Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Discourse Analysis

I contribute to the long-running blog Iraq Today, which used to be Today in Iraq. (We had to move due to a very weird episode involving a psychopath who accidentally was given administrative privileges. It kind of reminded me of an episode in my youth when, due to a psycho housemate, we all had to secretly organize to move out simultaneously on a Tuesday while Bob was at work.)

Anyway, as you may know if you've been frequenting the blogosphere for the past few years, there's no troll like a pro-war troll. They're kind of like soccer hooligans, and during the Emperor Chimpoleon the First administration, when they were all getting liquored up and breaking store windows to show their loyalty to their boy, policing the comments was a real chore. Things have settled down quite a bit since Americans have largely lost interest in Iraq and Afghanistan, which we also cover, but a couple of weeks ago we were subjected to an organized hack. We had haloscan commenting, which as you probably know has been bought out, and somehow in the transition the thugs managed to gain control over our commenting account. We were hammered for two weeks with a repulsive stream of obscenity, insanity, brutality and sheer depravity. I finally managed to solve the problem yesterday.

I enjoyed a brief spell of notoriety here once when I was named one of the top 50 science blogs and then posted on Blogs of Note. Wouldn't you know it, along came a howling mob of creationists and libertarians -- including self-proclaimed Christian libertarian creationists -- and I had to deal with a plague of identity theft, including commenters posting under my own identity; pro-Christian obscenities, insults and death threats; continual derailment of attempts at civil and rational discussion; and outright idiocy. I am pretty sure that a lot of those people were psychotic. Anyway, I had to ban a couple of them and eventually they all lost interest, which seems to happen. I notice that even Atrios lost most of his trolls by 2009. It's kind of sad in a way since I don't get many comments now. Trolls actually do gin up discussion, if nothing else.

The interesting observation is that there is a big and obvious difference between the discourse styles of the left and the right. Which ought to speak for itself. Any hypotheses as to why that is?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think the construct here is: "Misery loves company" matter what side you're on.

roger said...

the left seems to have a bit more of a sense of humor. who knows why.

C. Corax said...

The right has a sense of humor, but it tends to be adolescent.

Cervantes said...

I don't know about humor, but I think in general we aren't into doing whatever we can to shout down or derail rational discourse, demonize and bully opponents, and physically destroy channels of communication that carry messages we don't like. That's what I'm saying.