Enough

Mar. 18th, 2015 09:21 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
Stark, you are no longer welcome to comment here. You were never really welcome, because you almost always make the conversation worse rather than better, but doing anything about you was a hassle so I didn't bother. But really I should have done this ages ago.

There's an argument against posting this publicly, partly because I suspect Stark considers it a victory in whatever pointless game he's playing if he actually annoys people enough they exclude him. But letting him continue because I don't want to give him that satisfaction is still playing his game and I'm done with that. Partly because it's saying negative things about another person in public, which is potentially gossip and that's something I avoid. However I have quite enough evidence that what I'm saying is true and relevant to many people whom he might target, because he's known for exploiting any sort of benefit of the doubt offered to get more and more obnoxious.

Also the post needs to be public because the people most affected will be those who don't have DW accounts. I am not going to go into details of what I will to do to get rid of Stark's annoying comments because he has a habit of gaming that sort of thing. It's going to be ad hoc, and I might get it wrong sometimes; I'm mainly just going to slightly shift my defaults of what's ok and what gets removed. The best way not to get mistaken for Stark is to avoid posting comments that are aggressive or look like part of a badly run debating contest where you get points for identifying supposed flaws in your "opponent's" argument. In fact aggressive and nitpicking comments aren't very valuable anyway so if I accidentally remove some that are not from Stark I won't cry over it.

It probably also helps if you identify yourself in some way as not Stark. I am fine with anon comments, and I'm not talking about connecting your comment to the sort of personal details that the tax authorities or Google would expect. I'm fine with just a use-name, a handle or an initial. I have commenters I value, regulars and drive-bys, who don't have DW accounts and I know OpenID doesn't always work reliably. And I'm fine with, indeed grateful for, comments about sensitive topics where you don't want to give any hint who you are, just call yourself "anon1" or a random collection of letters or whatever. If you feel ok doing so, contact me by a back-channel to let me know if I mistakenly think you're Stark and remove your comment (he does sometimes make reasonable comments).

I am aware that several of my friends are friends with Stark. I apologize if it upsets you that I'm being negative about your friend. I have been assured many times that he's much less unpleasant in person. I consider the internet to be part of real life, it's a medium that real people use to talk to eachother, and being an obnoxious bully is phenomenological. So even if his demeanour is entirely different face-to-face, it remains true that he keeps making needling comments until he gets a response and has on several occasions I know about crossed the line into bullying when being merely annoying didn't get a rise out of targets, so I don't want to know him.

A big part of my problem is that I'm personally pretty thick-skinned and easy-going, which is why I've let this go for far longer than I should have. I rarely moderate my comment sections at all, because I'm interested in what people have to say and I love the discussions we have here, and also I'm way too lazy to actually try to make this journal a properly safe space. However, if I let bullying go on in my comment sections I'm culpable, and I want to stop doing that. A friend recently described my DW as your own little bottom half of the internet and I was quite hurt, because I really love the conversations we have here and I feel like we've got a really good level of respectful, thoughtful disagreement. But I do acknowledge the criticism, it's often more debatey than supportive in my comment threads. I want to keep the advantages of that, even though I do understand it means some people won't want to participate. I think I can do more to make more people feel comfortable here, and part of that is being stricter about letting obnoxious people poison the well.

In particular, I apologize to [personal profile] davidgillon and [personal profile] electricant, both of whom got a bit of Stark going on at you recently and I didn't intervene. I partly didn't because you were both making thoughtful, interesting comments, assuming that the person you were talking to was a bit ignorant but basically discussing in good faith, rather than just trying to annoy you, and I found your comments valuable. I also apologize to those of my friends who were quicker than I was to take action; I did read your accounts of why Stark is a problem, I just took longer than I should have to do anything about it.

Just to note: things that always have been, and are still, allowed:
  • Disagreement, including strong disagreement about topics I care about.
  • Pointing out errors; I don't mind at all if people pick up typos, mistakes in HTML, unclearly phrased sentences, places where I'm mistaken about a question of fact etc.
  • Swearing. This is an informal blog conversation, I often use swearwords myself, and I'm not interested in enforcing a standard of politeness based on policing language.
  • Anon comments, as indicated above, as long as you find some way of indicating you're not Stark, and you're not using anonymity to attack individuals.
ETA: I know this isn't a good general principle for surviving in the internet jungle, but for this particular post, please don't feed the troll! I'm not surprised by Stark showing up to justify himself in a post that's about him, but the whole point is that he's not welcome to comment here, so I'd really appreciate it if people don't get into discussions with him. I'd also appreciate if we could keep speculation about his motivations, character etc to a minimum; he may be annoying but he's still a person and I don't want this to turn into a pile-on of everybody dissecting his flaws in a space where I've just said he can't reply. Ta!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-18 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] woodpijn.livejournal.com
I realise you're not going to please everyone no matter what you do, and I'm sorry you're in that position, but: I'm sad about this decision.

I hadn't actually realised your recent anon commenters were him (I know him IRL and elsewhere online, or used to, but haven't seen him for a few years), or even that they were all the same person. But I have seen debates on your journal recently where an anon is arguing with someone and I thought the anon's arguments were more sensible and logically sound than the other person's, and where neither debater IMO crossed the line beyond "disagreement, including strong disagreement".

Maybe I'm thinking of different conversations; maybe I haven't seen the threads you've banned him over. But if you have banned him over the threads I've seen, then whatever he did wrong is something I'm clearly unable to perceive, and presumably unable to avoid doing myself.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-18 03:12 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
That makes sense, and I'm sorry he's pushed you to this. (Someone who deliberately pushes for a reaction cannot expect me to believe a claim that he only meant you to stumble into a pillar and be bruised, not fall down and be seriously hurt: he chose the act with the intent of doing harm, and he is morally culpable even if he misjudged the degree of likely harm.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-18 04:41 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
*hugs* I haven't kept to my resolution to disallow questionable comments as much as I'd hoped, but it's still helped a lot, and I regret not doing it sooner. And I feel a lot better that losing comments which don't really contribute much hopefully makes it easier for other people to comment.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-18 05:02 pm (UTC)
cjwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cjwatson
This seems like an excellent decision. Well done for this resolve, but more importantly for being clear about why.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-18 07:44 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Stark was the anon being annoying about disability a while ago? Interesting. No need to apologise to me, I've dealt with far worse when talking about disability on Twitter. OTOH the idea that he was doing it to deliberately provoke a reaction from the outset makes me reclassify what he was saying from simply ignorant to actively disablist. And someone willing to be actively disablist purely to provoke a reaction certainly needs blocking.
(screened comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 02:57 am (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
So, I write from within the discriminated-against group and provide citations to 40-odd years of scholarship on the subject, all agreeing with me that this is a commonly repeated (and pernicious) pattern of discrimination, while your 'argument' consists solely of say 'no, you're wrong, disabled people aren't discriminated against like that' and claim I'm 'logically incoherent'. Keep up the good work, you're just proving mine and Liv's points.

ETA: I did actually reach the same conclusion Liv draws here during the original thread, there was too little an attempt to engage, just continued denial of any point I made, no matter the supporting evidence provided. The only difference is that I was unaware this represented a pattern of behaviour. Even if you disagree with our conclusions, it indicates people are consistently finding your manner a problem.
Edited Date: 2015-03-19 03:16 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 09:04 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Absolutely!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 12:51 pm (UTC)
damerell: NetHack. (normal)
From: [personal profile] damerell
I regret not trying to tip you off at the time as well as [personal profile] liv.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
No problem, it didn't make much difference - he was providing a platform where I could illustrate the attitudinal problems we face!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 12:00 am (UTC)
nicki: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nicki
Who you are on the internet is who you are. It might not be who you want others to think you are, but what a person does when no one is watching is perhaps even more indicative of their personality than what they do around people whose opinions they care about.
(screened comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 01:52 am (UTC)
nicki: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nicki
Yes, but a lot of what is done on the net is done under a semi-anon screen name or actual anon. The internet is not watching YOU, it's watching a puppet you've created that you manipulate via a very very long pole and from behind several curtains. For example, "you" could be anyone, anon, for all I know.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-20 01:45 am (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
this narrative of "he's pleasant offline" has been bugging me for years

So no problem: you didn't ban him offline. You banned him online. He can continue to be pleasant offline, and now be absent online, here where he wasn't pleasant. Win-win all around.

ETA: It always reminds me of someone saying, "But he doesn't shoplift in MY store!" To which the answer can only be, "GOOD, LET HIM SHOP THERE."
Edited Date: 2015-03-20 01:47 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 05:11 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I'm sorry this person has been a bundle of cocks in your space. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-19 12:54 pm (UTC)
damerell: NetHack. (normal)
From: [personal profile] damerell
One reason I think IP tracking might be worth it is, if the comments above come from a Frontier-range address, after a clear and unequivocal request to stop bothering you, you might be able to solve the problem not just for you but for everyone.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-20 01:43 am (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
Hear, hear! I heartily endorse the principle that a journal owner gets to moderate her space as she sees fit, to cultivate the sort of space she wants.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-23 08:46 am (UTC)
shreena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shreena
This has completely passed me by but I wanted to say that I think of this type of internet space as like your house and a) you always have the right to kick someone out of your house if they're not welcome for any reason and b) it's completely fair and reasonable for you to want to make your space a welcoming environment to your friends and, if there is someone who is making it a hostile place, I welcome you taking a stand on that.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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