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    Jon Confronts The Troll

    June. 14st, '01
    I frequent a few discussion forums and every once in a while a troll will come in and have some fun by causing as much outrage and disruption as possible. I don't really mind this, I actually think it's very entertaining when it's done well. But too often the person is just being a loud mouthed jerk. No subtlety, no real humor value. Just mean and annoying.

    It happened rather spectacularly at Metafilter recently. An insulting, conservative poster became so rude and disruptive that he got banned from the place. Of course he just got a new username and continued doing his best to bait and annoy people.

    I decided I'd actually try and engage this asswipe in conversation. Why was he being such a jerk? Why was this so important to him? Why did he think he had the right to piss on something others enjoyed?

    Here's an example of a post that got him booted:

    "The left wing (short haired women, bed wetting liberals, uppity coloreds, flamboyant homosexuals, lazy mexicans, ) are always trying to bring down the great republicans like Lincoln and Reagan. You folks better thank sweet God in heaven, we republicans pull you off your drowning life-raft of liberalism."

    It's important to understand that Metafilter is a private website run by Matthew Haughey in his free time. The posted goal of the place is open, informed, and polite discussion. It's not Usenet. Rude behavior and personal attacks are frowned on.

    Here's a transcript of the email conversation. RightWinger's (Mike Allen) posts are in white. I've left the emails largely intact, so it might look a little odd. Just bear with me.


    Jon: I've been reading your drivel on Metafilter for some time now, and I'm just trying to understand why you feel this type of behavior is justified.

    Why are you willing to ruin something thousands of people enjoy everyday just so you can get some satisfaction in this tiny little corner of your life?

    Is this really that important to you?

    RightWinger: "I havent "ruined" anything, I simply offer a conservative opinion which gutless liberals like yourself and Matt cant stand to swallow. There's something call the first amendment in this country, if you dont like it get the fuck out of the country."

    Jon: "I simply offer a conservative opinion which gutless liberals like yourself and Matt cant stand to swallow."

    If it was that simple we wouldn't be having this conversation and you know it. It's the constant name calling, baiting, and inflammatory sound bites.

    I'm liberal on most issues, and I like a healthy debate as much as anybody. But there's a difference between debate and just calling people names and automatic gainsaying.

    I've been going through your posts and I haven't found one yet that seemed to move the discussion forward.

    "There's something call the first amendment in this country, if you dont like it get the fuck out of the country."

    I love this country and I have no intention of leaving.

    But we aren't talking about the first amendment. We're talking about you. Yes, certainly you have the right to say anything you want. I'm just wondering why you want to be so disruptive. Why do you insist on calling people names? I really get the impression from your posts that you enjoy being offensive. Why would we want to put up with that? Why should we toss you out?

    RightWinger: "Your leader the Fuehrer Matt "the pussy" Haughey has threatened to post my phone number and adddress (thats how gutless he is), and says there is no first amendment on Meta-Filter. I stand against everything he is for, including free speech. The fact you Metafilter people dont have a sense of humor isnt my problem."

    Jon: Well, now we're getting somewhere.

    "Your leader the Fuehrer Matt "the pussy" Haughey has threatened to post my phone number and adddress"

    Seems like a good idea to me. How else do you get rid of someone who insists on peeing on your things?

    "and says there is no first amendment on Meta-Filter."

    Well, it is his site. His code, his domain, his server. If you went to a party at his house he'd have every right to throw you out. Right? How is this different?

    "I stand against everything he is for, including free speech."

    I missed that part. I thought you were for free speech. What is it that he stands for that you object to? I'm really interested. This is one of the things I just don't understand here. Why is this such a big deal to you? I know about the liberal Nazi thing, but just what is it that you are so upset about?

    "The fact you Metafilter people dont have a sense of humor isnt my problem"

    But aren't you trying to piss them off? You call someone Adolf and then throw it in their face when they don't like it? Calling people names in a school-yard manner and then claiming they don't have a sense of humor is a little weak.

    RightWinger: "Hey Ive told Matt anytime he wants to come to Los Angeles and try to kick my ass Ill pay for his ticket. The difference between Matt and me is that I can tolerate all forms of dissenting opinion, he cant, he is against free speech and therefore a Nazi. As far the people on Metafilter not having a sense of humor I can only conclude there are alot of people out there with sticks up their asses."

    Jon: "The difference between Matt and me is that I can tolerate all forms of dissenting opinion, he cant,"

    But it's not the dissenting opinion that is the problem. I could look into the discussions you posted to and find plenty of conservative, and even anti-liberal, comments. The problem is the way you only taunt and name call.

    What are the opinions you think he's barring you for? Whenever this has come up, it seems to me that his problem has been the way your posts are offensive and disruptive.

    What am I missing here?

    "he is against free speech and therefore a Nazi."

    I don't see the connection. You know calling someone a Nazi is very inflammatory. And I still don't see how he's against free speech.

    "As far the people on Metafilter not having a sense of humor I can only conclude there are alot of people out there with sticks up their asses."

    Well this certainly might be true. But we seem to be able to have lots of interesting discussions anyway. But you're calling people Nazis and then claiming they don't have a sense of humor because they don't like that?

    I don't understand. You really think people should laugh when you call them a Nazi?

    RightWinger: "'I still don't see how he's against free speech'

    Jon, aks Matt yourself, he sent me an e-mail stating and I quote "There is no first amendment on metafilter" Thats being against free speech, that is a characteristic of a Nazi, which Matt clearly is."

    Jon: "Jon, aks Matt yourself,"

    Well, I don't need to ask him. He's said as much on Metafilter. Many times. But that's not what you're talking about.

    "quote "There is no first amendment on metafilter" Thats being against free speech,"

    Well, I suppose if you feel that the first amendment says you have the right to say *anything*, *any time*, in *any place*, then you might have a point.

    But the FACT is that this isn't the way the amendment works. Private property is still private. You know that. And even in public places your speech is limited. You'd get arrested if you went out into the middle of the street and started yelling at the top of your lungs.

    The first amendment isn't designed to force people to expose themselves to things they find offensive. No one is saying you can't say whatever you want, you just can't do it in Matt's site. That's the point. It's his. He owns it. And he doesn't like rude people. Are you really going to assert that you weren't rude on a frequent basis?

    As a liberal I didn't have a problem with any of the political contentions you were making, it was the way you said it. It was rude. Almost always. Why so rude? That's what I'm asking.

    "that is a characteristic of a Nazi, which Matt clearly is."

    I don't think that's the characteristic most people associate with Nazis. I think a better word to use would McCarthysim.

    RightWinger: "No, Matt is a Nazi, the Nazis did not allow disenting opinions. McCarthyism is accusing someone of being a member of the communist party. The posts I made on metafilter were conservative and they were funny. I never used any crude or obscene language which I see others do all the time on Metafilter (but they can get away with it because they are liberals). There is obviously a double standard, Matt is showing his true colors right now, he is a censor for the left, and he should state this on the banner of Metafilter. Matt is so afraid of my opinion he has threatened to publish my phone number, publish my adress on Metafilter, and contact my employers and try to get me fired from my job. These are truly the measures of a desperate and, yes, pathetic man who cannot tolerate the differing opinions of others. If you support Matt in his desperation, I suggest you look at your own life and try to identify what makes you so fearful of free speech."

    Jon: "No, Matt is a Nazi, the Nazis did not allow disenting opinions."

    Yes, but that's not what people think of when you call them a Nazi. You know this. They think of 6 million Jews dying. They think of the rape of Europe. They think of dictatorship.

    I guess I just don't feel like Matt banning you from his site is in any way comparable to the images evoked by the word "Nazi." The two things just seem to be in complete different realms.

    Now it seems to me, and I'm hoping you'll correct me if I'm wrong, that you are using this word to agitate and offend people. That's the issue. If you have a point to make, you certainly aren't going to make it by calling them a Nazi. If I'm wrong about this, I hope you'll help me understand how.

    "The posts I made on metafilter were conservative and they were funny."

    Conservative yes, but most were crude without being funny. Yes, this is just my opinion, but I think you "crossed the line" enough times that any claim to humor seems a bit lame. How is calling someone a Nazi ever funny?

    'The left wing (short haired women, bed wetting liberals, uppity coloreds, flamboyant homosexuals, lazy mexicans, )' ???

    How is this funny? It seems purely designed to offend people. Are you actually going to claim that this isn't offensive?

    "I never used any crude or obscene language which I see others do all the time on Metafilter"

    I would love to see an example of a liberal poster on Metafilter that is able to get away with something like this. Really. If Matt has a double standard here then I'll be happy to bring that to everyone's attention. But I truly can't think of an example. Help me out here.

    "he is a censor for the left, and he should state this on the banner of Metafilter."

    I personally have gotten into arguments with conservatives over many issues on Metafilter. These arguments are still there. They weren't censored. The difference is that these arguments were in the style of a discussion instead of just name calling and gainsaying.

    The purpose of the site is discussion. You know that. The fact that people on Metafilter find you rude and offensive doesn't mean that Matt is a censor. It means that we find you rude and offensive.

    "Matt is so afraid of my opinion he has threatened to publish my phone number, publish my adress on Metafilter, and contact my employers and try to get me fired from my job."

    Again, I think this seems completely reasonable. You're pissing on something that he's put his heart and soul into. You aren't just offending him, you're offending a lot of people.

    (I should point out that your posts aren't offending me personally. I have a very high threshold for that sort of thing. I just don't like the way you're trying to sabotage Metafilter.)

    "If you support Matt in his desperation, I suggest you look at your own life and try to identify what makes you so fearful of free speech."

    Well, again, I support free speech very strongly. What I don't support is you peeing on something that's Matt's personal property and something a lot of us value as a resource.

    I frequently look at my own life in a critical manner. If you feel there is something specific I should think about then I'll be happy to consider it. But I'm pretty sure my support of free speech is quite strong.

    RightWinger: "Matt is so afraid of my opinion he has threatened to publish my phone number, publish my adress on Metafilter, and contact my employers and try to get me fired from my job."

    Again, I think this seems completely reasonable."

    LOL, sure its completely reasonable, for a psychotic personality.

    Jon: "LOL, sure its completely reasonable, for a psychotic personality."

    Well now I think you're just being silly. What have Matt or I done that's psychotic?

    RightWinger: ">> The left wing (short haired women, bed wetting liberals, uppity coloreds, flamboyant homosexuals, lazy mexicans, )" > How is this funny? It seems pure designed to offend
    > people. Are you actually going to claim that this
    > isn't offensive?

    Im going to claim it is an exaggerated viewpoint that is funny, similar to Archie Bunker on the classic series All in the Family, one of the highest rated shows in TV history"

    Jon: "Im going to claim it is an exaggerated viewpoint that is funny, similar to Archie Bunker on the classic series All in the Family, one of the highest rated shows in TV history"

    Yes, but people were suppose to think of Archie Bunker as a bigoted idiot. That was the point of the character. The joke wasn't what he was saying, it was Archie himself. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way.

    I've heard Carol O'Connor talk about this. He tried to play the character as an extremist idiot.

    I'm confused again. You think it's funny to say bigoted and racist things?

    RightWinger: "I would love to see an example of a liberal poster on Metafilter that is able to get away with something like this."

    If you cant think of an example, then you dont read the site very often, the term "asshole" ss is used with quite frequency. One would have to say many of the metephilters members have such a reliance on this word they are stuck in the "anal" phase of social development according to Freud. Including Matt, he's called me an "Asshole" several time in e-mails."

    Jon: "If you cant think of an example, then you dont read the site very often,"

    Every day for a year and a half now. Just for the record.

    "the term "asshole" ss is used with quite frequency."

    The numbers would tend to refute that point. Searching, I find 174 comments containing the word "asshole" out of about 95,000 total comments. That's a pretty tiny percentage. And I'll bet if you looked at them individually you'd find that many of them aren't liberals calling conservatives assholes.

    Again, I'm just finding your argument a little weak here.

    "Including Matt, he's called me an "Asshole" several time in e-mails."

    But you are an asshole. At least to Matt. Aren't you? I mean, you might be a really nice guy, but you *are* being a jerk to Matt. I felt you were doing it on purpose. Am I missing something here?

    RightWinger: "I personally have gotten into arguments with conservatives over many issues on Metafilter."

    No you havent, youve gotten in arguements with moderates, please dont even try to hold Aaron or Dreama up as examples of conservatives."

    Jon: "No you havent, youve gotten in arguements with moderates, please dont even try to hold Aaron or Dreama up as examples of conservatives."

    Hmmmm...... Well you might know about that better than I. But I thought they were conservatives. And so did Matt. So did they.

    RightWinger: "What have Matt or I done that's psychotic?"

    Threatening to publish my personal address and phone number on the internet, and also threatening to get me fired from my job (all because I express my opinion) is severe over-reaction, anti-social behavior bordering on psychotic by any determination of psychological reasoning."

    Jon: "Threatening to [snip] is severe over-reaction, anti-social behavior bordering on psychotic by any determination of psychological reasoning."

    I think you have a liberal (no pun intended) interpretation of the word psychotic. For me it connotes uncontrolled, insane, and violent behavior.

    What Matt's doing just seems like self defense. A little too "tit for tat" for my tastes, but you've pushed him to it. You're being disruptive. What alternative does he have?

    RightWinger: "The joke wasn't what he was saying, it was Archie himself. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way."

    (ACTUALLY I DID MEAN IT THAT WAY, IT WAS SO EXTREME SURELY THE AVERAGE READER COULD DISCERN, OR DID I OVER-ESTIMATE THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE METAFILTER READERSHIP AGAIN?)

    "I'm confused again. You think it's funny to say bigoted and racist things?"

    (IN CERTAIN CONTEXTS I THINK IT IS EXTREMELY FUNNY TO SAY BIGOTED AND RACIST THINGS, RENT CHRIS ROCK'S VIDEO "FEEL THE PAIN" WHICH WON AN EMMY, IT IS FULL OF BIGOTRY AGAINST BOTH BLACKS AND WHITES)"

    Jon: "(ACTUALLY I DID MEAN IT THAT WAY, IT WAS SO EXTREME SURELY THE AVERAGE READER COULD DISCERN, OR DID I OVER-ESTIMATE THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE METAFILTER READERSHIP AGAIN?)"

    See, maybe I'm not saying this well. People were suppose to laugh at Archie Bunker because he was being stupid. I'm sure you don't say bigoted things in hopes that we will think you're stupid.

    "(IN CERTAIN CONTEXTS I THINK IT IS EXTREMELY FUNNY TO SAY BIGOTED AND RACIST THINGS, RENT CHRIS ROCK'S VIDEO "FEEL THE PAIN" WHICH WON AN EMMY, IT IS FULL OF BIGOTRY AGAINST BOTH BLACKS AND WHITES)"

    I feel pretty certain that if Chris Rock tried to engage Metafilter in a political debate using the same type of "rhetoric" he uses in his stage show, he'd get banned as well.

    We aren't talking about some comedy routine you might have. We're talking about your posts in a discussion forum. I don't understand why you would want to defend the things you posted by comparing them to two comedy acts. I'm sure you see the difference here.

    RightWinger: "Searching I find 174 comments containing the word "asshole" out of about 95,000 total comments."

    Jon, no offense, but if you are actually keep statistics on Metafilter to that degree, I think you need to get outside more often.

    As far as Matt is concerned I have never "gone after him" personally, I have simply posted comments that were meant to be funny, but as the old adage goes "You can't teach the unfunny whats funny" Never more true as in this case."

    Jon: "Jon, no offense, but if you are actually keep statistics on Metafilter to that degree, I think you need to get outside more often."

    None taken. I get this a lot. But actually I get out rather often. Last weekend I went to the Temecula Wine & Balloon Festival, the Art Fair in La Jolla, The Indain fair in Balboa Park, The SD Zoo, and even found time to see a movie.

    I typically find that I get out more than people who tell me I need to get out more.

    Once again, all you are doing is name calling. This isn't meant to be anything but childish. You don't really consider this clever do you?

    "As far as Matt is concerned I have never "gone after him" personally,"

    'self-righteous left wing politically correct little prick who cant take a fucking joke on your precious site' ?????

    You didn't write that? That's a personal attack. You know it and so does everyone else.

    "I have simply posted comments that were meant to be funny,"

    I don't believe you.

    'youre a bigot against christians, Adolph! Get offf the planet!' ?????

    This is my point. It's not funny. It's not clever. It's not persuasive, logical, or even accurate. It's just load mouthed name calling. Why should people be forced to read things like this?

    I don't believe you. You don't think this is funny. You're trying to trying to get into a fight here. If you tried saying the things you posted in a bar somewhere you'd get thrown out or beat up.

    Some of your posts are reasonable, many are offensive, but none of them are constructive or well thought out. How is the above quote intended to advance the discussion? Why should people have to read this?

    "but as the old adage goes 'You can't teach the unfunny whats funny'"

    Well, that's what I don't understand. people laugh at my jokes all the time. I enjoy going to comedies. I feel like I enjoy and understand humor. But I don't understand how what you were doing is funny. It might have been funny to use such words in grade school, just for the shock value. But we're older than that now.

    If you want to participate in an adult discussion, then you need to rise above simple boorish outbursts. All of the topics you posted in were serious discussions of political and social issues.

    RightWinger: "Youre willing to defend any strange and unusual aspect of Matt's behavior, so our conversation regarding Matt is obviously at a stalemate. Im a psychology major and I can tell you Matt's behavior is not normal on several levels. He is beyond overreactive (threatening to publish my address, phone number and get me fired), appears to have a God complex (when it comes to the web site), and is paranoid in many respects (I'm out to get him). If you want to do Matt some good, encourage him to seek therapy."

    Jon: "Youre willing to defend any strange and unusual aspect of Matt's behavior, so our conversation regarding Matt is obviously at a stalemate."

    No. This just isn't true.

    I've publicly disagreed with Matt on Metafilter. In one case I even told him that he was being unfair and should be ashamed of himself. When I disagree with Matt I'm perfectly happy for everyone to know that.

    It just happens that is this case I feel he was right to ban you. And in response you tried to make his life difficult. I think you're being a jerk. I think you're being unreasonable.

    "Im a psychology major and I can tell you Matt's behavior is not normal on several levels."

    Well, it wasn't my *major*, but I did take several psych classes in college. I really have to disagree with your diagnosis. In fact I think this is just another bombastic outburst that doesn't hold water on any level.

    Lashing out wildly like this isn't helping your credibility any.

    "He is beyond overreactive (threatening to publish my address, phone number and get me fired),"

    Many people asked. People are clamoring to get this info. But he still hasn't given it out. As for getting you fired, I think he's run out of other options. He just wants you to leave him, and his site alone. You refuse to do that.

    Everyone supports him in this.

    Mr Allen, the problem isn't Matt, it's you. You are causing these things. You could make it stop at any time. But instead you just keep pushing. Matt didn't pick you out randomly and start harassing you. If you'd stop trying to annoy him he's be more than happy to forget all about you.

    You know this.

    "If you want to do Matt some good, encourage him to seek therapy."

    He seems fine to me. Really. But you are starting to seem a bit irrational. When I wrote my first email I was under the impression that you were just a jerk, but now I wondering if you might not actually believe this silliness.

    RightWinger: "If anything I admire your persistence and your tenacious ability. Regarding my posts, some of them were meant to be funny and some of them (the anti-abortion ones in particular) were meant to be serious. Regarding the humorous posts, I truly believe you cannot teach the unfunny how to be funny. Judging from the reaction on Metafilter, the majority are unfunny people. So Ill continue to move from job to job getting a new computer each time and Matt will continue to ban me from the site over and over. I suppose eventually one of us will stop."

    Jon: "If anything I admire your persistence and your tenacious ability."

    Yep. I'm a fuckin' machine. I mean...... I'm a fuckin' persistence machine. Not a sex-type machine. Although I am. At least my girlfriend says so.

    Whatever. We weren't talking about me, we were talking about you and your insistence on the reasonableness of your rude behavior.

    My contention is that you are being unfair.

    "Regarding my posts, some of them were meant to be funny and some of them (the anti-abortion ones in particular) were meant to be serious."

    Ahhhh. Now we can get back to the meat of the matter.

    1) Adding to a discussion by describing liberals as "short haired women, uppity coloreds, flamboyant homosexuals, lazy Mexicans" is not taken as humor. It blatantly racist and inflammatory. This statement isn't designed to make people laugh. It's designed to offend.

    "uppity coloreds" ???? You think that's funny?

    2) I tell you what. Try this. Go to ten people in your office and ask them if they think this is funny or offensive: "The Left Wing is made up of short haired women, bed wetting liberals, uppity coloreds, flamboyant homosexuals, and lazy Mexicans."

    Come back when you have the poll results. Funny or offensive?

    3) And the anti-abortion posts? (I'm pro-life, just so you don't need to speculate about that)

    "If you weren't ready to have a child, you and your girllfriend shouldn't have been having sex to begin with, you see Skot, children are a by product of sex, ever heard of that? You and your girlfriend could haveeasily placed the child up for adoption, but that was apparently too inconvinient for you both, God forbid it take 9 months out of your self-consuming lives."

    This is not a serious argument. It's name calling. It's patronizing. It's rude. It's not an impassioned attempt to convince someone that abortion is wrong. It's just a put down. If you feel strongly about abortion then you should try and convince people that it's wrong. All you are doing here is being rude.

    "Regarding the humorous posts, I truly believe you cannot teach the unfunny how to be funny."

    Again the facts just don't support your side of the story.

    I just did a check on the Metafilter homepage. Out of 21 posts, 13 are either to humorous topics or presented in a humorous vein. Which is sort of what I expected. One of the reasons I love Metafilter is for the humor.

    Again, it's you. Your posts here aren't funny. They're rude and offensive. Dude, it's you.

    "So Ill continue to move from job to job getting a new computer each time and Matt will continue to ban me from the site over and over."

    And you think of this as reasonable, responsible, mature behavior? Or are you willing to admit that you got your feelings hurt and you're just being petty?

    RightWinger: "The bottom with Metafiler is, no one there has a sense of humor. What sad lives they must lead."

    Jon: Again with the name calling. Why do you always argue this way? Not only is it not true, it's just petty and silly.

    I'm writing to you to find out why you are acting this way, and to try and convince you that you should be more mature, and you continue to just cast silly aspersions. Why? I assume you feel like you're doing the right thing. Just explain to me how this is justified.

    RightWinger: "'uppity coloreds' ???? You think that's funny?"

    YES, AS A MATTER OF FACT I THINK ITS HYSTERICALLY FUNNY, AS WAS THE WHOLE SENTENCE.

    "I tell you what. Try this. Go to ten people in your office and ask them if they think this is funny"

    UNFORTUNANTELY I AM WORKING AT AN EXTREME LEFT WING INDEPEDENT NEWSPAPER IN LOS ANGELES, AND CONDUCTING THAT KIND OF SURVEY EVEN IN JEST WOULD GET ME FIRE, I.E., THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. IF I SURVEYED NORMAL PEOPLE, THEY WOULD THINK ITS FUNNY.

    "If you weren't ready to have a child, you and your girllfriend shouldn't have been having sex to begin with, you see Skot, children are a by product of sex, ever heard of that? You and your girlfriend could haveeasily placed the child up for adoption, but that was apparently too inconvinient for you both, God forbid it take 9 months out of your self-consuming lives."

    AHH ONE OF MY CLASSIC POSTS, IT WAS IN RESPONSE TO SKOT AND THE GREAT "AGONY" HE AND HIS GIRLFRIEND WHO "BOTH LOVED KIDS" WENT THROUGH BEFORE THEY KILLED THEIR UNBORN CHILD. I THINK MY RESPONSE WAS APPROPRIATE. ALTHOUGH I SHOULD HAVE ADDED A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE "AGONY" THE UNBORN CHILD WOULD GO THROUGH DURING THE ABORTION PROCEDURE.

    "I just did a check on the Metafilter homepage. Out of 21 posts, 13......"

    IF THATS SO, YOU PROBABLY THINK ROSIE O'DONNELL IS FUNNY.

    "Or are you willing to admit that you got your feelings hurt and you're just being petty?"

    OF COURSE IM BEING PETTY, THATS ONE OF MY MOST ATTRACTIVE CHARACTERISTICS... MY PETTINESS."

    Jon: "'uppity coloreds' ???? You think that's funny?

    YES, AS A MATTER OF FACT I THINK ITS HYSTERICALLY FUNNY, AS WAS THE WHOLE SENTENCE."

    Well, my point is that the vast majority of people think this is offensive. If it's just you laughing and everyone else is offended, then why should we be forced to tolerate that? The fact that you think it's funny isn't really relevant in this context.

    If you are saying things that you think are funny, but you know everyone else will be offended by it then that's rude. Right? And if all you are doing is being rude, then why shouldn't Matt kick you out?

    How does the first amendment force people to put up with offensive behavior in a private place? Do you really think the first amendment allows you to be a jerk anywhere and any time you want?

    "UNFORTUNANTELY I AM WORKING AT AN EXTREME LEFT WING INDEPEDENT NEWSPAPER IN LOS ANGELES, AND CONDUCTING THAT KIND OF SURVEY EVEN IN JEST WOULD GET ME FIRE,"

    Right. And acting the way you did in Metafilter will get you banned. That's the way the world is. People don't like being around obnoxious bigots. At least not where you work, or at Metafilter.

    Do you not understand why you got banned?

    (That wouldn't happen to be the LA Weekly would it? I used to read that when I lived in Orange County. I didn't think it was extremely left wing.)

    "THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. IF I SURVEYED NORMAL PEOPLE, THEY WOULD THINK ITS FUNNY."

    And where would one find people like that? Go to church and ask people there. Go to a the Mall, go to the beach. I'll bet you get punched.

    "'If you weren't ready to have a child.........'

    AHH ONE OF MY CLASSIC POSTS, IT WAS IN RESPONSE TO SKOT AND THE GREAT "AGONY" HE AND HIS GIRLFRIEND WHO "BOTH LOVED KIDS" WENT THROUGH BEFORE THEY KILLED THEIR UNBORN CHILD."

    This is sarcasm. It's a put down. It's not meant to be serious. If you feel seriously about abortion, why trivialize it with sarcasm like this? How is being mean to someone suppose to make people want to listen to what you have to say? Don't you expect it to have just the opposite effect?

    "IF THATS SO, YOU PROBABLY THINK ROSIE O'DONNELL IS FUNNY."

    No. I find her boring, pathetic and insipid.

    "OF COURSE IM BEING PETTY, THATS ONE OF MY MOST ATTRACTIVE CHARACTERISTICS... MY PETTINESS."

    Well, most people on Metafilter think that your pettiness is very annoying and disruptive. We don't like it. We want to have discussions without childish, pointless trolling.

    Do you think it's your *right* to act like this in a private forum?

    RightWinger: "How is saying people on Meta_Filter have no sense of humor "name calling?" Its just a fact, The people on Meta filter are uptight with no sense of humor. I try to lighten up the mood a little and I get banned. I think my jokes on race and liberals are funny, if other people dont think so, thats not my problem. I entertain myself."

    Jon: "How is saying people on Meta_Filter have no sense of humor 'name calling?'"

    I was referring to the "What sad lives they must lead" thing actually. It's not factual, and it's clearing meant to be an insult. Isn't it.

    "I think my jokes on race and liberals are funny, if other people dont think so, thats not my problem."

    No. It's your problem. Alienating yourself from the mainstream of American society may give you some satisfaction, but that doesn't make it right, and it doesn't mean we have to tolerate it. If you are knowingly offending people and you make no effort to be less acerbic, then we have every right to exclude you.

    The thing I don't understand is that you don't like people at Metafilter and yet you seem very upset that they won't let you join in the discussions there.

    "I entertain myself."

    At the expense of others. This isn't the way polite people behave. If everyone around you acted this way you'd be justifiably outraged.

    If everyone around you entertained themselves by being mean to you, would be defend this behavior as "free speech"? Like it or not we all have to live in this world together. The only way it will tolerable is if we all make an effort to not be insulting.

    I'm not saying you need to be a goodie-two-shoes, just not go through life being mean on purpose.

    You've made your point - you feel Matt isn't being fair and that your rights are being violated. But no one seems to agree with you. How long are you going to continue this crusade with the full knowledge that you are wrong?

    RightWinger: "Jon, the bottom line if I see a chance to be funny on Metafilter or anywhere else, Im going to be funny, and I really dont care if anyone else finds it funny. Im really not going for the consensus laughs. I dont care if people hate me for it think Im racist, homophobic, etc... As long as I think it's funny, Im going to say it, even if Matt Howie doesnt like it. Same thing with my serious posts, Im not going for popularity. As George Carlin once said 'If people dont get up and walk out of my show, then Im not doing my job.'"

    Jon: "Jon, the bottom line if I see a chance to be funny on Metafilter or anywhere else, Im going to be funny, and I really dont care if anyone else finds it funny."

    Well good for you. But you do understand that Metafilter is a privately owned site don't you? Just like your employer has the right to fire you if you annoy everyone, Matt has the right to ban you if you become offensive.

    Is there some disagreement here? Do you think Matt isn't completely within his rights to ban you? And he didn't do it in a vacuum, this was discussed openly. Everyone agreed they didn't want you around. Everyone.

    "Im really not going for the consensus laughs. I dont care if people hate me for it think Im racist, homophobic, etc..."

    Well, of course. I think that goes without saying. And I applaud you for trying to swim upstream on this. Your confidence in the face of blanket condemnation is admirable. But that's not really what I'm talking about.

    The problem lies in your insistence that we all be forced to stand by and listen. You're coming into *our* discussion and being racist, homophobic, etc. Why should we *have* to tolerate that?

    "As George Carlin once said 'If people dont get up and walk out of my show, then Im not doing my job.'"

    Please don't compare yourself to George Carlin. Are you serious? George Carlin is funny. George Carlin is cleaver.You're just annoying and mean. Everyone says so.

    RightWinger: "Your intentions are honorable and sincere. Anyone who would e-mail with me all day about me can't be bad. I think my sense of humor differs from the average meta-filter member to say the least, and thats okay with me, too bad its not okay with Matt, cause Ill always be lurking around LOL"

    Jon: "Your intentions are honorable and sincere."

    I'm afraid you are incorrect about that. I'm not a good person. I've frequently been accused of being evil. Any speculations as to my intentions would be presumptuous.

    Suffice it to say that I don't like you, I feel you should be savagely beaten, and I feel the world is lacking because you won't be. Unfortunately it looks like there won't be any repercussions for your juvenile and offensive behavior. That's life.

    But I still want to understand why you *want* to be a jerk. At first I thought you were just trying to strike back because of some hurt feelings. Then it seemed like you actually believed your rights were being violated. Now it seems you just like annoying people.

    It is really just the attention you crave? You are mean so that people will notice you?

    "too bad its not okay with Matt, cause Ill always be lurking around LOL"

    Yes, you and many others. But how is it a good thing? Why is it something you feel you need to do? Why are you driven to be such a jerk to people?

    RightWinger: "I honestly dont see it as being a jerk, if I were being a jerk I would be much worse, believe me. Im just being funny, Im a misunderstood genius, Jon. Someday you'll come and thank me!"

    Jon: "I honestly dont see it as being a jerk, if I were being a jerk I would be much worse, believe me."

    Coming into a discussion forum that you feel is very "left wing" and then tossing out short racist, homophobic, and pro-life comments is being a jerk. I'm not just accusing you of being a jerk, I've been very careful to give specific examples. I've done this over and over.

    "Im just being funny, Im a misunderstood genius, Jon. Someday you'll come and thank me!"

    Thank you for what? Being a pest? Making people angry?

    I'm not doing this on a whim. I've thought about it. I've thought about you. And the conclusion I've come to is that either you don't understand how non-funny this is, or you really like being mean.

    And of course you aren't misunderstood. You know that's not true. I cut my teeth on Usenet son. You have a long way to go before you'll be any good at being a troll.

    Is that it? You're just trolling? I find that hard to believe. Petty I can believe. Racist I can believe.

    RightWinger: "Well, its been fun chatting with you today about one of my favorite subjects... me. Just kidding Im not that self-centered, or maybe I am. I have to leave and go to school now, Im in a psychology class and I have 2 exams to take. Have a nice evening... and look for me to pop up again on Meta-filter sometime."

    You can comment on this item here.


    And on to part II




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