The Care And Feeding Of Trolls

One of the things I cherish most about Wizbang — and what brought me back after my brief adventure as a “professional blogger” — is the community of commenters. It’s a huge factor in my enjoyment of blogging.

And while it might seem a bit ungrateful to those who “like” me, I find I pay more attention to those who disagree with me than those who often pat me on the back. I’d like to single out four of those “dissenters” for special attention, because they each bring different things to the party.

First up, one I wish would just go away. “BryanD” has been a long-time detractor here, and while he’s sometimes had good points, he had to cross the line.

“IThe real scandal though is the outsourcing of construction to China, knowledge of which could harsh the GOP/Dem interdependency multinational corporate freedom-to-niggerdom scheme, so you’re excused under rules of tactical bipartisanship.”

I told him that the use of that term was inappropriate, and told him I would change it to an alternative if he would offer one. If he didn’t like the ruling, I would ban him.

His response? That he had no fear of being banned, and would find ways around it.

So I banned him. And, as promised, he has found ways of getting past the banning. So, each and every time he does, I trash his comments and ban his latest IP. This has been going on for over a month, and I have no intention of stopping. He’s simply unwelcome here. Hell, I’ve got a bookmark set up to find his comments, and check it at least once a day.

I have no intention of changing my mind on that one. For one, BryanD hasn’t asked me to, so he seems content with the status quo.

Next up, there’s Lee Ward. Lee has a lengthy history at Wizbang. He started out as a commenter, but his frothing lunacy and abuse of the authors led to his being banned. Then, when we had our “noble experiment” of Wizbang Blue, he somehow ended up as one of the editors. That morphed to the point where he, through sheer bullying power, became the de facto “main editor” and started banning anyone who disagreed with him, proved him wrong, or in general made him look bad. (Ward being Ward, that’s not that hard to do.) His list of banned people grew to the point where it rivalled Little Green Footballs and, like LGF, became a badge of honor, and then the plug was pulled on Blue.

Months later, Lee Ward came slinking back here, still up to his old games — but without the power of controlling the conversation, he’s a flailing, impotent lout. That period of unfettered power deprived him of what little edge he had.

But I feel a bit of pity for the guy. I have publicly stated, several times, that I have no intention of banning him. I have even, in a sense, taken him under my wing — I’ve told my colleagues here at Wizbang that I would consider it a personal favor (cue “The Godfather” music here) if they didn’t ban him, either.

OK, that’s not true. I’m not motivated by pity. I’m motivated by malice.

I don’t like Lee Ward. I never have. I likely never will. And there’s a part of me that gets a vicious thrill out of smacking him around, of taking him on and taking him down, of hounding him with his own words and his own lies and his own hypocrisy. He’s like my own personal chew-toy. If I really felt pity for him, I’d ban him for his own good, grant him the slightest bit of dignity and let him tell himself (and others) that he “won” by forcing me to resort to my position of power and authority to silence him because I couldn’t beat him one-on-one.

But as I said, I don’t like him. And I’m not going to do him that favor. If he up and disappears (for good, not for just a day or two), it’ll be because he has finally admitted that he’s hopelessly outclassed here, that he is simply incapable of winning on his own merits.

To steal a line from one of my favorite movies, “Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up.”

No, it’s not very noble of me. I can live with it in this case.

Then there’s TinaS. TinaS first showed up on the scene as a “concern troll,” but she really wasn’t that good at it. I suspect it’s because pulling that stunt off requires a bit of skill at deception, and she lacks that skill. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se; we pay people to deceive us all the time, but we call them “actors” and “authors.”) She soon dropped that schtick and “came out” as a liberal, but an honest and thoughtful one. She’s also learned that not all conservatives (using the term loosely in my own case) are AmeriKKKan Talban and mouth-breathing RAAAAACISTS and whatever else the left likes to stereotype us. She’s also challenged us on some good points, and I hope she continues to stick around.

Finally, there’s JamesH. He’s another “honest” liberal. He’s been batted around and abused by some of the regulars (you know who you are), but he’s alternately shrugged it off and given as good as he gets. He also regularly catches me in errors and inconsistencies, and I appreciate that — admittedly, with a wince or two, but I know it’s good for me.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will anyway: JamesH has a lengthy and distinguished history with Wizbang, and has been around for longer and been far more significant here than most people realize. He’s changed and evolved over the years (is this your fourth ID, chum? I tried to keep track, but I might have forgotten one or two), but I’m quite proud to call him a “Friend Of Wizbang” and hope he’ll stick around even longer.

And no, let’s get one thing settled before it even starts: I’m not “JamesH.” We actually have been seen together, in public, once. And I might look him up again in a couple of months for lunch.

Oh, what the hell. If BryanD sees this article (and he seems to read Wizbang fairly regularly), I will NOT delete his comments out of hand on this thread. And I also hope Lee Ward chooses to grace us with his presence here, too.

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