March 22, 2012

Why I don't delete mobys in the comments section to this blog.

First, I love free expression, and one way to express a viewpoint is to say the opposite. It's sarcasm. It can be comedy. Look at Stephen Colbert. It's a good — even light-hearted — way to expose the bad side of your opponent's arguments.

Second, we all need to become as competent as possible as consumers of communication. Don't be naive. You need to detect these literary devices. Understand that writers/speakers have ulterior motives. I'm not going to clear out material that requires you to exercise your mental muscles. If you can't tell a moby when you see one, I'm not going to delete him: You need practice. If I see you responding to him as if he were sincere, it makes me sad. Where's your mental toughness? How will you be a competent citizen in the political arena where everyone's always more or less bullshitting?

What is a moby? It's surprisingly hard to Google for your answer. Perhaps the singer Moby — after whom the particular sort of trolling is named — has had more success petitioning Google for reputation help than has Rick "frothy mix" Santorum. So here's Urban Dictionary's most popular definition of Moby:
An insidious and specialized type of left-wing troll who visits blogs and impersonates a conservative for the purpose of either spreading false rumors intended to sow dissension among conservative voters, or who purposely posts inflammatory and offensive comments for the purpose of discrediting the blog in question.

The term is derived from the name of the liberal musician Moby, who famously suggested in February of 2004 that left-wing activists engage in this type of subterfuge: “For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you’re an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion. Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, ‘What’s all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?’”

The strategy has been frequently attempted on conservative blogs, but has not been nearly as effective as Moby envisioned, since false rumors are easily debunked by fact-checking minions, and cartoonishly extreme commenters often get immediately identified as mobys and banned.
But you don't get banned on my blog for doing that, even though my comments policy, as stated above the compose window, says "we delete... bad faith comments," defining bad faith as "comments that we believe have the ulterior motive of destroying the conversation and driving people away from this forum." A moby can cross the line into bad faith, but mobyism per se is not what I'm talking about. What I want is for readers and commenters not to get suckered by comments that come in this insincere form. I want you to raise your game!

On to the specific incident. This morning, I posted for the first time about the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The point of my post was, as I put it in the comments, to demand that everyone pay attention to and value the actual facts of the case and not to fall prey to more prejudice and stereotypes as they snap up a seemingly useful incident for the purpose of saying something they already want to say about — ironically — prejudices and stereotypes.

A commenter called Dane County Taxpayer posted:
Why was this hoodie black boy walking around this neighborhood? He was out looking to provoke a reaction. He definitely deserves a Darwin award for getting himself killed. Let face it, it is reasonable to assume the worst when you see a hoodie black youth in your gated community. This boy should have known that. The gun grabbers are now using this to push their agenda.
Now, that's obviously a moby. Anyone who took DCT seriously and argued with him on the merits was duped. Please don't be duped. Others, like Palladian, called him out:
"Dane County Taxpayer" is what's called a "moby" troll; it posts deliberately inflammatory, racially-charged comments in order to provoke others to make such comments and therefore have "proof" that the commenters here are "racist".

This particular troll has a very long and ugly history here. Ignore it.
And I said:
Yes, if you didn't recognize Dane County Taxpayer as a moby... you need to up your game. Be a savvy commenter. There are mobys afoot.
Meade wanted us to delete DCT's comment, but I argued with him about the proper meaning of our key policy term "bad faith," and I was adamant that what we will delete is only the commenter who we believe hates this blog and is out to wreck it by undermining the conversation and driving people away. I'm not about saving readers from having to be smart about detecting insincerity and sarcasm. Admittedly, I don't know when someone has crossed my "bad faith" line, but that is the line.

I realize that by drawing the line there, it is possible that someone on some other blog might quote that comment and say Aha! Proof that those terrible right-wing commenters at Althouse are a bunch of disgusting racists! And if I believe the commenter is trying to make that happen, with the purpose of wrecking my blog, I will see him as crossing the bad faith line. And, actually, now that I think about it, I'm inclined to view Dane County Taxpayer as having crossed the line. I think anti-Althousians of the web will see his comment as a delicious tidbit. DCT himself could even start another blog, under a different name and use his own quote to attack me and my commenters.

Having written all this, and given all the pointing out of the mobying that appears in the context of the original comments thread, I'm going to leave the comment up, as a lesson in free speech and reading comprehension.

137 comments:

Fen said...

I realize that by drawing the line there, it is possible that someone on some other blog might quote that comment and say Aha! Proof that those terrible right-wing commenters at Althouse are a bunch of disgusting racists!

Oh, they're going to do that anyway, regardless of what efforts you make.

Besides, charges of racism during Obama's term have become so frequent and spurious that the term has lost all meaning.

John Stodder said...

So you're saying I Heart Willard...doesn't?

Revenant said...

If it were me I would have deleted the comment, but -- your blog, your rules.

leslyn said...

Althouse: "I think anti-Althousians of the web will see his comment as a delicious tidbit. DCT could even start another blog, under a different name and use his own quote to attack me and my commenters."

This statement reminds me of last May 13, when you thought that Google deactivated the whole Blogspot for 20 hours because Google didn't like you as a commentator.

Paranoid, much?

sydney said...

Having written all this, and given all the pointing out of the mobying that appears in the context of the original comments thread, I'm going to leave the comment up, as a lesson in free speech and reading comprehension.

The people who will use this against you will do so anyway. They won't read this post, they don't value free speech, and they are incapable of comprehension. Part of me thinks it's admirable that you are willing to take that risk for free speech, but part of me thinks you are just enabling bad behavior.

Ann Althouse said...

Doesn't what?

Henry said...

Doesn't have a heart?

BarrySanders20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dane County Taxpayer said...

The only problem with your extensive analysis is that I am not a moby. But thanks for spending so much of your time this morning on this. (That last bit was sarcasm.)

BarrySanders20 said...

Only a moby would so quickly deny his mobyiness!

john said...

Well, that's a problem too. Sometimes "mobys" could just be immature attention seekers.

Robert Cook said...

I've heard the term used, but what, exactly, is a "moby?" It's an acronym for...what?

gerry said...

I am too excitable, which is why I like althouse.com. It tempers me. When I saw DCT's comment, I thought, "What an idiot!", which is not quite declaring DCT a moby, but which prevented any comment from me.

Live and learn. Thanks, professor!

dac said...

DCT is so sad he has been "outed". I feel bad for him. Group Hug!

Paco Wové said...

"This statement reminds me of last May 13..."

What, you have every blog entry cross-indexed or something?

Crunchy Frog said...

The only problem with your extensive analysis is that I am not a moby.

Oh well that settles it then. Thank you for setting the matter straight.

Freeman Hunt said...

Dane, you were easy to spot on your first comments on this blog. You need to work on being a savvy moby. Then you'll be less obvious.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

How can you tell a true racist from a moby though? Because by Althouse's logic re: DCT, there's no such thing as racist commenters ever.

Instead of teaching us a "lesson" on how to identify racism, Althouse would rather talk about alleged fake commenters. Nice to know where her priorities are!

Freder Frederson said...

So if Cedarford had said it, would you say he is "obviously a Moby"? Or does Cedarford get a pass because he has been posting here a long time and we know he is not a Moby--he is just an unreconstructed racist.

And what about Fen? If we took the names off the post, I bet you couldn't tell which ones were Fen and which ones were DCT.

Face it, you've got a lot of blatant racists (Cedarford, Fen, DBQ, Victoria--although she hasn't been around in a while)--not to mention the homophobes--who post here regularly, you should at least consider the possibility that DCT is genuine

traditionalguy said...

Trolling can be an art form and like being a clown it takes great talent.

I remember several commenters who started out here seeming to be Grade A trolls, but were slowly converted by the others.

Patience was needed. Cussing them out would have been silly. Either respond with some thoughtful comments in a respectful way or ignore their existence.

The first lesson a trial lawyer acquires is when not to respond and show his hand.

Come to think of it, that's the way I get treated here too.

Chip Ahoy said...

Expect the name to change but not the style. And if a style change then only a slight change. I find this type of individual stuck on stupid. So now they're thinking, thank you for showing me how to be a better less conspicuous Moby, I thought I was so clever up to now, but now you've shown me how to up my game too. But they are still stuck and they are still stupid and they will not be able to escape their own cartoon version of you. That's how they're so easily spotted pretending to be you, by being a cartoon.

Patrick said...

Robert Cook - the term Moby comes from the singer Moby who went on some chat room somewhere a few years back and suggested that lefties go on righty blogs and fill up the comments with racist drivel, or bad information in order to discredit the blog. To the extent this happens, I doubt it's particular to the left, but who knows.

The only song I know by Moby is "we are all stars". I think that's as big as he ever got.

Ipso Fatso said...

Great stuff Ann, Bravo!!!

Robert Cook said...

Patrick...thank you. I saw the refernce to "Urban Dictionary" and actually had just found the definition for Moby there before I came back here and saw your comment.

I'm curious now what thread and what comment by, apparently, DCT, has wrought this accusation of Moby-ness?

rcocean said...

ZPS - Race Detective is on the case. We'll let you sniff out all the racism on this blog ZPS. Go at it.

Ann Althouse said...

"How can you tell a true racist from a moby though? Because by Althouse's logic re: DCT, there's no such thing as racist commenters ever. Instead of teaching us a "lesson" on how to identify racism, Althouse would rather talk about alleged fake commenters. Nice to know where her priorities are!"

Obviously, I'm already saying the comment is badly racist and unacceptable. It's thoroughly denounced.

As for my detection of a moby... yeah...how does anyone ever really know what's inside another human being's head? What are you going to do? Give up! I'm urging competence, intelligence, and accuracy... in dealing with mobys, in receiving news reports that might suggest a crime with a racial motive, in hearing demagogues demagoguing the latest news story about a possible crime that might possibly be racist... about everything.

Don't give up. Keep struggling. It's all we can do.

Patrick said...

Linked in the post, Robert.

Hey, wake up! What are you in Hawaii or something?

Christopher in MA said...

"Face it, you've got a lot of blatant racists (Cedarford, Fen, DBQ, Victoria - although she hasn't been around in a while - not to mention the homophobes - who post here regularly. . ."

If you'd added blithering idiots - like me to that post, Freder, I might take you seriously.

I despise Cedarford's anti-Semitism, but I've frankly never considered him to be racist. Fen takes things up to the line and is provoking, but again - well, when the race card is all you've got in the deck, it's the card you play, isn't it?

And neither needs me to defend them, but DBQ and Victoria are exemplary women with more grace in their fingernail shavings than you have in your whole body.

SGT Ted said...

It's your blog Ann. Do whatevah.

tim maguire said...

Aren't Mobys by definition posting in bad faith to disrupt discussion and drive readers away?

Maybe your deletion policy is so rarely enforced that it doesn't matter much how clearly defined it is, but, as of now, it seems to mean whatever you want it to mean at the moment you consider hitting the delete button.

I consider myself a generally harmless, always sincere, usually considered poster so I'm not too worried over the fate of my own lovelies, but still...if you're going to have a policy, it should be clear.

SGT Ted said...

Cederford is Cedarford.

But calling DBQ and Victoria "racist" is really just the typical lefty name calling in lieu of a coherent argument.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

It seems to me that trolls are more honest because they at least will call you a racist and be obnoxious and annoying to your face without trying to pretend to be something that they're not.

Also I don't think mobys in general are smart enough for organized sneak attacks.

t-man said...

Don't give up. Keep struggling. It's all we can do.

Great, you can just rename the blog "My Struggle."

Tim said...

DCT is a moby? File that under "Things that are Surpassingly Obvious," such as:

- Obama is, predictably and unsurprisingly, a failed president;

- The federal government borrowing $0.40+ on every dollar spent is not only unsustainable, it is a looming disaster resulting from dishonest leadership from people like Obama catering to people who vote for people like Obama;

- Higher taxes on "the rich" will not fix this, and expecting that they will is utterly dishonest or delusional, depending upon one's mental capacity or health;

- Nor will the relentless imposition of federal and state regulations on the decreasingly productive private sector economy;

- Despite this, Althouse will, more than likely, vote for Obama again;

- Garage Mahal is an extreme, tendentious liberal, complicit in the crime of cannibalizing America's future for the short-term sake of public employee unions, other Democrat special interest groups, and the Democrat party;

- Crack's focus upon New Ager's and other cults, while warranted, is excessive if not obsessive;

- Atheism is faith-based;

- Abortion kills a human life;

- The Second Amendment supports the individual right to bear arms;

- The Tenth Amendment is the most significant Amendment to the Constitution consistently ignored;

- "DCT" is a moby (redundant, for effect);

- Robert Cook is a Socialist, if not a Communist, even as he denies what "Socialism" really is;

- I believe America's future will soon be irreparably condemned to being worse than its past, unless Democrat voters pull their heads out of their asses, or simply stop voting.

- The S.F. 49ers will win another Super Bowl before the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys win another;

- Eli Manning will retire with more Super Bowl rings than his older brother, Peyton.

traditionalguy said...

I think of the best Mobys as applicants for a job at The Onion writing their try out pieces and opening them in New Haven.

The Professor has courage. let's follow her example. The scriptures say that life as a wrestling match against unseen forces.

a wrestling match is not easy. It requires one on one moves and counter moves until you win.

And what ever happened to Shouting Thomas? Maybe the New Orleans Saints put a contract out on him.

Freder Frederson said...

I despise Cedarford's anti-Semitism, but I've frankly never considered him to be racist.

So explain to me how you can be not racist but anti-Semitic. (It is like saying I hate circles but ovals are okay).

And I think you have missed Cedarford's extensive raves about "welfare mommas" and long discourses on his belief in Eugenics. He also hates Europeans and arabs. In fact I can't think of an ethnic group that he has a good thing to say about (except he does seem to like Asians--or at least admit they might be as intelligent as white non-Europeans).

Almost Ali said...

A lesson in parenting (but I was a rebellious child).

Some years ago my therapist, volunteering in a sports bar, said to me as she polished off her 3rd glass of Chardonnay; "You know what it is, you want to par-went, paaa-ent, uh, par-ENT, people."

Then we fell in love.

rcommal said...

Are we sure Fen is white?

Coketown said...

I am a Moby for the Right sometimes. I'll say racist and racially-charged things for no other reason than to provoke a breathless, overzealous reaction from our resident lefties. The reaction of a liberal identifying a racist is identical to a dog seeing and chasing a laser pointer.

Revenant said...

So explain to me how you can be not racist but anti-Semitic.

Judaism is a religion and culture, not a race. Easy.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

The big problem is that DTC gives Mobys a bad name.

Matthew said...

Moby. Eeyore. So many faces of poster identity.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

The Justice Department Civil Rights Division is on the case. I expect little Elian to be returned home soon.

rhhardin said...

The truth shall make you fret.

rcommal said...

It is like saying I hate circles but ovals are okay.

??

rcommal said...

Next up: Squares and Rectangles.

Matthew said...

"How can you tell a true racist from a moby though? Because by Althouse's logic re: DCT, there's no such thing as racist commenters ever."

Through analysis. Believe it or not, conservatives are not cartoon villains. Mobys (or other such trolls), when not skillfully done, appear as such.

crosspatch said...

I think the most common "Moby" trick I've seen recently is someone drifting in to a "conservative" blog and posting comments along the lines of "I'm a conservative and if Romney gets the nomination, I'm not voting for him in the general" in order to make that reaction appear more popular than it is and to maybe get some people to follow suit.

The notion is to present themselves as being SO conservative they can't vote for anyone but a "pure" conservative candidate, which in this case is just as good as voting for the Democrat on the ballot.

A vote not cast for one has as much weight as a vote cast FOR the other. So not voting for the Republican candidate on a spot on the ballot is mathematically the same as voting for the Democrat.

They know this and have been hitting the Republican leaning blogs over the past couple of weeks pumping this meme.

Robert Cook said...

Patrick said<

"Linked in the post, Robert.

"Hey, wake up! What are you in Hawaii or something?"


D'oh!! I oughta be. No, I'm at work and just wasn't looking closely. Thank you, again.

X said...

The S.F. 49ers will win another Super Bowl before the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys win another;


oh bullshit. Jerry Jones could die at any time, putting the Cowboys back in the hunt.

John said...

Whatever you do Ann, don't delete America's Politico. That guy is comedy gold. That is top flight trolling.

Duane Country Taxpayer is obviously a moby. There are a few liberal griefer moby types who infest Reason as well. But I don't seem to see this from the Right. It really seems to bother liberals that anyone other than them is having a say.

Original Mike said...

"It is like saying I hate circles but ovals are okay.

??"


Don't ask me.

John said...

X

Jerry Jones is going to live a very long time. He is Al Davis in cowboy boots.

james conrad said...

LOL @ Moby, thanks for the definition, for a min. there i was thinkin AA was going to go on a whale riff.

edutcher said...

Have to agree with tim maguire that a moby posts in bad faith as part of his/her thing and, I would think, merit deletion on that ground.

Nice to hear, though, that Ann and Meade can have differences of opinion on this and they have to work out the rules now and again (truth in advertising: I agree with Meade) so at least the deletion side gets a hearing.

Alex, of course, is almost the Gabby Hayes of mobys in being so transparent he's comic relief.

Cook, OTOH, is what he is. Give him credit, he comes at you open and honest.

Bob Ellison said...

Patterico has a regular "Sockpuppet Friday" feature (here's his most recent). Professor, maybe you should do Moby Wednesdays! But the comment-publishing system makes this a little hairy; one must have an established identity first.

Sockpuppets and Mobys (Mobies?) are similar. I don't think I'm very good at spotting them; that's a bit of a naive block in my brain, I think.

RonF said...

Way back in 300/1200 bps days I was a Sysop for the Chicago Computer Society. There were times when I decided that someone had crossed the line, and they were out. After a while I got challenged - someone said "Well, 'x' did this and you didn't knock them out, but you knocked me out for doing about the same thing. That's not fair. You can't do that! You have to have the same guidelines for everyone!"

I basically told them, "Ah, no, I don't. I try to. But in the end it's my line. While I define it as best as I can I'll exercise my judgement as I see fit at whatever time I please. If you don't like that you can get a new Sysop. But until you do it's my judgement and no one else's."

Complaints were made, but they never got another Sysop....

Lem said...

Its not hard to spot a Moby..

(after posting that comment above.. just now.. I thought of saying something sarcastic.. like)

Now, where do I go to get my Nobel Peace Price..

(not anywhere racist, but compelling ;)

Christopher in MA said...

Thank you, Revenant. Frankly, I almost always scroll past the Gruppenfuhrer's comments anyway, so his screeds on eugenics and welfare mommas have so far not registered on my radar screen.

And I still stand by my comments about DBQ and Victoria, despite Freder's traducing of them.

And I don't mind circles, but I hate isoceles triangles.

Original Mike said...

What have DBQ or Victoria ever said to warrant such a vicious charge?

Ann Althouse said...

"So if Cedarford had said it, would you say he is "obviously a Moby"? Or does Cedarford get a pass because he has been posting here a long time and we know he is not a Moby--he is just an unreconstructed racist."

What does "get a pass" refer to? You need to understand the deletion policy I spent a lot of time explaining and connect your incomprehensible comment to that.

I don't give "passes." I have a free speech policy that has a line that can be crossed. The title of this post says it: I don't delete based on a "moby" line. So what are you saying I'm doing?

If you think you are saying that I've said I delete all racist comments UNLESS they are mobys... how have I said that?

I challenge you to make sense.

Original Mike said...

"I challenge you to make sense."

Today's theme is windmills!

Saint Croix said...

what we will delete is only the commenter who we believe hates this blog and is out to wreck it by undermining the conversation and driving people away.

Some people get a real kick out of being the opposite sex for a while, or another race, or whatever. So he may be adopting a racist persona not because he hates the blog, but because he wants to play at being a racist.

It's a persona he's adopting. He wants to see what it feels like to be a hater.

Actually, in filmmaking it's often really fun to play villains. Ask any actor, they'll tell you. You find your dark side.

So maybe he's just releasing his inhibitions.

On the other hand, he can be a Moby and a racist.

The very fact that he wants to pretend to be a racist suggests to me that he actually is a racist. His Moby mission just gives him permission to say the vile things that he has an urge to say.

It's kind of like the racism we see from liberals in regard to Clarence Thomas or Condi Rice.

What happens is their racialist worldview ("black people need help") and their feelings of superiority ("conservatives are scum") converge in over-the-top racism that's right out of the Klan handbook.

See Ted Rall for instance.

It's hard to distinguish between a Moby who's pretending to be a racist, and a liberal who's hating on black conservatives. In both cases they believe their PC worldview shields them from their vile and hateful rhetoric.

Patrick said...

Hawaii would be better than work. Today, not a bad day, though. Good Court of Appeals argument, in defense of truth, justice and economic liberty.

(hopefully 2 of the three judges see my case like that)

Lem said...

What I want is for readers and commenters not to get suckered by comments that come in this insincere form. I want you to raise your game!

A good rule of thumb is to engage commenters that we know are NOT Mobys.

Like.. I dont know..

Ok.. if you dont have a birth certificate, you may already be a Moby ;)

(I'm baiting Althouse to do a birther post)

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

"Actually, in filmmaking it's often really fun to play villains. Ask any actor, they'll tell you. You find your dark side."

-- Currently in the process of a minimum one-page of fiction a day, and writing villains being villains is entirely more fun than heroes. They steal the stage for me when I'm writing (even when it is not very good).

It is fun to just not be yourself and look outside your comfort level for awhile. In table top games, it is fun to have character flaws we hope to avoid, like fantastic racism against, say, orcs or elves.

But, in both those cases, everyone is aware that there is play acting going on. On a forum, it just seems unfair to pretend to be something else to get a reaction.

Though, I am really a white tiger.

John said...

I think the real motivation behind Mobys is the absolute religous faith among liberals that everyone who is not a liberal is not because they are racist. They just know everyone else is motivated by racism. If the everyone else is not saying that, that is only because they are lying. So what the Moby is doing is posting what he thinks everyone on the site really thinks. And also giving nonliberals the opportunity to show their true colors.

DADvocate said...

I have a whale of a good time reading the mobys.

Dan Karipides said...

The problem as I see it that trolls or "Mobys" (never heard that term before) are passionate about what they do and it only takes a few to disrupt an online community.

Imagine you threw a dinner party and invited all of your students to attend--no formal invite needed. One of your students doesn't like your politics and shows up naked, spits in the food, and yells obscenities non-stop.

You could tell your other guests "we need to learn how to deal with such people" or you could ask him to leave.

Personally, I don't see much value in the first choice.

John said...

Dan,

They are very passionate. A lot of them are borderline mentally ill. And yes, they can totally ruin a board if not properly policed out of it.

Original Mike said...

"You could tell your other guests "we need to learn how to deal with such people" or you could ask him to leave."

Hell, just shoot the fucker.

Hey! This Moby thing is fun!

pduggie said...

I was wondering the other day if right wing blogs had the equivalent of 'derailing' and 'concern trolls' that feminism and left wing blogs complain about. I guess they do in this sense.

I usually can't stand the reflexive accusations of derailing and concern trolling by feminists who have good faith challenges to their perspectives posted. It does seem to reveal they are very much less interested in discourse and more interested in power.

(though does that mean Althouse is a 'right wing blog?')

William said...

It is a dishonest and manipulative tactic. He undermines himself in his attempt to undermine the commenters.....The world has many people who hold opinons that are at variance with mine. Some of those people are also smarter than me. But no one smarter than me would use such a tactic. If you're using such a tactic, it would be wise to consider the possibilty that your opponent is not so dumb and that you, yourself, are not so smart.

Fen said...

Freder: And what about Fen? If we took the names off the post, I bet you couldn't tell which ones were Fen and which ones were DCT.

Face it, you've got a lot of blatant racists


Evidence of this blantant racism you speak of? Put up or shut up.

jimspice said...

And the racist signs at the T-parties were all liberal plants too.

Fen said...

Again, evidence?

Someone looks at you funny, Jim, and you cry "racism"

Alex said...

Alex, of course, is almost the Gabby Hayes of mobys in being so transparent he's comic relief.

I resemble that remark!

Alex said...

Jimspice said....

And the racist signs at the T-parties were all liberal plants too.

You new here moby?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EDH said...

Althouse: It's surprisingly hard to Google for your answer. Perhaps the singer Moby — after whom the particular sort of trolling is named — has had more success petitioning Google for reputation help than has Rick "frothy mix" Santorum.

Moreover, it looks like all the video of Moby being punched outside a Boston rock club in 2002 have been purged from the web as well.

Actually, the video shows Moby giving chase to his attackers. The Moby attacking those anti-Mobys.

Notice what Moby's attackers were wearing (below).

Moby Attacked After Boston Concert

Platinum-selling electronic musician Moby was attacked early Thursday morning outside a Boston-area music venue following a radio station-sponsored holiday concert -- during which the self-described pacifist spoke out against aggression and violence, the Boston Globe reports.

Writing on his Web site, Moby (real name: Richard Melville Hall), 37, said he was ambushed when he stopped to sign autographs outside the Paradise Club, where he had just given a concert.

"After being punched in the head from behind a few times, I turned around to see what was going on, and one of them punched me in the face a couple of times and then they all ran away," Moby said.

As police and witnesses tell the Globe, Moby was approached at around 1 a.m. by two men in their early 20s. "One of the men, wearing a green hooded sweatshirt, punched Moby in the back of the head and on the right side of his face, breaking the singer's glasses and cutting and bruising his face," the Globe reports.

"When two security guards from the Paradise attempted to stop the attack, the assailants sprayed Moby, Moby's manager, and the two security guards with a mace-like substance."

The two suspects then fled on foot.

"I'm very curious as to why three men would coordinate an attack on me. You know, three against one? And the 'one' in question is me, hardly the most physically threatening person in the world."

As the Globe points out, Moby in recent months has faced threats and insults from Eminem.

A publicist at Eminem's record company told the Globe on Thursday that it would be "ridiculous" to assume that the attack might have been prompted by their rivalry.

John Stodder said...

I think one reason you can assume DCT and others who post racist bilge on a site like this are mobys is that, unless they are psychotic, racists know that there is something disreputable about being a racist, so even in an semi-anonymous environment like this, they will seek to avoid social approbation by concealing it.

If, on the other hand, you want to make it seem like people you oppose condone racists, the temptation to the weak-minded is to do what DCT did, seeding the thread with a racist comment, in hopes that a) a genuine racist will foolishly out themselves, and the reputational damage will spread to the entire blog or b) less good, but no one will say anything, allowing a lefty blogger to post an item pointing to the racist comment and then say, "It didn't seem out of the ordinary--no one objected. I guess racism is the norm there."

The same strategy was tried at Tea Party rallies. A lefty would show up with a racist sign, and try to get photographed standing next to someone who was smiling (and who obviously had not seen the sign.) This kind of thing was enough evidence for many liberals to be able to label the Tea Party as a racist movement because it "condoned" racist signs.

Saint Croix said...

In the movie Pittsburgh, which is easily the funniest thing Jeff Goldblum has ever done, Moby plays himself. But he's totally a Moby as he's also pretending to be a sex addict. It's pretty funny.

Kirk Parker said...

Freder,

I've maintained since day one that our friend C4 is a false flag operation.

Kirk Parker said...

"You could tell your other guests 'we need to learn how to deal with such people'"

That's clearly the right approach--what a perfect Teaching Moment™! We all get a little exercise, Mr. Naked Spitter is outside freezing in the dark where he belongs, and the party goes on. What's not to like?

Pastafarian said...

Kirk, if Cedarford is a moby, then his is the most elaborate in the history of the internet. He's been here for years and his philosophy, while at times vile, is quite logically consistent.

It would take a great deal of talent to build such an elaborate castle out of Bilderberger and Masonic conspiracy theories and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

I've appeared here as a moby; but no one spotted it. I thought I was so over-the-top that it was too obvious, but I guess the modern left is beyond parody.

ObamaNation said...

You know what's beyond parody? Your filthy sweaty loincloth, you fat hairy GWAR-looking bastard.

Freder Frederson said...


I challenge you to make sense.

It's kind of hard to make sense when the original post doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You pointed out that DCT's comment was "obviously" that of a Moby. Why so obvious?

I want to know what made you think DNC is a moby. You seem to conclude that because his post was so blatantly racist that it must be the work of a moby. Considering that you have never called Cedarford a moby, I was just wondering why DNC is "obviously" a moby while Cedarford is not. The only difference I can see between DNC's comments and many of Cedarford's is that Cedarford has been around here a long time.

And the "pass" is that you have never devoted a post to renouncing Cedarford, either as a moby or a racist Nazi. I don't even ever recall you telling Cedarford in a thread that he is a vile racist, that he should tone down his rhetoric, or that others should ignore him because he is so obviously a moby.

Freder Frederson said...

I've maintained since day one that our friend C4 is a false flag operation.

You may, but Ann apparently believes he is genuine.

Pastafarian said...

You know, Freder, Cedarford's policy positions on Israel align pretty well with those of the modern left.

They're not antisemites, just anti-zionists. There's a big difference, you know. One wants the Jews to be pushed into an oven, and the other wants the Jews to be pushed into the sea.

Freder Frederson said...

Evidence of this blantant racism you speak of? Put up or shut up.

I'll do the homework (which is really easy) when you provide the least shred of evidence of this vile libel--and it is libel in the legal sense, since you made the statement you know is false. (which of course Althouse will ignore):

But lets talk about this blog's obvious pedophiles. Freder and Jimspice are always push their kiddie porn sites here.

Freder Frederson said...

You know, Freder, Cedarford's policy positions on Israel align pretty well with those of the modern left.

What's your point. Even if true, it is his attitude about Jews (and Blacks, Europeans, Arabs and others) in general that makes him a racist, not his opinions on a very complicated foreign affairs policy.

Pastafarian said...

Holy shit, Freder. I had no idea you were such a sick, twisted son-of-a-bitch.

Oh, wait, you mean someone made an unfounded reputation-destroying accusation against you without linking to evidence? That's awful. Like calling someone a racist, just out of the blue.

Particularly someone like DBQ, not even here, and not even close to racist.

I feel really bad for you, Freder.

Pastafarian said...

Yes, it's his attitude. He doesn't want to push them into the sea for the right reasons, like you do.

Fen said...

Freder: I'll do the homework (which is really easy) when -

Yah right. Sure you will.

Freder Frederson said...

Particularly someone like DBQ, not even here, and not even close to racist.

You're right, perhaps I was a little hard on DBQ calling her a racist. I think she hates and fears everybody, regardless of race, creed or religion. I always picture DBQ sitting on her porch with a shotgun across her lap screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off her lawn--and feverishly looking for wild animals that might harm her.

Fen said...

Too late. I readily admit that I'm provocative and cross the line on racial topics - mainly because I'm tired of all the hypocrisy and double standards. But you've discredited yourself by falsely accusing DBQ of racism.

And so causally, as if you dropped your fork on the floor.

Now go back to your NAMBLA site, sicko perv.

Original Mike said...

I've been reading DBQ for years and I think your assessment is ridiculous.

Patrick said...

"I always picture DBQ sitting on her porch with a shotgun across her lap screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off her lawn--and feverishly looking for wild animals that might harm her."

In other words, these are true in your imagination.

David said...

Well, great. Now I have to live in terror of being pranked by a Moby and looking like a fool. It's probably already happened numerous times. Now people will be looking for it. This makes me anxious, and threatens my self esteem. I feel almost . . . . . . violated.

David said...

Feder: I always picture DBQ sitting on her porch with a shotgun across her lap screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off her lawn--and feverishly looking for wild animals that might harm her.

Why not trot over to her house and see if you are correct. If she misses, give us a report.

Original Mike said...

"Why not trot over to her house and see if you are correct."

Gee, I hope I'm wrong about her.

crosspatch said...

"I was wondering the other day if right wing blogs had the equivalent of 'derailing' and 'concern trolls' that feminism and left wing blogs complain about."

Oh, HECK yeah. Saw a posting day before yesterday on another site where someone mentions that 88% of Mormons voted for Romney in Nevada. They said they didn't "mean to imply" anything by bringing it up, just thought it was "interesting". The post basically playing into the religious bigotry angle on a site where a lot of evangelical Republicans hang out.

CWJ said...

I like Robert Cook. I think he is a pragmatic lefty; a very rare breed indeed. Robert, were you the commenter who referenced The Kinks a week or so ago?

WV: oftspor, someone who should always know where the bathrooms are.

Robert Cook said...

CWJ said:

"I like Robert Cook. I think he is a pragmatic lefty; a very rare breed indeed. Robert, were you the commenter who referenced The Kinks a week or so ago?"

Why, thank you, CWJ, that's very nice thing for you to say. I'm NOT the person who referenced the Kinks, but I do like them. (I even saw them live back in 1975 or so...they were terrific!)

AJ Lynch said...

Libruls like Freder can't resist reaching for the race card. As a result, the race card is now worthless.

They ascribe belief in school choice, smaller govt, states rights, low taxes as proof of racism.

But most far left libruls are nuts-commenters like ZPR, Freder, Jeremy are proof of that. And Garbage Mahal is getting there too.

rcommal said...

DBQ does not suffer fools--or, dare I say it, those who display what she perceives as weakness much less playing the victim card--gladly. And she surely has little patience for P.C., and she does not mince her words, especially not to please or mollify (or even to qualify flat statements on some occasions where I, for example, might think she should--lol).

But racist? No. I don't buy it. I don't believe it, either. And I think he who dealt that charge ought prove it. Put up or shut up.

Original Mike said...

"Libruls like Freder can't resist reaching for the race card."

I don't think many of them consider it a ploy (i.e the race "card"). I think they actually believe it. Which speaks volumes about their narrowminded intolerance.

I chuckled when I read Freder's depiction of DBQ, because it's pretty close to my image of him.

AJ Lynch said...

I kinda picture DBQ on her porch too but she is wearing a pair of Daisy Dukes that still fit great, she is having a cool drink and she is making any male passerbys a bit hot & bothered.

CWJ said...

Note to our hostess, or Meade,, if they get this far down into the weeds. Dan Karipides has a point. I like his analogy. Its a good one. You pick the topics (very good ones), but your commentary on your blog is minimal, So you must admit that the substance of the blog is what the (dinner) guests bring to the table. So what should you do when commenters become simply disruptive? As someone who tends to come late to the party, its very disconcerting to have to scroll through dozens of ritmo, I heart, and freder, etc posts (and their replies) in order to see what other posters have to say. I'm not in favor of banning anyone, but I just wish I could hear what a lot of very intelligent people have to say without wearing hip boots.

Original Mike said...

"but I just wish I could hear what a lot of very intelligent people have to say without wearing hip boots."

I don't wade into a lot of threads at all, because of this.

garage mahal said...

"but I just wish I could hear what a lot of very intelligent people have to say without wearing hip boots."

The Trayvon Martin thread from today comes to mind.

Original Mike said...

Perfect example of one I said to myself, "Nah, I got better things to do."

Amy said...

Second, we all need to become as competent as possible as consumers of communication. Don't be naive. You need to detect these literary devices. Understand that writers/speakers have ulterior motives. I'm not going to clear out material that requires you to exercise your mental muscles. If you can't tell a moby when you see one, I'm not going to delete him: You need practice. If I see you responding to him as if he were sincere, it makes me sad. Where's your mental toughness? How will you be a competent citizen in the political arena where everyone's always more or less bullshitting?

AMEN!

We have lost the ability to use the written word effectively, and even more so the ability to read the written word effectively.

William said...

It is childishly easy for a moby, troll, or whatever to generate a lot of malice and ill will. It doesn't have to be done with subtlety or craft. It just has to be done......In an interview, I once heard Kirsten Bell point out that the good thing about looking like Kirsten Bell is that you can pass gas and nobody ever thinks it's you.

rcocean said...

Freder is a pedophile, that's what I've heard. I'm undecided, but where there's smoke there's fire.

Just sayin'

Ann Althouse said...

It's not my thing to tell commenters to "tone down their rhetoric." I have a free speech policy. So you have no basis to infer approval from noncensorship, Freder. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

The sad thing about the Liberal insistence that Conservatives must be innately evil is that it springs from a bedrock truth that the Progressive movement is as dead as Samuel Gompers. Without demonization, Progressives and their progeny don't really have an argument that wins in today's political climate.

When the only tools you have are a hammer and a stake, every problem starts looking like a vampire.

Joe Schmoe said...

We have lost the ability to use the written word effectively, and even more so the ability to read the written word effectively.

Meh. I don't like these kind of broad characterizations because they don't stand up to much scrutiny.

In the big picture, when was communication so much better? When we had so many fewer outlets for reading and writing? When Victorian English, with its excessively verbose prose and stilted dialogue, was all the rage? When religious and cultural norms were much more monolithic? I'd rather make my way in contemporary ambiguity than consistently bump up against rigid strictures.

In the smaller world of Althouse, I've read a lot of very effective writing on these threads. I've read, and written, some not-so-effective ones. I've gotten some obscure references, and some have flown high over my head. Lots of people are engaged, and sharing legitimate information and thoughts on a wide range of topics. I don't think we're as lost as you assert.

I ♥ Willard said...

So you're saying I Heart Willard...doesn't?

Oh, people are talking about me! Exciting! :D

Continue, please.

Freder Frederson said...

It's not my thing to tell commenters to "tone down their rhetoric." I have a free speech policy. So you have no basis to infer approval from noncensorship, Freder. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

And pray tell, how does telling someone to tone down their rhetoric infringe on anyone's free speech. You are certainly willing to call someone out when they cross one of your lines (any use of the "N" word will quickly bring down your wrath.)

And you are deliberately skirting the issue. I never said you advocated censorship or were against free speech. I merely pointed out you said DCT was "obviously" a moby without explaining why it was obvious. A lot of comments on this site are just as blatantly racist and homophobic as DCT's comment. Yet not only did you feel compelled to call DCT a moby in the original thread but it was so egregious you devoted an entire post to the subject.

I ♥ Willard said...

It's pointless to argue with someone who relies on an "it's obvious" statement instead of evidence.

gadfly said...

Then there is the moby who can infer the victim's intent without writing a single word.

"... the New York Times chose to run an unsmiling picture of Trayvon in a hoodie with the hood up next to a picture of George Zimmerman on the first page of an early article about this killing instead of the picture of Trayvon smiling which they ran on the second page of the article. (The online version of this article has been edited to only show the smiling Trayvon picture.)"

Original Mike said...

"A lot of comments on this site are just as blatantly racist and homophobic as DCT's comment.".

A lot? No, there are not. Which is probably where the verdict of "obvious" comes from. But I don't want to presume to speak for her.

Mark said...

"It's obvious" that a person who is paying attention can tell a cartoon from a photograph. DCT presents a cartoon. God help him, Cederford presents something much closer to a photo.

Freder, you present a photo of a hack. Not flattering.

shiloh said...

"Now, that's obviously a moby."

Obviously

My first thought was Poe's Law ie exaggerated parody of extremism which could apply to any political ideology or someone who is just frickin' bored! :-P

"Another precedent posted on Usenet dates to 2001. Following the well-known schema of Arthur Clarke's Third law, Alan Morgan wrote:

"Any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook."


As always, YMMV.

>

To be totally truthful, my first thought re: this thread was meaningless political minutiae, but I'm sure DCT, whoever the fuck he/she is, appreciates their own thread! :)

Chip S. said...

It's not hard to figure out who's a moby.

Just not as easy as figuring out who's a dick.

John Lynch said...

Ironic trolling is too easy. Like anything, it can be done well. But too often it's someone who thinks they are much smarter than they actually are trolling people who are even less smart than they think they are. Anyone can do it. The usual refusal of irony trolls to engage in a discussion gives it away- they're more concerned with appearing to be above the discussion than actually contributing to it.

It seems to me that posting something meaningful is better than pulling down everyone else. Proving that the internet is full of idiots is not much of an insight. Irony is more about proving who "gets it," than adding anything to the conversation.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I always picture DBQ sitting on her porch with a shotgun across her lap screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off her lawn--and feverishly looking for wild animals that might harm her.

That's just stupid.

I don't have a lawn.

:-D

ndspinelli said...

Why am I almost always deleted? Because I speak truth to power and touch some exposed nerves..that's why. You're a fucking fraud w/ this "free speech" meme. And, you're blog is reflecting this w/ decreased comments overall and from people who are tough. Tough people need not comment..all sycophants welcomed. eduthcher is the President of the Althouse Sycophant Society[ASS for short].

Ankur said...

I vehemently disagree with DBQ (and most others on this blog) on most policy issues, but she is no racist.

shiloh said...

"eduthcher is the President of the Althouse Sycophant Society[ASS for short]."

He's quite infatuated w/the blog madam as it's kinda endearing :-P er funny in a nauseating sorta way. His grade school crush is one of the many winger constants at this conservative circle jerk!

Weighing in on the DBQ spotlight, in her own words she is a top (5) Althouse conservative whiner, but not a racist.

About the worst thing you could say about DBQ she's annoying and redundant ie political bloggers in a nutshell.

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