Attention “a fan”

  By Shamus   Jun 9, 2009   31 comments

To the ankle-biting troll who posts here under the moniker of “a fan”:

You are no such thing. You have left a couple dozen comments on this site now, and every. single. one. has been argumentative, personally insulting, or both. Is this some kind of strange social experiment where you try to see how rude you can be to someone as long as you pretend to like them? Or do you just need something to bitch about? I’ve been a good sport about it up until now, but you’ve officially worn out your welcome. You will now have to hate my site at a distance, because you’re not welcome. Go bother someone else.

I’m posting this publicly because this has happened before and I just let the malcontents heap bile on me out of some misguided sense of being a “fair moderator”. I’ve since realized that no good can come from this. I’ll link back to this post if the problem arises again.

Life is too short to spend it reading hate mail.

201131 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Jericho says:

    I feel for you, but you just fed the troll in the worst way :S

    Anyways, banhammer most feel good! Let him pollute some other blog.

  2. Anachronist says:

    It’s sad that things got to the point where you had to give one miscreant undeserved attention by dedicating an entire blog entry to him.

    I’m unfamiliar with blogging software. Obviously you can delete inappropriate posts, but I have wondered, does the software you use identify the IP address of a poster and also let you ban IP address ranges? Can problem children be treated like spammers somehow?

    • Shamus says:

      Anachronist: Yes, WordPress gives lots of tools for making people go away. You can block IP’s, auto-moderate IP’s, block or moderate based on text or names, etc.

      Of course, a determined person can still post if they set their mind to it. Changing your name often and using proxies can go a long way, but that’s more work for the harasser than for the mod, which gets the momentum going the right way.

      I wanted to announce this so I can refer back to it the NEXT time someone wants to spend a few days enumerating all the ways in which I am stupid and wrong, and to sort of make public the notion that I don’t consider constant complaints and nitpicks “constructive criticism”.

  3. Schmidt says:

    1.) Get one of these:
    http://hackedgadgets.com/2007/05/15/spamtrap-print-and-shred-spams-automatically/

    2.) Then convert it into a hate mail equivalent.

    3.) ???

    4.) PROFIT

    I say this not to be snarky, but that if you could create something like this for the purpose of Hate Mail Denial (HMD), it would be the closest we get to actually strangling the morons over the internet.

    On that note, I propose that we create Datajacks quickly, so physical retribution over the internet becomes possible.

    And, as you are likely still seething into your coffee about this nincompoop, a video about a dancing bird, which never fails to amuse me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJOZp2ZftCw

    Enjoy.

  4. Maldeus says:

    That’s right, Shamus! Don’t put up with that kind of hate anymore! Stick it to the fan!

  5. Jeremiah says:

    *insert joke about the shit hitting the fan*

  6. Kleedrac says:

    Wow … this almost makes me feel bad about complaining about the L4D comics :P … but of course I thought I made it quite clear that that was a taste issue, there’s nothing bad about this site. Just things I enjoy reading and things I don’t … as with everything else on the planet (and especially interweb) your milage may vary ;)

  7. Chris says:

    I don’t usually read the comments that carefully so I never noticed him, or any other trolls, before. In my experience the comments here are usually very civilized. So I did a search and the only negative comments I can find are loudly complaining about his dislike of Stolen Pixels. I guess you deleted most of the negative ones? Was he only recently becoming negative?

    Perhaps he’s a comment sockpuppet?

  8. Al Shiney says:

    For the record, “ankle biting troll” has always been one of my personal favorite phrases. :)

  9. Yar Kramer says:

    … okay, for some reason I needed to View Source in order to read Jeremiah’s comment, but it was an awesome one.

    Hmm. I keep toying with the idea of using WordPress or Drupal or some such thing, specifically for that kind of “damage control”; trouble is, I’d want to do it in a particular type of tree structure, and I’m not quite sure how I’d do that or if it’s even possible to do so.

  10. kleer001 says:

    Don’t feed the troll!

  11. Groboclown says:

    For some reason, this inspires me to quote the (shudder) Golden Girls: “You’re a furry little gnome, and we feed you too much.”

  12. T-Boy says:

    You know, subjecting trolls to disemvoweling or (even better) comedy filters (i.e. Swedish Chef, l33t, Elmer Fudd) seems to work for me very, very well.

    One cannot take a poster seriously if he keeps saying, “bork bork bork!”

  13. Jennifer says:

    Good for you, Shamus. There’s no reason why you should provide a forum for your detractors.

  14. Nick says:

    Just curious…. can we see one of these posts?

    I’m all in favor of letting the site owner moderate or do whatever the heck he wants on his site, but now I’m curious what got Shamus all riled up.

  15. Flunkmaster Chex says:

    I never said I was a fan.

  16. Sharnuo says:

    Cool.

  17. Nathon says:

    Wow, disemvowel is a great word…*hack hack*…and now you can any text!

  18. Marmot says:

    So far I’ve been (un)lucky enough to receive tons of hate mail from a bully/player at a D&D board and death threats from a psychopath living a few block from me.
    Assuming that you haven’t had troubles with something like that so far, I hope you’ll remain lucky to not receive anything worse than the stuff you’ve seen so far. :)

  19. Pocket Nerd says:

    Don’t worry about being “fair.” This is your site, paid for by your money, maintained by your efforts, and furnished with content by your writing. “Fairness” does not include an obligation to let strangers come in and crap it up.

  20. Henebry says:

    I had noticed that guy at least once, and was struck by how rude he was being toward someone who’d spent hours creating a comic in the hope of entertaining him and other readers.

    Glad to hear you took action, Shamus.

  21. Anachronist says:

    Schmidt: That dancing parrot video is worth the look. I broke out in a chuckle a few times.

    Nathon: I can’t get your disemvoweller to work.

  22. Nathon says:

    Anachronist: Type in the field and click the button?

    Boy do I feel like a yokel. I didn’t realize that disemvoweling wasn’t new. There’s even a wikipedia article on it.

  23. BaCoN says:

    As a troll(albeit, one that works for the ‘greater good’ of the internet), I can assure you, this is good press for him. But I haven’t seen any of his posts, so I imagine you’ve simply removed them all, which is good on you. Keeping a troll down and out is the best way to handle it, instead of just letting him set fire to everything, assuming that he’ll “change” and “accept that his ways aren’t wanted”, which rarely works, if ever.

    Also, I’m not sure what to think of L4D2. I just want my Episode 3(or Half Life 3, if that’s what it comes down to. Ooh, ooh, or Portal 2! Or The Half-Life/Portal cross-over! Oh god I want so many things.)… ahem.

  24. OddlucK says:

    OddtrolL smash puny bjorking filters and bjork all over the bjorking bjork!!!

    BJORK IT!!!

    Also, when will Bjork come out with another bjorking album? Hmmm…

    As to He Who Trolls Most Flamingly, I say ban him if he bothers you that much. As you note, life’s too bjorking short to spend it allowing yourself to be abused on your own website.

    Thankfully, I’ve only rarely ever seen any comments in these threads that weren’t completely civil (and quite intelligent). Good on you for creating/encouraging that sort of atmosphere, here.

    –OddlucK

  25. J Greely says:

    I had a persistent troll who would post inane comments, then respond to them pretending to be me or other people, creating his own MPD flamewars. I ended up banning the entire class B network owned by the University of Arkansas, because he occasionally found a new public lab to abuse, and would reappear after months of absence. Now that I think about it, he must have flunked out by now, so I suppose I should let them back in…

    -j

  26. David V.S. says:

    > Is this some kind of strange social experiment where
    > you try to see how rude you can be to someone as
    > long as you pretend to like them?

    This is way off on a tangent, but your sentence reminded me of a quirk of Hebrew grammer that I’m sure will give a chuckle to at least one person in your family.

    A few times I’ve had to explain the Biblical Hebrew word pronounced “na”, usually as part of a sermon. It does not have any direct English translation.

    The word is said when someone with inferior status makes a request of someone with superior status. The way Biblical Hebrew grammar works, the request could be interpreted as an order. So the word “na” is used to add extra groveling.

    (A great example is Numbers 12:13. What Moses actually says is “Ayl na r’fa na la” — “God na heal na her”. He is so stricken he puts the na in between every other word!)

    It’s somewhat like “please”, but not really.

    The only similar dynamic of escaping rudeness with verbage that I know in English is an idiom from the South, by which an older woman may escape being considered rude while insulting someone: “…bless his heart.” As in, “His face is ugly as a pig, bless his heart.”

    Occasionally I consider making a parody of the “rude Southern matron” character in a MMORPG. But it just didn’t work in WoW. “There’s the second boss, the stupid ogre who causes us to fight each other, bless his heart.”

  27. Ritch says:

    It may be one of those fans that you see in those psycho movies.

    “I am your fan. I know what is best for you. You will listen to what I have to say. You were created to give me pleasure and amusement. Listen to meeeeeeeee~!”

    Good that you got rid of it when you did.

  28. bbot says:

    If only you allowed the <img> tag in comments, because this would be an excellent time to deploy the I trol u macro.

  29. LintMan says:

    I just looked through the past few entries and didn’t see any posts by “a fan” – were his posts deleted in addition to the ban?