The Ethics of Banning Trolls 754

With genuine reluctance, I find myself obliged to ban Larry from St Louis from commenting on this blog.

I am extremely happy for people to comment on this blog who disagree with my views. It makes it much more interesting for everybody. I wish more people who disagree would comment.

But Larry has a different agenda. His technique is continually to accuse me of holding opinions which I do not in fact hold, and which he thinks will call my judgement into doubt.

Take this comment posted by Larry at 9.35 am today:

I’ve re-read your post on the Russian spies, and once again you’ve proven to be a complete dumbass.

I predicted Russia claiming (in some minor way) those idiots. You didn’t. You thought it was a conspiracy.

You’ve once again self-indicted.

In fact my view on the Russian spies was the exact opposite of what Larry claims it was. As I posted:

I don’t have any difficulty in believing that the FBI really have discovered a colony of Russian sleeper spies in the United States.

This is not Larry being mistaken – remember he claimed he had just re-read my posting. It is rather indicative of a very deliberate technique he has used scores of times, that of claiming I hold an opinion which he believes will devalue my other arguments in the mind of other readers, when I do not in fact hold that opinion.

He most often – indeed daily – does this with reference to 9/11. He tries to divert almost every thread on to the topic of 9/11 and to insinuate that I am among those who believe that 9/11 was “an inside job”. In fact, I am not of that opinion and never have been.

I have put up with this now for months, but Larry’s activities have become so frenetic and are so counter-productive to informed debate, I am not prepared to put up with it any more. I am also deeply sucpicious of the fact that he is able to spend more time on this blog than me, and to post right around the clock (often as with this one at 9.35am – think about it – what time is that in the US?).

Anyway, sorry Larry, your derailing days are over.


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754 thoughts on “The Ethics of Banning Trolls

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    George Laird, welcome back! And Dani, how does one apply to be a troll? Does one have to send-in a CV with examples of successful trolling exploits? Is there a training scheme where one, for example, learns to use repeated vowels (eg. Baaaaaaaahhhhhhh!) as an example of a lexicographical battering-ram and the construction of an almost Mediaeval totemism against a selected target? Are trolls studying Noam Chomsky and excavating the memes of a supposed (albeit disputed) ‘primal language’? Has someone, somewhere undertaken a PhD on trolling, its motivations, its tactics, it paymasters? Interesting…

  • Alfred

    “Alfred, do you have any views on the banning of the construct known as ‘Larry from St Louis’. That is what this thread is about.”

    Yes, Suhayl, that is what I have been on about all along. Craig banned Larry for a style of argument that is consistently practiced here, as I have just demonstrated. So Craig’s justification seems inadequate, unless he intends to ban everyone, as Alan Campbell suggests.

    Personally, I would have banned Larry on the grounds that he is a tedious bore who engages in nonsense.

    As for my ridiculing your suggestion that everyone should “unite to campaign for higher wages,” I don’t recall doing so. But I dismiss the idea now as totally clueless.

    How do ordinary folk in Britain get higher wages when they’re competing with Asians working in Asia for 3% of Western wages and with a mass influx of Asians and others for whom declining British wages are enormously better than what they’d earn at home? If you’d met a payroll in an industry subject to wage arbitrage you’d know the idea is daft.

    The only way to prevent wages falling so fast, and I said “to prevent wages falling” not to make wages rise is either to limit the supply of labor (stop immigration to Britain, or is Britain no longer a democratic country run in the interests of the British people — obviously in your view it should not be) or impose a tariff. But if you impose a tariff and thereby slow the deterioration in living conditions for the mass of the population you will suck in even more immigrants, unless you impose severe restrictions on immigration. Not that that has much to do with this thread, but you raised the issue.

  • Alfred

    “Would that be the same Muggeridge who thought Brian was Jesus in the Python film “The Life of Brian”? Oooops, that’s a pretty fundamental mistake to make.”

    Since those who made the film acknowledged as much, what is your point?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, but Alfred, your core argumentation tends to rest not on such such economic discourse – which would be a valid discourse, and actually, you have made some good points in that last post which tend to reinforce my basic point which is that transational corporate capitalism is the problem that needs to be dealt with, but on the interior of cellular structures. When I shake someone’s hand, I tend not to ask them, first-off, “Excuse me, sir, can you tell me about the state of your mitochondria?”

  • Andrew

    Other blogs have ongoing open threads where Truthers of all kinds can blather away amongst themselves. Whether messages are transferred automatically by IP to these threads or the blog owners manually do it, I don’t know. It does seem to work, though.

  • Neil Barker

    You are SO “Liberal”! Ban ’em, censor ’em……. No worries, Craig, you still have your fanatical disciple to support your views and give you comfort.

  • anon

    here in the US, on ‘elance’, which matches writers with employers, I saw an ad from the GOP to hire people to troll (my word, not theirs) Democratic boards.

    Don’t know about UK politics, but maybe something similar happens where you are.

  • Ceiteag

    Alfred wrote “the simple historical and biological fact that there is such a thing as a British race comprising mainly the descendants of those who settled Britain at the end of the last ice age”.

    Sorry Alfred, you’re wrong. Not because I think you’re racist, but because I have a PhD in archaeology.

  • Alfred

    It would seen just, while the issue is under discussion, to allow Larry to respond in his own behalf. Then, maybe a vote? Or perhaps not, otherwise this could become simply a tedious Liberal echo chamber.

  • Alfred

    Suhayl said:

    “When I shake someone’s hand, I tend not to ask them, first-off, “Excuse me, sir, can you tell me about the state of your mitochondria?””

    No neither do I, so at least we have something in common!

  • Alfred

    Ceiteag said,

    “Sorry Alfred, you’re wrong. Not because I think you’re racist, but because I have a PhD in archaeology.”

    Ceiteag, sorry it’s you who’re wrong. I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology.

  • Alfred the Gripe

    Alfred said ‘maybe a vote’. B****r that, for too liberal for me. It’s Craig’s blog, so what he says goes.

  • Anonymous

    9/11 was completely and totally provably an inside job. You cannot have floor-on-floor collisions during a collapse and that collapse take place at free-fall speeds (for even 1 second of the collapse). There is a fundamental law of physics (conservation of momentum) that states so. To put it another way, every 18-month old child knows that bumping into things slows you down.

    The collapses WERE controlled demolitions.

    Without any doubt whatsoever.

    There are a thousand other pieces of supporting evidence, not least the unexploded nanothermite explosive found in samples of the WTC dust.

    When we have passed through whatever nightmare faces us in the short term into a better, holier, more truthful world, the cowardice of all persons of authority on this issue will stand as proof of the Orwellian nature of what some people are calling ‘end times’.

    How could such a taboo against truth have held together in the public domain?

    Rather like our collective inability (or reluctance) to ask the most basic of questions about the core issue of our culture. Why do we allow privately-owned interests to create our money out of nothing for us when our government could simply create it for us itself at no interest?

    We ‘borrowed’ about £1 trillion pounds from banks that did not have it in order to give it ‘back’ to them. The truth is there is only one party doing any giving and that is US. And we are handing all the wealth of the world over to a group of parasitical mind-controlling magicians that produces NOTHING USEFUL WHATSOEVER.

    Having given them the money we now owe it to them multiplied by any multiple they choose (as it is they, not us, that set the interest rates).

    We destroy the lives of our children and our grandchildren in order to keep banking swine in the manner to which they are accustomed. We pay the cost of our own and our descendants’ slavery and no one in public life says a single bloody word in protest against the most outrageous scam imaginable.

    These people not only own ALL the material world in which we move (remember even if you’ve paid off your mortgage to them, you only have ‘freehold’ on your property. This is not ownership).

    “The Crown” (i.e. the banking cartel in the City of London) can step in and take it off you any time they choose.

    They completely (it would seem) control our minds and our actions.

    Do they own our very souls?

    No Christian should conform to these untruths, to these injustices, to this negation of care for neighbour, to this contempt for and abuse of brother and sister.

    A true Christian is the greatest and most effective enemy of these forces.

    For these forces are Satanic.

    And if we continue to collude with them we harm ourselves grievously in ways we will, very likely and unfortunately, shortly come to appreciate.

  • Suahyl Saadi

    Alfred, who said I was a liberal? Are you?

    Oh dear, guys, I don’t have a PhD in anything, though aspects of my work have been the subject of various PhDs, as I keep discovering in a flash of illumination: “Gosh, is that what I was thinking when I wrote such-and-such! Now I know.” Actually it’s probable that I was thinking something along those lines but I’ve since forgotten – a necessary forgetting.

    Is that okay, that I don’t have a PhD? Can I still address people’s ribosomes?

    Neil Barker, who is this “fanatical disciple”? Are you talking about Brian from ‘The Life Of…’? Or are you referring to Craig Murray’s hypothetical pet tortoise? Are you a fanatic, Neil Barker? Where are you? Who are you? Do you live in Equatorial Guinea or Congo-Brazzaville? Do you wear pale-coloured suits?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Anonymous at 1058pm and Duncan just before, please don;t take this wrong way, but there’s a thread entirely dedicated to exploring the events in NYC and DC in late 2001. 1300 comments and mounting.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Or, Neil Barker, are you perhaps dreaming of the Old Man of the Mountains and his cult of Hashashim? Alamut, and all that. Assassins… you know any? False wigs, Dubai hotels, tennis rackets. The modern version. Not Congo-Brazzaville, then.

  • Clark

    All who wish to be considered for being banned from Craig Murray’s blog please write out their single-issue placard, form a quiet, orderly queue by the door, and wait until Craig has time to make an assessment. Alternatively, if you just leave, I expect that no one will try to stop you.

  • Richard Robinson

    rich – “where does the term ‘troll’ in this sense come from?”

    It seems to be acquiring a wider/diluted meaning here, but is a decent take on older uses.

    Which sort-of answers the question – “it comes from usenet”. I don’t know if it originated there, I suspect it may have been used in some of the older role-playing stuff, but I never did that.

    I used to see folk-etymologies that claimed it was either a properly-spelled fishing technique or a corruption of “trawl” – cast a wide net & see what you catch, sort of sense.

    Alfred – Allow Larry to respond ? he’s had a hell of a long time to do that, and it seems to me he’s made his attitude very clear. I think Craig’s been extraordinarily patient, I’d have done it long ago. Vote ? To get technical, this is not a democracy, liberal or any other kind. This is an absolute dictatorship. Craig has all the power there is, we posters have none. Simple fact of blog-comment life, the way things work.

  • Joseph

    Alfred said “Ceiteag, sorry it’s you who’re wrong. I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology.”

    Earlier, you had said that you were proud to be able to trace your descent from the Normans. So on your own analysis you are not therefore “indigenous British”, and should therefore fuck off back across the Channel without further delay.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Alfred, i’m not a liberal. I believe in restrictions on trade. I’m a socialist, just not one who is obsessed with race the way you are. I don’t split the world into the “British race” as if it were only white people (which is ridiculous anyway – there were black sailors on Nelson’s ship at Trafalgar and anyone born in Britain is British) and other people.

    I notice you didn’t respond to historical examples like Irish immigrants to the UK in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tell me please whether we are now a Catholic country who all speak Irish Gaelic? We’re not. We won’t be a Muslim country who all speak foreign languages due to the current wave of immigration either.

    It’s extremely hard for you to convincinly argue that you’re not a racist while talking about race and the “British race”.

    If you don’t allow immigration and still

    have free trade with China and the US and Russia and Indonesia then the only result will be that jobs won’t go to immigrants here – but to equally exploited workers in those countries.

    You’re failing to recognise that immigration is not the key here. The only solutions are 1) protectionism (which, in moderation, is not a bad idea) or 2) making EU trade deals with countries like China conditional on them allowing independent trade unions, having higher minimum wages etc.

  • StefZ

    This isn’t a free speech issue. Larry’s spam was making comment threads unreadable and that clearly was the intention

    On my own blog, I regularly erase comments, posted by paid Keyboard Monkeys, that link to commercial websites. Larry’s prodigious spout easily falls into the same category

    As it happens, I am one of Craig’s readers who has questions about 9/11 but unless you’re somehow mentally deficient or a deliberate liar it is clear that Craig has taken a different position on the subject. If and when Craig decides to post on 9/11 I’d be happy to join in the debate. However, posting about 9/11 underneath Craig’s posts on other important issues is just distractive spam afaic

    Bye bye Team Larry. If you actually had something to say, even if I didn’t agree with it, I’d miss you but, as it is, good riddance

  • Cen

    People like Larry need to be banned, these type of people are ten a penny on internet forums. They have no real argument at all they just lie about what others say. I have seen it so many times, I just usually put them on ignore as they have nothing to add to any kind of discussion. Like your blog,keep up the good work.

  • StefZ

    and to those fellow conspiraloons calling upon Craig to see the Light about 9/11…

    very little would be served by Craig’s conversion

    aside from ensuring Craig and his views on other important issues received even less mainstream attention

    and after that, if David Shayler’s career as a Truther is any guide, would come the claims to divinity and the leg-shaving

  • Alfred

    Re Duncan’s post:

    If anyone thinks it possible to be for the people against an exploitive and manipulative elite while accepting anything that Bush-Cheney and co had to say about 9/11 should read this article carefully.

    Yet, although an excellent summary of the evidence against the official 9/11 conspiracy theory, it strangely says nothing about the Craig’s theory that the steel columns of the Twin Towers were not being bolted together properly – LOL.

    I see elsewhere, someone takes issue with the business of LOL, =), etc. I used to think them kind of silly too. – the other day a girl told me here mother signs here emails LOL in the belief that it stands for “Lots of love” – LOL.

    But this is a totally bland medium, which does not allow even the application of styles to text, which means that the emotional context of a statement is easily misunderstood. Thus, there is something to be said for such gadgets.

    For example, if I say in response to Suhayl’s question “Can I still address people’s ribosomes?” with “talk to the trees if you feel like it – LOL” then it indicates I am not speaking with gritted teeth as in “you SOB,” which might otherwise be suspected.

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