on this is that some people mistake forthright disagreement for some kind of incivility.

    “Do not suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.” — John Adams, 1789

  17. Excellent description of the problem. It sounds like a workable solution.

    I don’t necessarily mind some of these trolls’ initial posts, as they’re usually quite easily refuted. I’m also secure enough in my own positions to be challenged and to have to defend them. Such discussions help me to better understand and articulate these matters, and can also serve to educate others. The problem arises after one or two rounds of comments when it just rehashes the same silly shit and often devolves into nastiness. At that point it’s neither productive nor educational and should end. Nonetheless, If I have the time, I always try to respond so that no silly argument remains unrefuted. To quote Cantwell’s excellent (pre-batshit crazy piece, as somebody here once said):

    “So when libertarians argue with you, it’s not you we’re trying to convince. We’re doing it for the sake of others who might be watching. It gives us the opportunity to put information out there, and while you reject fact, after fact, after fact, we try to make you look like idiots so that others who may be watching have a negative opinion of you and your ideas, so that they do not join your cause and advance them.”

    • So you’re back. Yay. “Hostile to debate?” Seriously? “Hostile to contrary opinions?” Yeah, when they’re wrong, stupid, and serially refuted.

      • Hi Funk,

        The Bot used another IP to get through. I deleted it from public view (here) but added what it posted in the form of an image embedded in the text of the original article. As I told it, I won’t let it post here anymore unless it establishes it isn’t a Bot but rather a real person. By providing its real name. A Bot won’t do that, of course.

        And neither will a troll or an “influencer.”

        • Yup, “lysporker” certainly has the hallmarks of the internet “influencer” that it is, like the fake email address of “kizzmiazz@gmail.com” and IP address in Vietnam. It attacks and infiltrates all while crying victim. It also insincerely pleads libertarian principles to support its efforts to espouse non-libertarian propaganda: “How is there ever going to be a libertarian society if the supporters of the idea are hostile to debate or contrary positions.”

          Again, I have no problem debating it, but at some point it becomes clear that its posts are not made in good faith and are purely for disruption.

    • I’ve been thinking about Cantwell all day since reading this quote. His tagline, Anarchist, Atheist, Asshole. In so many ways, he got it. All this “non-aggression”, yet he wanted to go on offense for liberty, libertarianism. Yet, he fell for some pre-packaged 3 letter agency Orange Fail oriented bullshite. It was so obvious. I know you and I have referenced folks like Franco and Pinochet who went on offense against leftists. Ayn Rand said this was necessary and proper but I’ve also read libertarians, like Hornberger, who has a strong disdain for Pinochet and Nixon, and it’s compelling. How do we get past just bitching about losses and gain ground? I’ve been in this game going on 15 years now. All I get is diminished. Shit’s gotta change. I’m still working on how we actually reverse this.

      • I think the best answer is to just keep on fighting the good fight (certainly be an asshole if necessary) and do your best to live as freely as possible. When pressed, they eventually give in. Look at the “covid” shit that went down. At one point it felt like they were ready to inject people at gunpoint, but now it’s like it never happened and they want you to forget what they did. One just needs to be steadfast and have a stronger will than the psychopaths.

  18. That’s a good solution, and appropriate. You play nice or some of your freedom is taken away. I’m a little disapointed that the authority has to intervene, but we don’t live in Galt’s Gulch either. There’s no holographic screen preveting the outside world from finding us.

    As for Peterson’s solution… no way. That ship sailed the first time some asshole (sorry) SWATted a player he didn’t like in the game. It’s too easy to abuse 20th century systems for nafarious purposes. When your thoughts are considered hate by your opponents you have to keep yourself hidden. Peterson is in the odd position of having attained Obiwan status: If you strike him down he’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. And he paid a terrible price to reach that level. The rest of us who don’t have book royalties to keep us going through the battle aren’t going to be so lucky.

    I believe there will be a third option: Virtual Speak-Easy. Vetted members, building their own systems, outside of the advertiser based models (although with the right groups that could be a feature too), where members are free to discus the matters

    • (continued… whoops)
      of the day. (and that’s supposed to be “discuss”). EPautos touches on this idea, as does Tom Wood’s Tom’s School of Life. I’m certain there are others. The problem becomes what about other more general topics outside of political hot buttons? And whatever is done in the positive is also done for the negative too.

      So perhaps instant global communcation wasn’t as great an idea as we thought.

  19. I’ve seen elsewhere that these keyboard warriors (or bots) also demand that people who go against “Government/ expert approved narratives” (be it on face diapers, COVID jabs, climate change, or something else) post sources backing up their points (which they’d probably just dismiss out of hand anyway as “Far right propaganda”). I’ve also noticed that they use inflammatory names like “Uneducated Anti-vaxxer”, “White Supremacist!”, “Waaaaaaaaaaaycist”, “Fascist!”, “Far-right extremist”, “_______ Denier!”, etc. when they’re losing an argument.

    • These names are losing their meaning and at some point, I will wear them proudly. I’ll use the name to pull apart and shred a leftist and feed his remains to his mother.

      • Yes, these names have become so overused they’ve lost their meaning. Curious that those who use such names against their perceived enemies don’t say squat when one of their own is actually guilty of what they accuse others of being.

    • Hi John B.,
      Use of ad hominum in a discussion indicates the user of such terms has no argument and is a waste of time to respond to. Unfortunately for this culture, the low wits that use such terms are in power right now. I suspect this will change, possibly not for the better.

  20. Time will tell. I hate to see you dedicating time to troll hunting, while we could do so by ignoring them, or you could do, perhaps less time consumptive, by tagging them. I understand why some want to respond to them, because of the outrageous absurdity of what they say, I occasionally fall for it, but the very absurdity defines them, as the Marxists they are. They are unconcerned with your response, and in fact likely see getting any rise out of you as a victory. It’s sort of like the best way to get rid of cockroaches. STOP FEEDING THEM.
    Personally, I agree with Jordan Peterson. Writing under your own name gives your comment more credence. I also understand those who are in a condition where that is more dangerous than it is for me. Or is simply a risk they are unwilling to take, unlike me.

    • Hi John,

      I use my name for the same reason. It’s my currency and my bond. I may be wrong about X or Y or state something in a manner that didn’t convey what I intended exactly or completely – but I stand behind what I say. My chief object here, as regards this discussion, is to maintain a civil environment for the airing of views. Given how few such places exist online, I think this is important. And for just that reason, I think it is important to keep it civil.

      Lysander disappeared – which tells me plainly he (or it) wasn’t interested in that.

      • I am happy that this site offers both anonymity and the continued recognition of posters. I disagree with Mr. Peterson that one needs to use their own name to offer credibility to what they say. While Mr. Peterson has the ability to pay for extra security and to live behind iron gates, not everyone does.

        The world is full of crazy people and companies who have no problem firing you for not lining up with their ESG and DIE narratives. Does someone deserve to be fired because the don’t agree with the propaganda? Does someone else deserve to come home and find their car keyed and a threatening note on their front door because they said something that “offended”somebody else? Unfortunately, this is the world that we live in.

        • RE: “Does someone else deserve to come home and find their car keyed and…”

          Keyword, ‘deserve’. It’s all in the eye of the beholder? Or, something like that?

          I’ve mentioned before, I used my full name in some hot discussions online, the subject of which I forget, on the website of the city’s local newspaper. Some defenders of empire & the police state got pretty worked up.

          The next morning I awoke to find the windshield of one car parked out back with a cinder block through it, and they totally kicked in the dashboard of my unlocked suv parked out front.

          Talking to the neighbors that morning I learned they also hit up a few other cars but all of the damage was very minor in comparison.

          I remarked that I was a bit relieved to learn it wasn’t just my cars so I wasn’t exactly targeted.
          The neighbor responded something like, “how do you know? Maybe you were?”

          That was ~ The End of me using my real name online.

          • I am sorry that happened to you, helot. No one should have to suffer physical retribution for something they said, because others can’t control their anger. The only exception I will make on this is if someone is threatening to hurt someone else.

            I stand by my point though. We all have opinions, hell, sometimes these even include facts, and we all should be free to express them, without threats or violence. Since the world isn’t perfect I have no problem with someone doing this anonymously.

        • But why is that the world we live in? Perhaps because we don’t identify ourselves, and when we are damaged we can’t claim the damage was done to us, and for a specific purpose? I perfectly understand both sides, but I prefer using my name. Some have more to lose than I, and others simply prefer not to take the risk.

          • Why is that the world we live in, John? Lack of morality, ethics, integrity, short fuses, narrow mindedness, I can go on. Sure, I would love for those that suffered damage to be able to be compensated fairly, but society would need to have a just judicial system. Do we have a fair and constitutional system? In name only. How did that turn out for Edward Snowden or Julian Assange? Guys, who used their true identities and have to suffer the consequences for it. The FBI spends more time looking for persons roaming the streets of DC on January 6th then they do actual terrorists. This country has spent more time looking for the guy who stole Nancy’s podium then the millions crossing the border who wish this country ill will and destruction.

            • Sure, I would love for those that suffered damage to be able to be compensated fairly, but society would need to have a just judicial system. Do we have a fair and constitutional system?

              the slaves are under admiralty law…..so they have zero rights….

  21. It’s a good solution.

    I hate the trolls. They simply disrupt the conversation, always contrary. If I say the sky is blue, they will object that sometimes it’s black, or orange, or whatever.

    The best behavior with regard to trolls is the one proposed by our host. Absent that, ignore them. Don’t engage them. They like disruption and they like attention.

  22. Eric, you have chosen a wise path. It fits with your philosophy as shown elsewhere.

    Peterson’s method is rather like statists elsewhere. He wants to set up checkpoints for people to prove they are not “impaired” a la sobriety checkpoints. You, on the other hand, only apply restrictions upon those that show they can’t play nicely with others.

    Brilliant. I just hope it doesn’t eventually impose too heavy a burden.

      • Hey Eric,
        Your solution strikes me as a very practical and internally consistent approach. Your site is your property and commenters participate at your discretion….a very libertarian approach. It’s not worth anybody wasting time and energy responding to trolls….send them back under the bridge. I come here as time allows to read your content and to read some rational responses, even the ones with whom I disagree because it’s good mental exercise. Keep up the great work.

        • I am thankful for the logo pics next to our names. That is how I identify most people that post on the site. Otherwise, I would never have known that swamprat has 132 different personalities. 😉

          • Hi RG,

            I just responded to BaDnOn about the comments page. Is my memory correct? Did you initially have a problem accessing the page but figure it out?

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

            • Hi Jeremy,

              I did have problems, but I took your advice and did what you suggested, and it has been fine since. So, thank you for that.

              I still run into “moderation” whenever I post more than one link, but Eric is usually pretty quick on approving the post.

                • You provided me step by step instructions on how to log in. It was quite detailed. Let me see if I can go back and locate it. I probably didn’t save it, but I will check.

                  I did save your BBQ sauce recipe though! 🙂

  23. Your ideas on privacy work for me. In some ways the future is starting to look like the scene out of I believe the third Starship Troopers movie where the federal court judge says “People just have to learn what they can talk about”. It would be nice to live in a world where we have real freedom of speech and I’m waiting for it to happen but I’m not holding my breath. These days what ever you say is recorded some where forever and as views and politics change back and forth with time it makes sense to do it as anomalously as possible if only for your own safety.

    Thanks for making that possible.

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