Friday, November 26, 2010

Stinking hate troll

Someone posted one of these "Truth about Halloween" posts at Polyvore.
(I have written a longer post about the truth about "the truth" about Halloween)
I commented telling her that it is not "the truth", and quoted a couple of fitting passages from the Bible, but she didn't do anything.
I flagged the post as hate message.
Nothing happened.
I made the set above and posted it to Polyvore's complaint group, with this text

Dear Polyvore,

I love Polyvore, but I am really not comfortable with hate mongers who hide behind "freedom of expression" when they spout their poison. I would really like to be in Polyvore without trolls and flamers who start crusades against freedom of religion and religious tolerance, especially some members of a certain religious group who target Pagans.

If you refuse to remove such attacks on truth, tolerance, peaceful co-existence and decency as for example the so called "truth about halloween", I might believe I am fully entitled to express my opinion about certain people CALLING themselves followers of a certain person long since dead, and publish the truth about their beliefs and traditions, like human worship, belief in human sacrifice and eating human flesh and blood. As in "it's ok as long as you call the human God" :-)  

I might feel entitled to express such opinions like "Jews follow God, some people follow a dead Jew". Or "Certain people don't believe in maths - after all, they claim 1+1+1=1". I think you get the picture.

What irks me most with these people is that they claim the "Golden Rule" to be "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If you judged by their actions, you'd think they must wish people claim nasty things about them, their religion, beliefs and gods, totally in spite of whether these things are true or not, stubbornly staying by their claims even when corrected and asked to stop, but if you did that to them, they'd start screaming about "X bashing". I call that hypocritical.

Are you hypocritical, Polyvore?

Guess what happened? The "truth about halloween" set was deleted - don't know by whom, but I think it was Polyvore, because the creator was in her Christian group telling people to go and flag my set, because "witches and pagans" don't like about the truth being told... :->
I received some pretty interested comments to the set, telling me among other things that burning Bibles is extremely hateful and so on and so forth. (I suppose they don't think burning Qurans is anything to care about... At least I read no Christian opposing the pastor's intentions this summer...)
I responded by telling that the troll in the picture is the one who made the hate-set NAMING Pagans, and as I am a Pagan, she named ME and accused ME of things I do not do, things no Pagan I know does, things that weren't even true thousands of years ago. That it is SHE who is burning the Bible, God who is love and religious tolerance in the flames of her "crusade", SHE who leaves a path of blood and stinking smoke of everything that is good and holy behind her... That Jesus won't protect hypocritical trolls who say it's okay to lie about the practices of non-Christians, but not about the practices of Christians... and I said I hope the troll can warm by the light of her torch flames, when she huddles outside the Wedding...

I don't know what happened, because this morning when I was going to delete this set - it was a response to her hate set, and I really don't want to discuss my beliefs on someone else's religion, just as little as I want others discuss what they believe to be my beliefs, and as her set was down, it was only fair that mine would go down too.
I found an apology in my message box. I take it as a sincere apology and I responded to her, telling her that I have taken the set down, and that I understand this means a lot to her, and said that it is fine to tell people Halloween is a Pagan tradition and as such something Christians shouldn't participate in, but that should be enough. She doesn't need to paint it with soot and blood, and us Pagans too, to make the point.

A friend of mine celebrates only Sundays, because she says she is not Jewish, so she cannot celebrate the Jewish feasts, and she is not Pagan, so she cannot celebrate the Pagan feasts. The Sundays in her home are lovely. She truly has "Christmas the year around", once a week :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fashion magazines flying their true colors

Thousands of people know everything about this already, I just learned about it today.

Read Josh Shahryar's wonderful article about the ins and outs of this event, to find everything you need, links to posts and so on. He has already said everything there needs to be said, so I just repeat a couple of things, because he's right. We may not allow anyone to be discriminated, mocked, disrespected, ridiculed, bashed aso because of their image, what ever this image is.
In my mind, everyone should know the litany: "age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, religion or disability". Weight should be part of this. All of these are part of your image, and judging you, having prejudices about you, believing you are "this" or "that", because you are a woman, middle-aged, fat, European, white, heterosexual, Social Liberal and Pagan, is xenophobia and - as ageist, weightist, and the other words created to express one special prejudice are simply different words to express the same thing - racism.

Yes, Maura Kelly. You are a racist. The race you are hostile towards, the race you have prejudices against, the race you hate, is the "race" of fat people.
After all, there are no "human races" anyway, only people with different color skin, so why not call people of different shapes and sizes races too, so that you can be called with the word that has all the correct associations and connotations already attached.
"Weightist" or Sizeist" says absolutely nothing. Racist says everything.

Ok, what is this all about?

There is "a sit-com with two fat people falling in love with each other".

I adore Melissa. I love Sookie in Gilmore Girls. I don't know Billy, and I haven't seen one minute of the series, all I've seen is the... uh, what's they're called... I had the word on my tongue... you know, the pictures from a movie or tv show that are not moving... stills? Sounds right. Some stills from the series. Looks cute.
I also like the premise - two fat people meet at OA and find out they really like each other and start dating.

Now, "some viewers aren't comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors."
Oh? Racists don't like watching their hate object behave like all the other people. Facing them with their prejudices, hatred and bigotry makes them feel uncomfortable. So what? Now, I haven't seen the show, so I don't know what the "fat jokes" are, but sounds to me it's fat people laughing on their own expense, and every fat person (50-60% of the general audience, and probably up to 90% when it comes to this specific show) understands exactly what they are talking about. Frankly, I find it hard to believe Melissa and Billy would agree to do a racist show about fat people. But - as I said, I haven't seen any of it, so I can't tell.
“I didn’t take it as making fun at all, and I think I’m really sensitive to that stuff.”
-- Melissa McCarthy about Mike & Molly

Nevertheless, I don't think anyone is forcing anyone watch anything from tv. If you're not "comfortable" watching something, turn the tv off or change the channel!

Marie Claire's editor, Joanna Coles, read the report and got worried. "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?" she asked one of her staff members (above mentioned Maura Kelly), who started researching the issue, even though
a) she doesn't watch tv, so her opinion is of no value to anyone, and
b) she is a fat-racist, so she would definitely feel "uncomfortable" to watch "overweight people making out on television".
I wonder if any Marie Claire staff member watches television much, we know that Joanna and Maura don't.

Maura's first reaction was that Melissa and Billy are "obese", "with rolls and rolls of fat". Perhaps she doesn't understand that even when they are playing characters, they are not wearing fat suits. It's their own fat. I wonder if Maura would tell this to Melissa to her face. I hope not. Perhaps Maura is just one of these socially incompetent people without boundaries, who thinks being rude is being honest. Don't know. Don't much care to know either.

Also, a show with a premise of two fat people MEETING AT OVEREATERS ANOMYMOUS cannot possibly be said to PROMOTE obesity. Dear Maura, find out what OA is, go to a couple of meetings (even when it means you would need to sit in a room with "downright obese" people "with rolls and rolls of fat". But it wouldn't bother you, as you're not some sizeist jerk, right?)

So - Maura finds it "aesthetically displeasing" to watch fat people. I find it "aesthetically displeasing" to watch very skinny people, like Callista Flockheart, but I loved Ally McBeal. I didn't watch the series to see "beautiful people" but to enjoy the social situations and to laugh at the comical everyday situations that I am familiar with, even when I am not a lawyer working in Boston.
Did I feel uncomfortable watching Callista's skinny arms and neck? Yes. I cringe every time I see people who are so thin they are barely anything but skin on bones. It cannot be healthy. But then I forgot all about it, because who am I to tell Callista she's too skinny, she must be anorectic, she cannot be healthy and happy, how sad it is that she lets her chase of unrealistic beauty ideals ruin her life, and so on and so forth. After all, I don't know. Maybe she just happens to be skinny. Maybe she is healthy and happy and quite pleased with her life as it is, just as everyone else in the world.

I don't think skinny, anorectic bitches have any right to give "weight loss advice" to fat people, Maura, just as childless people have right to tell anyone how to raise their kids. I know just as much of "nutrition" as you do, and the only weight loss method worth knowing and following is the Swedish 4M - "mer motion, mindre mat". That is "more exercise, less food". It doesn't matter what you eat, just eat less. It doesn't matter how you exercise, just do more of it. No counting of calories, reading labels, learning things like "high fructose corn syrup" and worrying. Simple and effective.

I suppose you could get some points for your "concern" for my well-being, but when I know it's only to save you from the "esthetically unpleasing" sights, you, poor woman, have to see every day, it kind of makes me not care.

For your information, Maura, I weight over 200 pounds and I'm physically perfectly healthy. My mental health problems are due to idiots who think they have "right" to express any prejudiced, hateful crap they think, with no reason to THINK before they open their nasty mouths, and it is people like this that are personally responsible for majority of obesity problems that is "costing your country far more in terms of all the related health problems you are paying for, by way of your insurance". I really wish you'd learn one day that bullying causes the same psychological reaction as torture, and PTSD is costing every country far more in term of all the related health problems than everything else together, as it is one of the main causes in most of them. 90% of all fat people are fat because they are trying to comfort themselves by eating, because food is their only friend and the only luxury they can afford, not because they are lazy gluttons.

Also, Maura, I am married to a man I love, who loves me. How about you, ms "living flirtatiously" since April 2009?

Really, how happy are you? You should be really, really, really happy, because you're not fat, and it's only fat people who are unhappy... or? Don't you think happiness has more to do with your attitudes and thoughts than your image? Even though magazines with "unhealthy obsession of physical perfection", like Marie Claire- which you are a part of - try to make us feel bad for being fat, and succeed too, don't you think the overall happiness doesn't come from your scales, your new handbag or a boyfriend, but from inside you?

I can have compassion to you with your problems with eating disorder, but you don't seem to have any understanding of the eating disorder that hasn't even got a fancy, medical name like anorexia, orthorexia, bulimia (hyperorexia - overeating in Greek is not the name of the eating disorder overeating, but bulimia...). In Marie Claire there are articles about eating disorders - like yours - but to overeaters all you offer is diet and exercise advice. Did that make you stop undereating? Did the understanding that you are damaging yourself make you stop doing it? Did your father's concern stop you? No. You had to be taken in to a closed ward for four months to make you stop, and you STILL after all these years and all that you went through, are only "living sober", a day at a time. You are all the time aware of eating, the weight issue is in your back of your head all the time, you look at people - you yourself included - and value them by their weight. You just ASSUME things about people based on what you think about their weight, and think that justifies your racism? I'm sorry, but ASSUMING people are "damaging their bodies" has nothing to do with aesthetics, and you did say you find fat people "aesthetically displeasing".

Then to Joanna.

Leah Chernikoff, the associate editor of Fashionista, thinks people expressing their feelings about Maura's stupidity are PILLORING her. I didn't know what that is, so I looked it up in the dictionary. My dictionary says: "to expose to public derision,ridicule, or abuse". Abuse? 
I think Maura put herself in the pillory through open expose of her racist ideas, and she really deserves every verbal rotten tomato people throw at her. Really, her intentions might be good and her heart in right place, but all that means nothing, when one is a racist and speaks up for one's racist ideas.

Anyway, NOW Joanna says she is "concerned about a show that makes fun of large people", even though one gets the impression that she was more concerned about people needing to watch large people being human beings in public television. I think she would have reacted if Maura had misquoted her in her blog entry... don't you?
"Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"
- Joanna Coles, to Maura Kelly
What ever.

BTW, this is me.

P.S. It might be possible that this is just a publicity stunt. *sigh*
Yeah, irk the people, sacrifice a couple of them, most of the people don't give a dime about human rights and civil liberties, and don't kind of understand that even though you HAVE THE RIGHT to say what ever, it might not BE RIGHT to say it, and you also have the RESPONSIBILITY to take the consequences. The consequences for a racist openly blurting her racist opinions are "public pilloring".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Human value of trolls and sock puppets

Trolls and sock puppets are two classes of dehumanized people on-line. Classifying people as either, and treating them accordingly is not good for your soul.

There has been a list of "different breeds of trolls" published on-line, and some even in forums that call themselves "spiritual".
It's worth to note that in these forums there very rarely, if ever, are real trolls, but as one of the commentators mentioned, "some people who we would not see as a troll, but a problematic person" get "dealt with and removed" from the forum... that is, frozen from the community. Ostracized. Bullied with "justification", for being "disruptive", asking uncomfortable questions, pointing out the pink elephant in the middle of the room and the naked emperor, demanding their rights, or even worse, others' rights...
You know these people - usually called "revolutionists", "dissidents" and "civil rights activists"... :->.
They just don't fit well with "normal people", they make noise, rock the boat, shake the tree... you can't ignore them, so you have to get them kicked out. Otherwise they might just change something, and change is no good... no good at all.

People who post things to get attention are not trolls.
One is a troll ONLY when one posts "inflammatory, provocative, extraneous, or off-topic messages" "with the primary intent of... ...disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

So - How to treat "trolls" and "sock puppets"?

People who post "inflammatory, provocative, extraneous, or off-topic messages" are to be ignored. Don't feed the trolls.

BUT... be very careful when trying to recognize trolls. I have seen too many innocent people accused of being trolls, bullied, harassed and ostracized, harmed for no good reason, that I'd rather see one troll get away unpunished than one non-troll being starved to death for the fear of trolls.

People who have created themselves other identities - so what?
I really don't understand what's the problem with people who want to live in a make-believe world. It doesn't matter if they say they are a lawyer when they are not, or a monk, or a witch, or Jesus or the President of USA. Go ahead, have a make-believe day, and play pretend. It doesn't harm anyone, and no-one should listen to one person more than another anyway.
Besides, this is internet. I could just as well be a middle-aged fat lady from Finland as a thin teenager from Guatemala or an old Japanese man, or the President of USA, Jesus or Dalai Lama. How could you really know?

And if someone wants to run a one man's show with ten different identities, go ahead. It's not that majority rules, is it? You are not more right just because you have a lot of fans. Now, if you have problems standing against the majority push... then it's really YOUR problem, isn't it?

Usually people who do this have no life, or they believe their real life isn't worth living, and it might well be so. Isn't it good that they find some reason to live? That they find the life they want to live somewhere? That they can create a wonderful world they want to live in, have a mask from behind they dare to say what they want to say, to express their opinion at least some way?

Who wants a world where everyone agrees? I don't. I don't care if the person who disagrees is a professor or journalist or a politician or a lawyer or tv personality or anything, or pretending to be one. But perhaps I'm just unusually strong with my convictions and faith.

Ok, you're a "liar". So what? As dr. House says, everyone lies. That you have invented yourself a background story shouldn't matter at all, because your background shouldn't matter. Frankly, I think people spent too much time in hunting trolls than discussing what matters. If someone wants to discuss using several different personas, what's it to me? Nothing.

It really is best for you peace of mind, soul, spirituality, quality as a human being, to treat trolls, sock puppets, wolves in sheep's clothing and all the other varieties of internet forum life forms with respect and kindness. That's really the best way of dealing with trolls.

About the "Classic Troll Tactics":

First, I repeat. People who lie, invent stories and friends, and get "temper tantrums" and are "drama queens" are attention seekers, not trolls. Trolls might do what they do to get attention, but their primary intention is to create havoc, sabotage discussions and cause upset feelings, irritation and fights.
If a person invents a background story to make them experts in the topic of discussion,  he/she is not a troll.
If a person talks about the issue at hands, he/she is not a troll.
If a person creates second, third and nth persona, and all of them discuss about the topic, he/she is not a troll.

#1: How does it harm you to let the person think he managed to cheat everyone? The cheater might think you're stupid? So what? You're not the smartest person on the planet anyway, otherwise you wouldn't be on-line...
"Ok, so you made up this elaborate story as a joke? Doesn't seem very funny nor smart to me... don't you think it would be better that you were just yourself and said what you think, in a normal manner? But, sure, you're a joker. Haha. Next issue."

#2: So someone creates a sock puppet account so that there's at least someone on your side. There shouldn't be a need for a sock puppet. A third party, neutral bystander, a friend SHOULD get into the discussion, imaginary, if no real ones are present. Frankly, attacking one person in a group, even if this one person had done something that deserves punishment (which impersonating someone or several someones or lying about one's background - in a debate forum - is IMHO nothing that deserves punishment.
If someone's family and friends create a sock puppet account to defend the "troll"... the atmosphere of the group must be really scary, if people don't dare to defend their family/friends without masks. Really sad, folks. Again, not the troll's problem, actually, but the group's problem.

#3: People do have little brothers. I don't, and my family would not log in as me anyway. But, when me and my husband shared a computer, every now and then we forgot to log out and posted something under the other one's identity. It was rare, but it did happen.
So, again, how is it going to harm you to actually believe the person? In no way what so ever.

#4: A liar can't stop lying. Again, sad, but doesn't make the liar less a human nor less valuable.

#5: I have left groups "for ever". I returned a couple of times, because I was repeatedly asked by my friends. My husband has done this. Several groups I have left "for ever". I am not a member of any group I have left "for ever".
BTW, some people who couldn't separate me from my husband, claimed that I was my husband's sock puppet and accused me of being a troll, because "I" had said I'm going to leave for good this time". It was my husband who left and he did leave for good. I never said anything of the kind, and I didn't leave either. (Except that now I have left the group in practice. I still have an account, but I haven't been there, like for ever ;-))
So - if a person threatens to leave, perhaps they are being serious. Perhaps they have friends who persuade them to reconsider their decision and come back. It really isn't nice to mock them and call them drama queens.

#6: It's not unusual for people to get angry when poked all the time, accused for things they haven't done, mocked, harassed or ignored. It's pretty usual that people who get angry shout and get violent. Call it a "temper tantrum" if you like, but - as no-one can really shout anything at the internet - USING ALL CAPITALS DOESN'T REALLY MAKE MORE NOISE THAN all lower case letters. No-one can really throw anything at you, break your leg or neck, beat you or kill you over the internet. Perhaps you have deserved every expletive thrown at your direction. Frankly, if you write crap like list of trolls and troll techniques and how to bully people you call trolls, you have deserved everything coming your way.

#7: And who are you to decide whether an apology is sincere or insincere?
If someone apologizes, you will accept it. Otherwise you are a rotten egg.
Also, just because someone apologizes, and it was sincere, doesn't mean that the person never again does the thing he/she apologized for. We are all only human, we all make mistakes. There is a lot of psychology behind every troll, sock puppet and every other label people are labeled with. We all have out luggage, shadows, triggers and fears, and sometimes we fall back into the dysfunctional behavior. 99 times out of 100 it can be explained with something else than "he's a troll"; are due to misunderstanding and all in all, petty incidents.

"Virtual Experts" are not trolls. How to deal with those people? Ignore them. Or give them what they want - attention - so that you can continue with the important stuff. These people are usually self-going, so it's enough to post every other day "how interesting", "I'm speechless", "unbelievable", "amazing", or another such thing... expressing exactly what you are thinking, but allowing the attention whore to get what he wants. Attention doesn't cost you much. You don't even need to read what they are writing.
"The emotionally immature person, however, has low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence and consequently feels insecure; to counter these feelings of insecurity they will spend a large proportion of their lives creating situations in which they become the center of attention. It may be that the need for attention is inversely proportional to emotional maturity, therefore anyone indulging in attention-seeking behaviors is telling you how emotionally immature they are."
- Bully on-line
I know I'm not suppose to be anyone's therapist, but I still think everyone deserves to be heard. Even attention seekers. Just remember that anyone can be an attention seeker, even your best internet friend. Don't believe everything people tell you, and never get into fights. Not even to "defend" your friend. Defend him/her by telling her/him to leave the discussion too. If she/he doesn't there might be some attention seeking going on.

"It is important to distinguish between dissenters and actual Contrarian Trolls".
Seeking out forums just to disagree with the people is not a sign of a troll.

Being for socialism, disarmament, believing USonians to be generally ignorant and arrogant people and believing all people "without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" are equal and worth respect and tolerance, are not signs of trolls.

People who "can be worthwhile forum participants" "when the spirit moves" are not trolls either.

"Philotrolls" are not trolls at all, just people who use Schopenhaueric Techniques, because they don't care about the issues being discussed, all they care about is being right.

Being in love with one and one's brilliant intelligence doesn't make one a troll either. It makes one an egomaniac.

Not being able to express one well in writing doesn't make one a troll either. Some people just talk too much, and even when it's really boring, it's not done with malicious intend to disrupt the flow of the forum.

That you vehemently drive your point in a discussion, even though you could know more - a lot more - about the subject, doesn't make you a troll.

Being very passionate and monomaniac about an issue, even aggressive, doesn't make you a troll.

Being an annoying know-it-all and eager to proof it to every one and all, doesn't make you a troll.

Being delusional, or mythomaniac doesn't make you a troll either. Annoying, sure, but not a troll.

A venue of vultures, a kennel of mutts, a bully and his groupies (so often the bully is male and the groupies females), are not trolls either. Just people behaving badly in groups.
Being a nuisance because you want to be with your idol doesn't make you a troll either.
Being a holier-than-thou "Christian",  judging and condemning everyone around you, doesn't make you a troll either.

Being paranoid and/or envious and criticizing and questioning everything and everyone around you doesn't make you a troll either.

I have witnessed witch hunts - or should I say troll hunts - where innocent people get lynched, because someone decided to make something petty into a Big Thing.
I have myself been the victim of a lying, cheating bitch with vengeance for imaginary crimes.
I have had my membership in forum deleted because I was thought to be a sock puppet's sock puppet.
People have claimed I'm my husband, and he is me, and several other people have been mixed into the soup too. In the end some paranoid individuals didn't believe anyone was who they said they were. That became the whole raison d'etre for these people, trying to figure out who was whose sock puppet and who was a real person and this became the only thing this people ever talked about.

Would the fact that I'm not doing anything trolls do for the reasons trolls do things prove to the people who accuse me of being a troll, that I'm not a troll? Of course not! They have decided that I am a troll, and nothing I say or do will change their minds.

If you don't defend yourself, you are admitting they are right.
If you do defend yourself, you are a sore looser and lying and trying to use the "classic troll tactics" to cover your ass.

Nothing will ever make anyone believe anything they don't want to believe.

P.S. According to this genius, I'm a "YerA Troll": "One of the most ill-tempered of troll species, YerATrolls are characterized by a childish need for attention disguised as cynical nobility and pretensions of being "above it all.""
"whining" and "complaining about the time and energy expended by Troll Bashers on troll-hunting", "pointing fingers at everyone but trolls", "demanding that their opinions be granted the significance the YerA Troll believes they deserve" :-D
"the fact that they're engaging in trolling by picking fights with everyone else"
- that is, trying to get the forum back to what people are supposed to be discussing about and stop discussing about off topic issues, like troll hunts, arbitrary accusations of trolling, speculations on who might be a troll and "exposing" trolls, that is, anyone who disagrees with the troll hunters :-D
Heaven forbid that this Experienced, Venomous, Hateful and Abusive Troll Basher would miss some troll bashing time and well deserved honor, praise and gratitude for his relentless obsession with keeping the forums free from trolls (that is, dissidents, socialists and Europeans. They are all gay and hoplophobic anyway. And they hate USA.)

Just accuse US of "childish need for attention" and being "self-righteous" and "hypocritical" trolls :-D That will surely divert the attention from YOUR trolling and attention seeking, mr Trollhunter Besserwisser Extraordinaire. :-D

P.P.S. It's not "the logical fallacy of appeals to authority", if you ARE an authority in the subject...

P.P.P.S. "Troll Bashers appear to possess an almost pathological hatred for trolls"
I don't remember the quote right now, but it goes something like this: If your enemy makes you angry, you have lost the fight. Emotions make you blind, mr Troll-finder General.

"Troll Bashers expose trolls whenever they see them", that is  they "expose" people they believe to be trolls, usually people who disagree with them, but are not trolls, because according to this long and faulty list of trolls, ANYONE can be classified as troll, even if they are just annoying.

"Troll Bashers believe any amount of retaliatory abuse is justified"

Yeah... "torture is ok, because the object is not a good person. I would never torture a good person, because I am a good person." Abuse is NEVER justified.