Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Suppression of Switters

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. — Nietzsche

Utah is such a beautiful place – the diversity of landscape, and natural wonders is nearly unparalleled in the continental united states. Oddly enough, the diversity of political opinion is nearly as extreme – the same state that foists Bill Bennett, Orrin Hatch and Karl Rove on the American political system produced one of the only mayors with temerity enough to protest the president of the United States when he visited Salt Lake City (our very own Rocky Anderson ). The extremity of contrast is a little disorienting, and the polarization between the conservatives (the majority of which are members of the LDS church) and the liberals (a few of whom are also members of the majority faith, though most are made up of more pedestrian Catholics, Episcopalians, Unitarians and University educated folks. Utah is home to one of the most antagonistic college sports rivalries in the country as well – with BYU blue to the South, and U of U red to the north. Attending the University of Utah itself is an interesting exercise in culture clash, as over half the student body is LDS, and the vast majority of the faculty are gentiles from out of state (and the vast majority of tenured faculty have been around long enough for some real resentment of the political and cultural influence of the LDS church to take root and fester).

One plus, of course, is that it’s so easy to feel morally superior when surrounded by such obvious bigots and loons.

I grew up in Provo Utah which, despite the reputation of our State capitol, is actually the heart of the LDS church. My gradual alienation from Mormonism revolved around the rather obvious (and obviously distressing) examples of insanity that only an intolerant majority can produce. One of the seminary teachers affiliated with my high school gained a level or local stature, and notoriety, for his persuasive lectures about Satanism in modern music (seminary is voluntary religious instruction students can elect to enroll in, in lieu of a class period, tramping across the parking lot to a church-owned building and back again – or routinely using as an excuse to take a long lunch, or sleep in an extra hour). There were organized album-burnings at some of the local high schools – Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC were prominently featured. The cultural landscape would’ve been much more improved if they’d been burning Osmond albums.

Though Utah has stumbled a step or two out of the dark ages, there are still incredible examples of intolerance to be found. Utah has one of the most efficient (and, to local political figures, terrifying) lobbying groups in the country – the Utah branch of The Eagle Forum.

Their willingness to utilize their frighteningly efficient telephone tree (run by shriveled old conservative women, as nearly as I can tell) to bully state legislators and other elected officials is legendary. The Utah Eagle Forum is headed by Gayle Ruzicka – perhaps the most highly motivated brittle, intolerant and unpleasant person on the face of the planet.

When you live in Utah, as a member of the political minority, you become sensitized to intolerance. It becomes painfully (and repeatedly) obvious how the lack of dialogue and collaboration between the political parties damages the integrity of the political system. I’ve been horrified at the ease and rapidity with which the Republican majority, beginning with Gingrich, has been able to alienate and isolate the minority party. Even unlikely political figures from the past have voiced alarm at the utter lack of collegiality between members of opposing parties – cross-aisle collaboration is seen as evidence of disloyalty. Punishments are meted out if members vote against their party. In short, the integrity of our political system has been gravely undermined by the subjugation of broader national interests to narrow party politics.

So, I’m sensitive to the role dialogue between people of differing perspectives plays in facilitating more favorable outcomes. I’ve watched with horror as bigots of various stripes have successfully marginalized, then silenced contrary perspectives, and seen the withering effect of homogenized viewpoints where individual differences to disagree are not only not respected, but are actively condemned.

So I’ve been disheartened to see these elements active in liberal communities as well, most particularly at Daily Kos.

Satire has been a particularly potent form of social commentary for as long as people have been commenting on social interaction. It’s no accident that Jon Stewart (and now Adam Colbert) and Bill Maher are afforded a greater level of credibility than “more serious” journalists – satirists are afforded a degree of latitude we don’t allow more serious commentators. The same was true of court jesters – the jester had license to criticize even the king (so long as it was kept lighthearted). Even Utah has Saturday’s Voyeur.

And Kos has Switters. Or had Switters, anyway – he’s apparently been banned from posting.

I thought about making this a more academic piece – talking about the dynamics of coalition formation, the impact impermeable boundaries have on the qualities of/interactions between elements within the system contained therein, enantiodromia as a phenomena in today’s political system (creating enemies in the service of making us safer, for example), the importance of free speech from a systemic perspective, the perils of projection, or the ludicrous ineffectiveness of teachers who cannot comprehend a student’s perspective. But I won’t. I’d just like to invite the people who are most adament in their repression of ideas to take a long look in the mirror.

If you don’t recognize the person staring back at you, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the manner in which you respond to otherness. Please. The country (the world, really) can’t afford your arrogant disregard for people who don’t conform to your narrow view of what constitutes appropriate behavior, any more than we can afford the parallel intolerance of our current Republican leadership.

Lighten up, Kos. Even if you don’t get the jokes, or don’t appreciate the language, that doesn’t make Switters any less an artist, or serious commentator, than it made Geddy Lee a servant of the Devil, in mid-80’s Provo Utah. Don’t be the secular, Democratic analogue of Provo, Utah. The world deserves better of you.


topazz said...

Apparently we aren't the only ones who feel this way about dailykos

topazz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TenaciousK said...

Ha! My posting priveleges have finally come through at Kos! For a minute there, I was afraid I'd been preemptively banned.

TenaciousK said...

My adventure on DailyKos.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are tenacious, I'll give you that.

Your mistake, in my mind, was in conceding the legitimacy of censorship (in the KKK part of the thread). I would have said (something like): Yes, I would allow KKK propaganda. I'm not afraid of it.

You might also link them to one of Col. BullKurtz's posts. That would make their hair turn white.


botfeditor said...


Anonymous said...

Uh, Hi. Good answer to that self-important twit. ;)

They won't let me in at DailyKos. I find this hysterical. I guess I've mentioned my voter registration card too many times on Slate.

botfeditor said...

Check your email.

TenaciousK said...

Thanks Ender.

Never have I had greater appreciation for BOTF culture than right now.

The most disheartening thing is - these guys wouldn't stand a chance on the Fray. When I responded to the a made-up quote by Switters with the accurate one, that comment was quickly hidden, so the allegation stands unrefuted. When a group of people can stack the deck like that, they can exert complete control over the discourse.

Remind you of current political strategies? Karl Rove would be proud.

Perhaps when one acquires a level of credibility there, it becomes more difficult to squelch their comments (an affirmative outweighs, what, I think 3 negatives?). One of my responses re-appeared this mornining because of an affirmative.

Still - Schad's commentary on the honesty of criticism looks very different to me today.

Thanks for showing up.

MsZilla said...

Thanks so much. I posted a diary of something I could never get on the Fray and then Elbo sort of stold my topic somewhat so I decided to leave it out.

We'll see how this goes. I want to get a couple posts in and learn the system before I get too happy.

And then they're going to get some "humor". ;)

bright said...

What I've learned:

1. There is no such thing as a Trustworthy User anywhere.

2. Everyone wears their mirrored sunglasses inside out.

switters said...

Yo, TK!

I don't know what to say. You were under no obligation to defend me, or whatever, over there. You didn't owe me anything. I don't even require from you the benefit of the doubt.

And yet… you did. And you did so much more eloquently, thoroughly and graciously than I could ever have mustered (mustard?).

I don't know what to say. I guess, thanks.

"Tired of The Fray? Visit DailyKos. You'll never be more glad to see BotF again. Again."

TenaciousK said...

Yo, Swit!

It was a pleasure. Besides, haven't you heard? I'm you*!

I actually found the place peculiarly demoralizing. I know, in my head, that liberals are just as capable of mob-enhanced bigotry as anyone else. I just don't like to believe it.

Funny, they think there's a war brewing. Seems more like an intervention to me. Hard to combat the "embattled by the invisible evil conspiracy" mindset, though.

What I wrote there is all true - do a little word substitution, and it's Provo, Utah in the mid eighties. That oughtta' depress about anybody: Intellectual/Political homogeniety central. (Speaking of which, how's the South treating you these days?)

I'd defend you any time. I think you're the most overlooked intellect on BOTF.


*One challenged user, "Eternally Hapless" or something, misquoted you in a manner that implied you were coming back as me! When I followed her link, came back and posted the correct quote - revealing her as stupid, comprehension challenged, or just dishonest - my comment disappeared. Now, her comment disappeared as well - at least someone has a belated sense of shame...

PS. And they really wouldn't stand a chance on BOTF. What in God's name would they do with Schad, Ciinc, ZB, Gregor, Fritz or Ghost?

Actually, I guess I know the answer to that. The above would toy with them for a little while, and then take lazy swats every so often out of sheer boredom. ThyGoddess would chew slowly, before she spat them out. Most of the rest of us would be very nice, in an increasingly strained kind've way. Tempo'd make a bunch of new friends...

Dawn Coyote said...

ha. jinx. people are going to think we're..umm...

TenaciousK said...

Ummm, finishing each other's sentences? Actually the same person? Posting on the same laptop, from some sleezy motel room whose saving grace is wifi*?

There's a great scene from the movie my daughter dragged me to the other night, "Employee of the Month", on that very topic. I'll work on it.

If you want to help me practice, you go ahead and start some sentences. I'll finish them for you, and you can tell me how "in tune" with you I am.

That kos thing has been amazing.

*That's a great image, isn't it? That's how Fray romances work, I think - two passionate lovers meet in some illicit location, pull out their laptops, and feverishly post.

Later, in the warm afterglow, they scan the other boards and blogs, occasionally emailing or IM'ing each other a link, all without looking at each other, or speaking a word.

Dawn Coyote said...

. . .

TenaciousK said...

Dear Mr. Koss,

I recently heard rumor about some distressing social dynamics over here - distressing to me, anyway, because this is a site with a mission I support.

I wrote what I hoped was a thoughtful, non-inflammatory post about it, and I attempted to respond to comments for as long as I could.

The result - many, many accusations of sockpuppetry, trusted users hiding my most effective defensive posts, and persistent attempts at misdirection. This is the very phenomenon I was expressing concern about.

While I realize I'm a new user here, I'm not really new to this type of forum. There are serious ramifications for the type of censorship being practiced by your trusted users. If contrary ideas are being silenced, rather than addressed, how well equipped are your participants to face real-world challenges, where censorship and collective stifling are not options?

There will always be times when censorship, no matter how distasteful, will be necessary to protect the integrity of the forum. I would urge you, however, to re-examine the process by which this occurs. Once a member has achieved trusted status, is there any feedback for that member about the appropriateness of their actions? Would you perhaps consider creating more explicit guidelines for when troll-rating is appropriate? This would at least improve the consistency in how standards are defined, and in their application. Finally, would you consider allowing an appeal for users who, believing they've acted in good faith, could plead their case?

I like the take from the Gospel According to Thomas: "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand would be firm enough. Then he slew the powerful man."

This is a marvelous place for people to come and test the strength of their hand, before they go out into the world and make it better. Removing walls rather undermines that possibility.

Thanks for you consideration.


topazz said...

TK: funny, the poll that you? or they put up in the middle of your post - because its a bar graph, right now the results are overwhelmingly slanted by their own rigging, it looks as if they're giving us the finger! Or we're giving it to them, I can't decide.

check it out here

Anonymous said...

Is that a deleted comment near the top? By the author that wrote about accepting all discourse?

Isn't that censorship? Isn't that McCarthy tactics?

You guys are hilarious.

Dawn Coyote said...

oh my god, I love this -- are you from dkos?

I won't just assume that you are, of course, because that's part of the m.o. so prevalent among the users of that site that we've been critisizing so vocally.

the comment was deleted because it was a duplicate of the one above it, posted by topazz. note the timestamps.

anyway, welcome.

Elbo Ruum said...

Jesus Christ, Switters, what the hell did you DO to them over at Kos?! It appears you've agitated a bee's nest over there, only you've left and they're still buzzing around each other trying to pick up the scent.

Zero humor over there.

Every time someone tries to be the voice of reason over there now, trying to see your side of the issue, they get dogpiled almost immediately.

Anonymous said...

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you . . .

TenaciousK said...

Hello Anon,

Please feel free to come by and comment, or email if you have any questions. I'd offer to have a discussion with you over at kos, but it turns out, that's no longer possible for me [guess my appeal to kos wasn't too persuasive].

I'll soon make another appeal to have my posting and commenting priveleges restored, before I give up. I'm not inclined to go back under another identity, despite what some of kos's more paranoid users might imagine.

Thanks for stopping by! As you can see, the shadowy conspiracy is, well, neither shadowy, nor particularly conspiratorial; Nor particularly sock-puppety. [Though I imagine I could make a pretty interesting psychiatric case study, were that actually the case!]


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but there's no point in arguing with liars. You may be sticking to one user name, TK, but what about your buddies?

Y'all seem to know very little about the Daily Kos, so you may have overlooked the following. It's from an entry in the dKosopedia to which readers are referred in the FAQ.
We certainly wouldn't want y'all to be unaware of the rules!

Banned users

. . . The thing about it is this: banning is permanent. You don't get to come back under a different name.
Many people try, and are surprised when their accounts are again yanked pretty much as soon as someone bothers to look for them. If you've been banned, go to a different site and contribute there instead.


TenaciousK said...

Hello again Anon:

Ah – you’ve branded me a liar. I guess that means you’ve given yourself permission to disregard anything I have to say. That’s very convenient. Odd, though, for someone who purports to have more laudable values than, say, Republican leadership – they’ve made an art out of finding ways to disregard (and silence) the input of other people, regardless of the import of what they disregard.

This is something any self-respecting Kos user should have noticed long ago. Sad so many of you choose to emulate this quality, rather than denounce it.

As far as the permanence of banning is concerned – well, I can think of a surefire way to beat any system they could put in place, and I’m not particularly savvy. But that’s neither here nor there – if Kos doesn’t want me at his site, then I won’t be.

If you think the current system of active censorship doesn’t interfere with the development and nurturing of party-based dialogue, then you’re either willfully ignorant, or sadly deficient. Even this little comment betrays you – I would much rather have debated or discussed than argued. It was the quality of the comments I attempted to respond to that precluded an actual discussion. But, again, you don’t seem particularly interested.

Too bad. Feel free to come back, if you have anything more worthwhile to say. I’ll be posting an epilogue to my kos experience later on tonight. I’d like to invite you to read it (first), and respond to it (second - and content of post, please. The ad hominem gets old fast, and implies you’re capable of no better).

If not, I’ll just send a wish for a set of enlightenment-fostering experiences: hopefully, of the not-too-painful kind.


PS – If you really wanted to demonstrate some integrity, you could attribute your comments with your user name. That way, I’d at least know whom I was talking to.

TenaciousK said...

Oh, thanks for the link, though I’d already read this. Here’s a couple of excerpts you overlooked:

Banned Users. Here's one more important tip. When someone is banned from the site, they've been banned for a reason. In 90% of the cases, it's because of behavior: they've proven to be so disruptive in conversations that it's just not worth whatever contribution they think they're making to the site.

Can you direct me to an instance in which I was disruptive, at all, to any conversation? I guess I must be one of the minority 10%…

Banning people is a decision that rests entirely with Kos, although the frontpagers will frequently give their own opinions or bring particular disruptive posters to his attention.

I plan on appealing to Kos again. I’m not optimistic about my chances.

We are all guests here (each other's guests, if you want to think of it like that), and behaving respectfully towards other posters is not optional.

Uhm, an entire discussion thread full of ad hominem attacks, unfounded (and inaccurate) accusations, and at least two instances of outright misinformation. Can you show me where I was disrespectful, even in the face of this rather atrocious behavior on the part of you trusted-user hosts?

Arguing is fine, even verbal slapfights are fine, but at the end of the day, if a poster is doing nothing but fighting, they're wasting their time, and your time, and my time, and distracting from the efforts to contribute things of actual substance and value here.

I tried repeatedly to engage in discussion of the content of my post. I was unable to engage anyone, however, on anything more relevant than whether or not it’s fair to equate Switters with a sincere propagandist for the KKK, or whether or not it's all right for other people to appreciate satire, even if I think it's in poor taste (and only briefly, those). In my estimation, nearly every other discussant on that thread was guilty of the above – fighting, rather than discussing. I got banned. What happened to them?

Kos has made it quite clear, over the years, that babysitting incessant whiners is not among his top priorities for the site.

I don’t expect to be babysat. Given this comment, I hope Kos is losing patience with the hysterical few who do – the ones who were shouting “wolf” at my (as nearly as I can tell) relatively innocuous diary entry, and attempts at fair, non-reactive responses (though I admit I did get indignant with the made-up quote. I’d link to it, but you know…).

JohnMcG said...

Here's my take -- Kos and his lieutenants want to believe that they are doing Important Work and Setting The Agenda and Creating a New Paradigm For Political Action. So, they're not inclined to make room for writings that they consider not to be contributing to the mission. Switters's writings don't, so he (and his defenders) must go.

In a way I see their point -- all switters' posts over there is start fights, and these fights are a distraction from the Important Work that needs to be done.

Well, I would if they had actually accomplished anything. As it is, they risk becoming an isolated cocoon. Writings like swiitters' might bring in a new audience.

But it would take perspective to see that.

Anonymous said...

Alas, your buddies haven't shown Kossacks the "courtesy of letting us know whom we were talking to," what with their multiple screennames, their sharing of a single screenname, and so forth. Perhaps we can expect a "who's who" guide soon. After all, none of you are trying to hide anything or disregard any rules.

Like so many of the trolls in the endless procession of them that we deal with, this crew seems to have a mindset that can be expressed as, "The Daily Kos? Awful place, just awful! Let's see, how can I get back in?"

It's a private website. Did you read the part of the FAQ pointing out that the First Amendment doesn't apply there? Like it, leave it, or express your opinions without getting banned, as thousands of dKos members manage to do.

I don't perceive much knowledge of or interest in politics on this crew's part--especially given that elections are coming up in three weeks--but thanks so much for the tips on how to be more effective politically.

misterioso said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My comment of 7:06 PM was addressing TK, not John, whose comment I hadn't seen.

But John, as far as audience development goes, we're, uh, doing okay. Check out the sitemeter or Alexa or something.

Really, y'all seem to know very little about the Daily Kos. Reading the FAQ (and perhaps the parts of the dKosopedia linked to in the FAQ) would give y'all a much better picture in a lot of respects.

TenaciousK said...

Hi John:

As part of this progressively sordid little adventure, someone did link to a post of note about what constitutes an appropriate diary (I believe this was in response to Ender's comment on my thread). Unfortunately, that link's no longer accessible to me, as the comment's no longer visible to me. The gist, however, is that non-political posts, or humor pieces, are entirely appropriate.

Whether or not they like Switters is one thing - I know other people who've criticized him (Skeptical, for instance - now, there's fine company for the kos folks!), but why ban him? It's the dynamic over there that's offensive, not the tastes or opinions. That was one direction the folks on my thread tried to go - Switters was offensive. They failed to realize that wasn't my point.

My point is - this same repulsive tendency to behave in a manner that parallels Republican/Conservative culture is evident in more places than Kos. Frankly, I don't expect them all to agree with me. Hell, I'm not even fazed that they'd be offended.

But they never discussed the content of my post. They just labelled me, and ultimately banned me. In light of the relatively recent dustup I saw between TQM and other various players about banning and flushing, as well as the ideas that were floating around on how the next incarnation of the Fray ought to look, I thought this was all very relevant - not only to us, but to the Kos users as well.

If they don't like Switters, they don't have to read him (there are apparently at least a few of them who do - funny they're not more vocal about it, eh?), and if they don't agree with me, they can either ignore me, or discuss it with me.

But they did neither - the made up an excuse to discount me, and then they made me go away.

Besides, I thought his Foley post was inspired - exaggerated Republican spin parody. That anyone thought he was serious is baffling, as is their inability to see the value of such parodies.

But, whatever. I'd just like the opportunity to have an honest, uninterrupted discussion with one or some of them. Funny how that never gets to happen, isn't it?

Oh, and Anon - I've been upfront about my identity from the beginning.

JohnMcG said...

Well, the last time I looked, in spite of striking incompetence, Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. We're still in the middle of a quagmire in Iraq, and Congress just gave the administration the go-ahead to waterboard detainees.

Yeah, the Dems may win the House this November, but that seems to have everything to do with the rotten stewardship of the Republicans rather than some emerging groundswell of progressive voters coming from the grass roots.

But, hey, if alexa says you're doing great, who am I to argue?

TenaciousK said...

PS. Oh, and anon - despite whatever I do or don't know about dailykos, I notice you (once again) don't address the points I made regarding the thoughtfully copied and pasted excerpts on trolls, from your link, I provided for your consideration.

And you accuse me of stonethrowing. Who from your site has responded to me with anything but a stone?

misterioso said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Correction: TK, not DK.

(And I don't know what FB stands for.)

TenaciousK said...

People hate being called hypocrites, don't they? Especially when it's true.

You've never addressed the content of anything I've written.

The Swiftboaters would be proud!

I hope you are too.

Anonymous said...

Replacement post, edited. Sorry that it's now out of order.
I told you, TK, I don't argue with liars. You've consistently lied about the deceptions of your buddies. Hypocrisy? Pot, kettle.

Poor guy. You've been so disregarded, so misunderstood, so unfairly treated! The Daily Kos is such an awful place! And Wikipedia--I understand that it's an awful place too.

So f-ckin' give it up, why don't you all? Honestly, don't you have anything better to do?

I do, at any rate. Good night.

TenaciousK said...

Here's the thing:

I keep supporting my statements.

You keep calling me a liar, sockpuppet, or whatever.

And you'all over there jumped to conclusions about me, and never even bothered to substantiate.

So, good luck with that denial thing. Again, I invite you to provide a shred of evidence to support anything that I've been accused of (including lying).

Anonymous said...

TK, I repeat, you've consistently lied about the deceptions of your buddies. You did the same on the Daily Kos. (BTW, you needn't post any links from dKos for me. I've seen it all, including Hidden Comments.)

Example of your lying:

"As you can see, the shadowy conspiracy is, well, neither shadowy, nor particularly conspiratorial; Nor particularly sock-puppety. [Though I imagine I could make a pretty interesting psychiatric case study, were that actually the case!]"

Good night.

TenaciousK said...

Ender gave full disclosure about who we were, and what we were doing.

If you look in my discussion thread, I admit I came there, as part of a group, and explain our motive (as I see it, anyway).

I’m not a sock puppet for anyone, nor have I posted on kos under any other nic (despite the repeated accusations).

So again – where was it that I was lying, again?

Oh – I remember. That was only in your head. You, and the collection of paranoid junior g-men over there who were hell-bent on getting me banned.

Again, good luck with that denial thing.

PS: There were ten of us who posted there (that I know of). Me, Ender, Switters, Hipparchia, Kyu/Maximo, Zeusboy (as DawnCoyote), Topazz (also as Rosalita, though I didn’t find out about that until later), Rundeep, Brightvirago, and SplendidIreny. Perhaps there were others.

I don’t know about the others, but I wasn’t tracking what they were doing. Hardly a tight knit conspiracy.

JohnMcG said...


So is this how you plan on changing the world -- using what power you have to silence people with a different point of view than yours, and then calling them liars when the complain??

New flash (though it's really not news) -- In the real world, you have no power!!!

Sure you might have your little fiefdoms like dKos. But you'll never get any real power this way.

Anonymous said...

Okay, got it. You didn't know what's been going on, despite reading BotF on Slate, BotF on Blogger, and this very blog. Perhaps your buddies will fill you in.

Just remember this basic rule, all of you: People who are banned from dKos are not permitted to return, under any name.

Really, good night.

Anonymous said...

John, again, thanks for your advice on how the Daily Kos ought to be run.

TenaciousK said...


Reading you is like watching Bush at a press conference - the questions make sense, and the answers seem to make sense, and you really have to concentrate before you realize the answers provided aren't to the questions asked.

Please, seeing as you have access to all the hidden comments, etc. - link me to where I lied. Find me a quote. Anything.

So - who is lying?

The Swiftboaters really would be proud! Have you thought about running for public office?

For which party?

Dawn Coyote said...

Look, you fucking moron - the fact remains that you accused all of us of being alternics for switters when there were ten of us posting there, minimum. Do you understand what I'm saying? There were ten of us from the outset - there in good faith - and you characterized all of us as sockpuppets. This was the basis for your troll-rating and banning us. Which we found unconscionable, and as we objected, you took that as further evidence, and went after us like a mob of inbred fucktards with torches.

What about this isn't clear to you?

I have a request - could you send someone smart to talk to us? Your comprehension level leaves much to be desired.

Come to think of it, just forget it. We'll forget you in about 48 hours, except for the lingering gratitude that we're not you, and our renewed satisfaction with our own little corner of the web.

Anonymous said...

Hidden comments are hidden for a reason. I won't post them.

Good. Night.

TenaciousK said...


Like - the one where I correct blatant misinformation posted by a "trusted user"? Later troll-rated by that very user? I'm sure that was for a good reason! God knows, no-one likes to be exposed as a liar!

This is my point, you idiot - you control the information, you can say whatever the hell you want, and any refutation goes down the rabbit hole.

Does this sound like Democratic ideals? Remember Watergate? Ollie North, Abscam, Abramoff, or any other number of scams run by people who were arrogant in their ability to control the information?

DC's right - please, if you're going to send anyone, make sure they have at least a high school reading level, will ya? This is getting old. In the mean time - thanks for proving Ender's most recent point about the idiocy of Kos trusted users.

Ya' couldn't reason your way out of a paper bag. Witness the final product of the kos preparatory school of political debate - never seriously challenged, remains seriously challenged (play on words - think about it. I hate to explain my own puns, but I want to make sure you understand. Feel free to ask if you still don't get it).

Really - good luck with that denial thing. And God save the Democratic party! Please!

Anonymous said...

By the way, anonymous, TenaciousK is one of our morons.


TenaciousK said...

Uhm, thanks?

Sheesh, Schad - with friends like you...

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

The point being, TK, that you have argued circles around him/her, both here and at dkos, without breaking a sweat. And, while you have a certain verbal facility, I wouldn't call you a particularly deep thinker (points for trying, though).

Dkos is a collection of useless twerps who have found the perfect way to not win elections for the Democrats. Not something that concerns me much, but it should concern them (except that they expect to lose).

Reminds me of a poker hand I played recently...long story short - guy called me expecting to lose (he had J-J) and then got tremendously upset when he lost, even though his hand was "better" than mine.


Schadenfreude said...


Finally remembered my login and password for this site.

TenaciousK said...

Troll-rated for uncomplimentary compliments!

Well Schad, thanks for supporting my point in your unmistakably Schad-like way. I must admit – I’m viewing your statements on feedback, compliments and sincerity in a different light these days.

Of course, I also have to remember that, despite your intellectual cleverness and facile application of facts and ideas, you’re not what I would call an, uhm, particularly insightful judge of intelligence depth. Still, I’m sure the kossites wouldn’t have the first idea how to deal with you – censorship has left them soft.

At least on the Fray, you (speaking generally) have to stand by your demonstrable idiocy (unless you can orchestrate your own flushing, I suppose – speaking a little less generally here). I’ve always valued the diversity of Fray culture, but never more so than now. The value in the place is its heterogeneity. Over time, I think a kind of integrity has evolved there that may be rather unique – you wouldn’t support my position, even if you happened to agree with me, if you saw my argument were flawed.

So, thanks for the, erm, qualified compliment. The qualification demonstrates it’s sincerity*.


*Well, unless you’re just being an ass. But either way, point made. Thanks for contributing.

Anonymous said...

To Schadenfreude--

"By the way, anonymous, TenaciousK is one of our morons."

Give me a break. I haven't been studying you guys, other than trying to sort out your handles for reports to Kos (and other Kossacks).

As a stranger, I would be unkind if I were to comment on your statement. I'll just say that when TK posted a (planned? submitted?) letter with the greeting "Dear Mr. Koss," I was ROTFLMAO. And none of you corrected him, which indicated certain things to me as well.

Schadenfreude said...

Well, son, I haven't really been studying you, either. I've never posted on dkos, and I sincerely doubt that I ever will. I'd never heard of it until Ender mentioned it, and I felt that trying to transplant the Best of the Fray to greener pastures was a mistake, anyway.

It was the technology that was more attractive, and not the culture. What turned out to be useful about it was the unintended social experiment in trying to blend two incompatible cultures and the clear demonstration of the failure of the "trusted user" model.

Nobody was interested in invading or trolling your site. They just wanted to use it to express themselves and state their opinions, just like every other user on the site.

You should note that the people that you have turned off are almost all liberals who want the Democrats to win the next election. Well done.

TenaciousK said...

[Chuckle] proving once again that you'all are utterly humorless.

Welcome back, anon. Please, feel free to keep commenting.

Substantive comments would be most appreciated, of course, but I don't want you to strain yourself.

Ender said...

Dear Anonymous:

What’s your nic over at dKos?

-The fact that you won’t answer means I (we) win.

Could you acknowledge that none of your comments on wagtheslate have been disappeared?

-Of course you won’t (read: you lose, we win).

You know, there’s an election on the doorstep. Why is it that you’re wasting your time with us?

-Answer: You’re a hypocrite. You’re not a Kossack because you’re trying to change the world, you’re a Kossack because it’s a power trip.

You’re here at wagtheslate, you’ve studied us extensively, now will you report back to dKos the truth in order to clear up any lingering misconceptions?

-Of course you won’t. Because if we weren’t just a bunch of switters’ sock-puppets, then y’all were in the wrong from the get go, which would warrant an apology and a lifting of all those bannings, and worse, force some of you to acknowledge that your good judgment is the one and only casualty of your Troll Rating.

Dawn Coyote said...

Followed this to this, which at this moment has 43 recommends, 31 troll ratings and 333 comments – including this one:

PLEASE withdraw your 4s--troll diary! (1+ / 0-)
The diarist is a troll from the BotF/switters gang. I think it's banned user tenaciousk; I'll post again if I can confirm that.

The diary is lifted from the writing of Tom Robbins.

Also, TUs, please spread out those donuts; don't pile on. As I write this, the diarist still has a lot of rateable unhidden comments.
We may be able to handle this one through Autoban, but of course, someone may want to report the diarist via Contact Us. I don't know whether I will.

by Rita in DC on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 05:11:36 PM PDT

Now, I think Rita from DC is a disease-infested crack whore, but how to tell for sure? I’ll let you know once my next tea-leaf reading is completed…

(It occurs to me that some of our more colourful fraysters may spend the next little while giving the folks from planet kos reason to believe they were right about us - but really, who cares? They're clearly idiots.)

TenaciousK said...

Dreaming up...

All the paranoid accusations and defensive scurrying sort of makes you feel like being genuinely mischievous, doesn't it? Good thing I have (a little) more ego-integrity than that.

Interesting dynamic, though. There's an immediate misapprehension, reinforced by the mob, I'm deprived of any ability to correct it, and then a flurry of energetic maneuvers to reinforce the initial misapprehension.

Sort of reminds me of international politics. Again, the parallels with the current administration are surreal (and depressing, frankly). When you treat someone as though they are an enemy, they often become inclined to behave as such. Interesting, in that everyone participates in this process in a more naturalistic setting. In this particular setting, I was unable to make a point.

Today, I'm North Korea. If I were malicious, desperate, or maliciously desperate, I might be inclined to blow something up.

In the mean time, I keep fighting this urge to holler something about how nobody over there is wearing any clothes, and would you please stop making fun of my outfit!

Nobody likes being put into a box - not me, Switters, North Korea, Iran, Muslims, or Kossites. The corrective mechanism involved is communication and affiliation. But I've belabored the whole "they control all the communication" issue enough, I think. At least on the Fray, I might have the ability to demonstrate something incongruent with others’ opinion regarding who I am. Who knows – maybe Schad will change his mind about my intellectual acumen some day*?

So, I guess for now, I'll have to go with the idea that the Kossites I've been dealing with are a bunch of bigoted, paranoid freaks. I have yet to encounter one that will have an actual discussion with me.

"If the box fits..."


*All right, that’s probably stretching it. It’s a theoretical example, however, and the probability of such an event has got to be slightly greater than zero – given constraints in the physical universe, the possibility of an incipient dementia (his), etc.

Dawn Coyote said...

You know, that last post by ZeusBoy/Makbara is up over 400 comments. I imagine it's still on the front page of the site, elevated there by their outpouring of camaradarie and hospitality.

Even though I had nothing to do with this, and would not have endorsed it, it makes me feel a bit dirty, and kind of sad for them. They really believe they're doing something important. I remember feeling an imperitive prior to the last US election to do something, anything (as a Canadian) to stop Bush from being re-elected. Some the the comments in the thread demonstrate an anxiety - that if they could be duped into giving a fraudulent poster front page status, what might that mean for the integrity of the community?

It's easy for us jaded types to feel smug about their absurd reactions to us, but their belief in their mission is kind of admirable, and I don't like to see it abused in the manner ZB has undertaken. That kind of thing was very disheartening on BOTF, as I recall.

(and I'm thinking that my handing over of my login info wasn't the smartest move. ZB isn't the most temperate poster with whom one might share an identity)

Anonymous said...


"(and I'm thinking that my handing over of my login info wasn't the smartest move. ZB isn't the most temperate poster with whom one might share an identity)"

password: velvet (IIRC)

It certainly wasn't the most ethical, mature, or sane move.
Hey, Ender, go back to Wikipedia and insult them some more.

TenaciousK said...

[Sigh...] I've no idea what he's up to.

I keep hoping one of them will just discuss the issues with me, instead of making it into an attack, a dupe, a difference in stylistic taste, or whatever. The whole issue of mob-implemented censorship, and how this reflects the worst of American politics, never gets addressed.

You're right - their responses reveal their worldview. They see themselves as embattled against a faceless enemy, who conspires to undermine Democracy.

Maybe this is also a reflection of what ails the national Democratic party. I have yet to see a Democratic candidate who I feel enthusiastic about (and I felt the same way the last two elections). Oh, I'll vote for Gore, Kerry, Hillary or whomever as an alternative, but where is the candidate I can actually feel excited about?

Hiding out in a bunker, maybe? I have the distinct sense that the national political dialogue has been controlled by the Republican party since before Clinton left office, and the Democrats have been on the defense ever since. They allow the Republicans to focus attention on specific, inflammatory issues, all the while keeping us too far off balance to develop a party philosophy and identity that might excite people.

So long as they keep responding to the shiny, attention-getting flares launched over by the likes of Karl Rove, they’ll lack a cohesive platform on which they could build something substantial. I’d love to see a unified national and international plan that addresses concerns like globalization, economic warfare, environmental concerns, etc. Instead, we get lots of dialogue on the war, and a discussion on how they will behave differently. Discussing how one behaves differently reinforces the conceptual schema associated with the one with whom you are contrasting your behavior.

It seems that national campaigns are run at the level of propaganda and counter-propaganda, and my sense is that American political apathy is related directly to this assessment. The remedy for propaganda is realistic, balanced information. The Kossites were too busy calling “witch!”, however, to bother with such inconveniences as formulating answers, or correcting misperceptions – they were too busy gauging us as a threat and responding as such to bother engaging in any kind of actual interchange. The dynamic there mirrors the larger dynamic elsewhere.

I’m hanging on to the idea that the majority of users over there are reasonable, thoughtful people who don’t want to face the repercussions of bucking the mob. But again, I fear this mirrors the national dilemma – until sane people regain control of the political parties in this country, we’ll continue to be screwed.

So – how long do you think we’ve got before we get Bush III?

PS. I’ve noticed, over on the Fray, that one recently resurrected poster made an indirect, joking reference to my characterization of Switters as an intellect. What a fucking idiot (he’s welcome to show up here to discuss the issue, if he’d like).

My sense of Switters is that he sees patterns in events and then does his best to present what he sees through parody – difficult to accomplish, no matter how inspired you feel. His Foley post was hilarious – lampooning anticipated Republican spin, or pre-empting predictable attempts to minimize the whole affair. Whether you like him stylistically or not is immaterial – what he’s seeing is much more accurate than, say, the patterns noticed by any of the conspiracy nuts (there’s a huge false-positive problem going there – I’ll write about that some time).

Struggling to describe what one is seeing is a problem I’m intimately familiar with. I see Switters as engaging in this type of exercise, and expressing multiple themes in what he writes. He gets discounted because he prefers to depict things in a different manner than, say, TQM – who can be dry as chalk sometimes (or me, who can be loose, wordy and vague – usually, I’m sure). Ghost is obscure, yet there’s little debate that she’s seeing something real, rather than something patched together in large part from her own misperceptions (and the cobwebs left by that last 30 hits of acid). I think what Switters sees is just as real, that what he’s writing is social commentary, that he struggles sometimes in the translation, and that he’s overlooked because he writes humor.

But what the hell – I grew up reading Mad magazine. I’ll bet Switters did too.

Somehow I doubt the more rabid kossites ever did. Their loss – Don Martin had flashes of genius too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Ender, quit pimping your sites and your buddies' writing at dKos. As I mentioned, most of those diaries are now tagged "Troll diary" or "troll diary, authorship issues." That includes the diaries you posted under the handle punoqun, once you'd been banned as BotFEditor.

What I want to know is why you folks don't have a shred of integrity.

MsZilla said...

That includes the diaries you posted under the handle punoqun, once you'd been banned as BotFEditor.

I posted that, you microcephalic twit. And I wrote it too.

You can take a nice long kiss at my rosy Irish Ass. And I don't care which forum you want to do it from.

Dawn Coyote said...

dailykossites, nota bene - here's your problem:

74 and lived through two world wars? (1+ / 0-)

I can't believe anyone would have recommended this had they actually read what was written.

This was a fairly lame parody of the kind of diary this community ordinarily embraces. As such, it demonstrates nothing more than the utter contempt and hostility these people feel toward those of us here.

It's something the right wing and wingless anarchists like these have always had perverse glee in doing: taking advantage of the generosity of spirit that embodies liberal thinking, and mocking the thing that gives us the most strength, and which they could never hope to comprehend.

It also demonstrates that they can't tell the difference between satire and lies, between parody and mockery, and between original writing and plagiarism.

Pretty sickening. This was probably one of their attempts to work mojo up for TU status. There will be more. Hope this was a wake-up call to those with itchy 4 fingers.

"...." -- Harpo Marx
by BobzCat on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 06:56:04 PM PDT

TenaciousK said...

A song for Anon.

[Sorry - was going to link a youtube, but can't find one on video. You'll have to hum the tune in your head]

Really - thanks for repeatedly, unwittingly, demonstrating my point.

august said...


I'm afraid ZB's latest antics mean that discussion of the issues won't be possible. Not that I've tried.

I come out of all this thinking slightly more highly of kos. Of course, I never tried posting there. And like 'Zill, I'm glad we don't do comment ratings.

Geoff's latest thought is having ratings for the fray, and then you can set what level of rating you want to look at. I think that's stupid.

On the Democrats, I don't think you can blame kos for a lack of candidates. The party has been splintering for a long time, so I don't think you can blame kos for that either. It's more disappointing. Air America and kos don't do anything for the thinking, centrist Dem, and so I wind up at NPR and Slate, where I get something resembling the truth (at least when triangulated with other sources). And the truth hurts.

Agree about swit. I'd add Splendid to the list of those who describe the real in ways that are more political than they seem at first glance. Who else? I really admire shann palmer, a long-time pfrayer whose poetry I find incredibly sharp and moving. Gregor and Fritz, of course, but with them the real-world application is obvious.

DC thanks for the e-mail. I'll pass along if I can.

august said...


The kossacks were onto ZB really quickly. One reason why I think whatever he was trying to do was stupid.

Dawn Coyote said...


I read your conversation with him on Fraywatch, and he's also added an amendment to the diary that pretty much amounts up to, "Gee, can't we all just get along?"

Seems a bit disingenuous, after the fact. Still, an interesting development.

MsZilla said...

The guy in Fraywatch claims he's not the same dude that's been having fun around here all day.

Dawn Coyote said...

Anyone care to place a bet on how long it will take before ghost comes along and kicks our asses?

TenaciousK said...

Hi August.

I’m not blaming Kos for what ails the Democratic party. I just tried to draw their attention to something, and was startled by the response I received. Well offended, really, but that’s only really because I identify with them.

It’s not that I care whether or not they agree with me – it’s what they do with that disagreement that I find unconscionable.

I don’t really know what to think of kos. The troll-rating and banning issue really does seem to be pertinent – anon here, for example – his or her counters have consisted entirely of unsupported accusations, attempts to shift focus, and ad hominem. This person wouldn’t stand a chance on a strong Fray thread, and they don’t seem to have the sense to recognize it. If this is the type of person Kos is releasing on the world, and if they believe their mandate is to help Democrats get into office, then I’d argue that the process that undermines the integrity of debate there also undermines their ability to carry out their mission.

I’ve come out of this thinking somewhat less highly of kos, though I have no doubt good things are also happening there.

Yeah, well – ZB’s actions ought to prove that we were never organized from the outset. I have no idea what he’s attempting to do.

I like it that Slate and NPR have developed a relationship, BTW. Where the hell else can I get news I can halfway believe? And I also agree with your assessment of Air America. Michael Moore seems like little more than a more theatrical Rush Limbaugh (not that I’m going to stop seeing his movies, or anything – but he’s making money off of an increasing national alienation, which is something I can’t really approve of).

I miss political commentary I could trust. There’s so much spin in the world, it’s become damn near impossible to separate the truth from the propaganda. I believe in ripple-effects, and that the good Democrats at Kos would be so concerned in an activity I’ve always associated with the most intolerant, rightwing loons in this country (censorship without grounds) offends me – they (we) are supposed to be the good guys.

I don’t live in Provo anymore.

Somewhere between Limbaugh and Moore lies whatever truth there is to be had in the world. I guess that’s why I like the Fray so much – it’s one of those rare places where both sides can meet and dialogue. Sometimes, that kind of meeting helps me see up a level - to that place where the seeming contradictions betwen the perspectives don't seem contradictory anymore.

I never expected kos to be that, though.

I agree about Splendid – who is also a phenomenal writer. Thanks for the link on Shann Palmer – I’ll be looking.

I’ve played this out about as far as it could go, I think, and somehow I doubt that the movers and shakers at kos are paying much attention, let alone reconsidering the whole TU rating and banning process. But, what the hell – call it a preoccupation with windmills.

Thanks, August.


PS: I liked your CBGB’s post, BTW. I miss the Talking Heads – they were my favorite of the CBGB’s originals. And I heard a clip from the original demo tape of “Heart of Glass” once (PBS, I think) – the reggae version. Wish I’d been there to experience it all.

Anonymous said...


Anon: "That includes the diaries you posted under the handle punoqun, once you'd been banned as BotFEditor."

MsZilla: "I posted that, you microcephalic twit. And I wrote it too."

Well, punoqun also posted
another dKos diary, in which he wrote,

"Here is the thing. I'm Ender, and I do not approve of this message. My goal in introducing "the fray" to dKos was . . . "

So you can understand my confusion, I'm sure.

Pimp your stuff at some website where you'll be welcome, if you can find one.

misterioso said...

Punoqun also posted this dKos comment.

So if MsZilla isn't Ender, you've been sharing dKos accounts again, I guess. Such foolish children. I guess y'all need to mature a bit more before you develop a sense of right and wrong.

MsZilla said...

On sober reflection if they really want to think I'm a cute young gay law student instead of a straight single old frumpy mom, who am I to argue?

Damn the tarbrushed torpedos. Full speed ahead!

TenaciousK said...

Hey Switters!

I think you're hilarious, so quit posting all hangdog, and all.

Don't let them get ya' down, man - who wants to play to the least common denominator, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, these people are the proverbial bag of hammers aren't they?

Us: Why are you banning us? We don't disagree with you, and the things you found offensive in switters' post were just satirical.

Them: You are all him. You are sockpuppets and share IDs.

Us: No, we are distinct users with different personalities and names.

Them: You are liars, you sockpuppets who share IDs.

Us: No. We are liberals, we vote Dem, we were just trying out your technology and wanted to have pro-Dem discussions. Why did we get banned over a "fear of association?" Isn't that a little fascist?

Them: You broke our rules, you lying band of sockpuppet liars who share IDs.

Us: You think "breaking rules" means disagreeing with kos?

Them: No, breaking rules means being sockpuppets who try to come back after being banned.

Us: But why did we get banned?

Them: Because you are sockpuppets.

Us: Who's on first?
Them: Sockpuppets on first and second, ID sharers on third and no one at home. Good night.

Dembots. Makes me want to revive my Moderate Party aspirations.

rundeep (forgotten my password, no time to retrieve).

TenaciousK said...

Thanks Run - I think that about sums it up.

As far as shared nics goes - Ender was posting things from the Fray there. He never disguised what he was doing, though, and he's the only one who was doing it.

The people who went there went initially in good faith. Some of us got snippy and all after the reception we got. A few even broke some rules - one would think that the great liberal social engineers at Kos would understand the social impact of repeated accusations on the behavior of the accused(part of my objection to the whole sordid process).

The kossites are now pointing at those few instances of rule violation and using them to justify all their actions. Gosh - I wonder how we might have responded to a warning?

Funny - their's seems like a Republican kind of response to me. Kind of like a whole bunch of post-hoc justifications for invading another country. Or waging economic warfare against a nation, and then pointing out all of their successful attempts to circumvent sanctions as evidence of their corruption.

I think I'll move to Canada.

misterioso said...

There's no further use in refuting your untruths--or, to be quite charitable, misunderstandings--here. If you're interested, read the dKos FAQ.

Many of you were banned from dKos. Banned users may not return, under any name. Each member may use only one name. Diarists may not post diaries that are the work of nonmembers or banned members of dKos--with or without attribution. They may post only their own writing.

That ought to cover the present and future.

AFAIK, "warnings" are never given. Again, thousands of dKos members abide by the rules of the site and manage not to be banned.

TenaciousK said...

Banned users may not return, under any name. Each member may use only one name. Diarists may not post diaries that are the work of nonmembers or banned members of dKos--with or without attribution. They may post only their own writing.

I personally broke none of those freakin' rules, but you sent me to Guantamo anyway.

Ya' bunch of hypocrites.

So any discussion of rule violations and the salutary impact of fair warnings, despite the veracity of such an argument, doesn't even apply to me. I personally broke not one of your rules.

And not any amount of copying and pasting the dkos rules (which I read that night, BTW, as part of my attempt to find out what a freakin’ sockpuppet was) refutes that one whit.

Feel free to ask whomever runs the board – I never broke a single rule. Hell, I even tried to be polite!

But why would I want to go back to that bunch of bigots and loons? That’s why I moved away from Provo.

Salutations, moron. Again - good luck with that denial thing.

And God save the Democratic party!

TenaciousK said...

PS. Scrambling your IP is hardly a sophisticated trick, and when combined with any one of the ubiquitous freemail services, pretty effectively circumvents any ban you could impose.

But again, you've collectively (and you personally) done a pretty good job of disabusing me of any notion I might have had about the desirability of tossing my hat into that ring of hysterical bigots. Hell - you can't even acknowlege you banned me without cause!

But don't bother pretending you represent any of the ideals I hold as a Democrat. It's clear enough you don't even understand them.

Schadenfreude said...


Don't you get it yet?

You were banned because you were banned. Banned posters are automatically banned. That's why you were banned.

How many Democratic congresspersons voted for:

War with Iraq?
The Patriot Act?
Right to torture?
Denial of appeal to courts for Gitmoites?
Tax cuts?

Or against Kyoto? (all of them)

Really - what is the point?

TenaciousK said...


It's a pet issue - echoes of the culture of my childhood. A childhood that, not coincidentally, happened to be in perhaps the most politically conservative region in the entire country.

I have ample reason to keep some faith in things like sleeper and ripple effects anyway. The cost is low, it's sort of entertaining, and there's the possibility of a subtle, positive impact.

For such a small thing, a possibility seems like adequate payoff.

Besides - are windmills endangered, or something?