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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Take The Pledge By Not Taking The Pledge: A Meta Exercise In Three Bowel Movements

First off, let me observe that [my friend] Bill is stupid and his mom wears combat boots in bed.  Now I will address his alleged "points" in a fisting, er...fisking manner.

First of all, NTodd has decided to ally himself with the "uncivil" set that the Code seeks to address. He writes, "Look, civility is great and shit, and nice people are nice and assholes like me are assholes."

WRONG!  I haven't decided to ally myself with anybody.  I merely observe that I am, in fact, incivil.  That's merely my state of blogging, not some conscious choice to join other assholes in Asshole Solidarity.  I don't give a shit if somebody else is civil or incivil--well, now maybe I do, but more on that in a bit,

Let's remember how this current round of "wow, the blogosphere is a shrill place" got started -- with threats of sexual assault and death on a prominent technology blogger. NTodd may be a fucking potty mouth, but I don't think any reasonable person (so this excludes Althouse and her ilk) would consider him part of the problem.

Indeed, I am not part of the problem.  But golly, if I don't take The Pledge of Holy Blogging Goodness, how could any reasonable person tell?  Oh yeah, because they're reasonable people. 

For the comments threatening sexual assault and death, well...a Civility Code isn't going to stop the insane dorkwads who do that shit from doing it.  What's more, there are legal remedies in place for that, whether it be on a blog, via phone or with the person scrawling threats on your walls with your dog's blood.

There is a misconception, hinted at in the Times piece yesterday, that the freest speech is that which is completely unmoderated -- anything goes.

Watch out when playing with fire, Strawman!  You could get hurt.

I know of nobody who actually believes this--at the very least, I do not.  I never suggested that unfettered speech in any and all fora is the freest.  That's why in my previous post I recommended that people who want civility in their threads do stuff like post their house rules and moderate the goddamned comments.

"[T]hat shit" is fucking rampant out there in the woolly blogosphere and it sucks -- just as much as comment-spam -- more if you're the one getting the death threats. So what's wrong with saying "that shit won't fly on my blog?"

Uh...nothing.  Which is a large part of my point: bloggers can go ahead and say that.  Right now, without Timmy or Jimmy to help them.

I have a "support EFF" button on my blog. That button declares my support not only for the Electronic Frontier Foundation itself, but also for my general concern with copyright, privacy and free speech issues online. It's a badge that states my alignment with a certain set of guiding principles. Visitors to Candleblog can see that, and know that I'm hip to the work being done on warrantless wiretapping and frivolous DMCA takedown notices. Those buttons are common in the blogosphere and they have helped to shape its culture. That's the hope here.

Do you often make apple pie with oranges?  EFF is an activist organization that is protecting civil liberties online and fighting corporatist overreach.  Here we're talking about people promising to be excellent to each other in online communities.

Yes, that's exactly what this code is about Todd, bloggers stating their commenting policies. It's just a little bit organized in an effort to show some solidarity. Nobody is forcing anybody to do, say or think anything. There is no Blogger's Code Board set up to punish those who don't toe the line. Please get off your high horse -- you might fall and hurt something.

Projection, thy name is Bill.  The whole point of the Civility Code is to give birth to the Civility High Horse.  What organization is needed for bloggers to say, "hey, I'm civil"?  Absolutely NONE.

What you're failing to see is the larger context of such codes and pledges and shitbrained "solutions".  As I said before, I've seen this kind of thing crop up and all it really ends up being is some bullshit to let people claim moral superiority when underneath their civil language are wholly incivil concepts. 

"Don't use the word faggot...and by the way, that's icky and they shouldn't have civil rights."

"Don't say 'fuck'...but if somebody disagrees with you, out them and their family."


Anyway, another strawman rears its ugly head here: I've not suggested that there is a Blogger's Code Board or anything.  The point here is that even such voluntary things, which have no real pragmatic purpose, are fucking stupid and I damn well always will criticize them in the loudest, most obnoxious manner NToddly possible.

And Todd is the second blogger I've seen compare the "Infamous Scribblers" Hamilton and Burr to "uncivil" blog commenters. It's a weak comparison. Hamilton and his ilk were nothing, if not substantive. The same cannot be said for the commenters who called for the rape and murder of Kathy Sierra.

Uh...Hamilton was killed.  One might say that was not just having a comment call for his murder, but rather murdering him in actual fact.

Further, you're now conflating threats with civility.  When BDG, the troll from Toronto, pretended to be my dead mother, my dead SIL, and my ex-wife whilst making disgusting comments, that was incivil.  Making threats is another thing entirely and, as I noted above, has remedies that necessarily go beyond pledges and codes.  Law enforcement needs to be engaged in that situation.

As for the rest, I dare say that the incivil bloggers who give the blogosphere the rep as being incivil and shrill and nasty and whatever do, in fact, provide substance in addition.  Being naughty and being logical are not mutually exclusive characteristics of most bloggers and commenters.

And now I offer the wide world of blogging my own pledge.  To show solidarity, I demand that all incivil bloggers unite under my banner.  Don't take this Holy Fucking Pledge and you can earn The Seal:

We fucking celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces words like 'fuck' and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean we can't have fun and swear like sailors. We present this Holy Fucking Pledge in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation. One can say naughty words and insult one's mom without losing points in the discussion.

1. We take responsibility for our own words and reserve the right to call stupid people names when they fucking annoy us.

2. We won't tell anybody to fuck off if we wouldn't tell them to fuck off in person.

3. If tensions escalate, we will start a metablogpissingmatch, if only to generate traffic.

4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we escalate and get more personal and nasty.

5. We allow anonymous comments because who the fuck really cares?  It's a goddamned blog.

6. We troll other sites for shits and giggles.

7. We encourage parody sites because if you can't take a fucking joke, you're a goddamned moran and shouldn't be blogging.

I left all the long-winded explanatory stuff under each point as an exercise for the individual blogger.  Fuck you, you lazy-assed pieces of shit--I ain't doing all the work.


[X-posted at OBI.]

Charter members: Certified Incivil Blogs
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April 10, 2007 | Permalink


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Pledge - that's a wax isn't it?

Or is a dessert topping?

Posted by: Culture of Truth | Apr 10, 2007 12:45:49 PM

Who is Bill, wanker?

And why is he so fucking concerned with naughty words and not naughty ideas?

Posted by: Snow | Apr 10, 2007 12:47:45 PM

He's a dear friend of mine. I should make that clear--I forgot people haven't been necessarily following our civil dialog. Motherfucker.

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 10, 2007 12:49:11 PM

Hamilton and his ilk were nothing, if not substantive.

So they were nothing, but also not substantive?

Posted by: Culture of Truth | Apr 10, 2007 12:51:54 PM

Alright, ReTodd, you fuckfaced fuck, I'm refusing to take your bullshit pledge. Where's my fucking seal, douchebag?

Posted by: dan mcenroe | Apr 10, 2007 12:52:02 PM

Gawddammit, NTodd! Where the fuck are those fucking punkz and dogz photos, you non-pledging fuckity fuck. Surely Samwise has some thoughts on this civility-shit. Want a cookie?

Posted by: DocLarry | Apr 10, 2007 1:35:42 PM

well, i was attacked unmercifully as a racist last nite at eschaton. i don't know if it was deserved or not. i mean i do know i'm not a racist, but maybe i didn't express my thoughts in quite the right way.

but as you say, fuck it, it's just a blog. wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by: charley | Apr 10, 2007 1:40:49 PM

Take that!

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Apr 10, 2007 1:42:24 PM

Fuckin' A , don't sign me up.I don't join anything as a rule. And I've got wicked fucking good PhotoShop Skills so I'll make me own fuckin' seal.

Yeah, where's Sam The Fucking Cat and what are his viewpoints on all this?

Posted by: The Culture Ghost | Apr 10, 2007 1:45:13 PM

Isn't there some other blog you could be posting this on?

Posted by: just a suggestion | Apr 10, 2007 2:17:05 PM

Re: Sam - he says, "fuck off."

Re: the other blog - yeah, but I can't copy and paste right now because Articulate Presenter is publishing a course and it fucks with that. Later I'll crosspost...

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 10, 2007 2:33:57 PM

Re: Sam - he says, "fuck off."

How does Sam manage the fricative? I want to teach Samantha...

No pledge for me. Not their pledge; not your pledge. Fuck that shit. Civility is highly overrated anyway.

Posted by: Steve Bates | Apr 10, 2007 3:11:31 PM

Nevermind all this fucking meta-shit.

WHere the hell are the kitties? Do I have to declare plush-war on your fucking quaker ass again?

Posted by: four legs good | Apr 10, 2007 4:07:49 PM

Um, yeah.. I'm not seeing the keg that was advertised on the flyer. Is that umm... there's a keg, right? Cuz I'll be really pissed, y'know... if there isn't...

Pledge Week sucks!

Posted by: Ripley | Apr 10, 2007 5:44:40 PM

Um...I'm not interested in driving traffic or trolling elsewhere. I just don't have the time. Can I opt out of Numbers 3 and 6?



Posted by: watertiger | Apr 10, 2007 5:55:12 PM

here's my biggest problem with the whole pledge thing:

but I don't think any reasonable person (so this excludes Althouse and her ilk) would consider him part of the problem.

think. think. think and begin to get angry.

who the FUCK gets to decide who is considered "part of the problem?" and why the FUCK should i care whether or not that person considers me "part of the problem?"

once one person or group, well meaning or not, can decide what is and what is not problem speech for OTHER people, we have a real problem.

badges? we don't need no stinkin' badges.

Posted by: dirk gently, sociopathetic | Apr 10, 2007 6:17:55 PM

Isn't there some other blog you could be posting this on?

fixed the typo.

Posted by: dirk gently, sociopathetic | Apr 10, 2007 6:19:45 PM

Civility is the opium of the chickenshits.

Posted by: munkihaid | Apr 10, 2007 8:49:10 PM

who the FUCK gets to decide who is considered "part of the problem?" and why the FUCK should i care whether or not that person considers me "part of the problem?"

It's called "context." As in, please read my posts at Candleblog and you'll get a clearer picture of what I'm talking about. To answer your question though, on my blog, I the fuck get to decide who's part of the problem. It's my fucking blog. You get to decide on your blog and so on. If you and I happen to agree that the blogosphere is needlessly shrill, then we can hold hands and be happy, civil bloggers together and if other people don't like it, they can fuck off and read some other blogs. There's nothing more to this than that -- people agreeing on some terms and talking about them. There's that high horse again.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Apr 10, 2007 11:33:44 PM

Suddenly, I wish I were less civil.

Posted by: Molly Ivors | Apr 11, 2007 6:16:44 AM

"you're a goddamned moran"

You have a problem with Larry Moran? I'm kind of fond of him myself.

So, can I boost the seal for my blog?

Posted by: Caveat | Apr 11, 2007 6:49:38 AM

If the name of my blog doesn't give you a clue about my civility, you can fuck right off .


Posted by: Bustednuckles | Apr 11, 2007 8:09:47 AM

Class, all of your comments have been on topic. I'm proud of you, boys and girls.

Substitute Teacher Ann Althouse


Posted by: Arabella Trefoil | Apr 11, 2007 9:27:45 AM

which reminds me, if it is made with vodka then it is not a martini.

Posted by: dirk gently, sociopathetic | Apr 11, 2007 10:31:23 AM

There's nothing more to this than that -- people agreeing on some terms and talking about them. There's that high horse again.

you are welcome to go and do that. naturally i have no desire to tell you what to put on your blog, and if it is a badge of civility feel free.

just don't box me in, man!

Posted by: dirk gently, sociopathetic | Apr 11, 2007 10:35:54 AM

I'm in.

I'm sorry. That should be, I'm in like a fist, motherfucker. Sir.

Posted by: bdr | Apr 11, 2007 1:03:50 PM

i'm stealing the seal without asking your fucking permission, because IIIIIYAAAAMMM AN ANARRRRCHISSSTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

oh, and: bush=hitler, etc.

suck macaque,

Posted by: r@d@r | Apr 11, 2007 1:18:09 PM

I will rot in hell before I take the stupid pledge. So, now what? Do I just steal the graphic from you (that would be most uncivil) or do you send it to me?

Posted by: virgotex | Apr 11, 2007 1:21:37 PM

Stealing is not civil, thus, completely appropriate.

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 11, 2007 1:39:56 PM

I'm so fucking uncivil that I'm going to take the freakin pledge without actually making it; instead, just faking it. Should be a piece of cake. Thus spake shrimplate. Now I gotta take a break because my car has to go to the brake shop. On Lake Street. Of course the mechanic's name is Jake. For crissake, this wasn't supposed to happen. But it did.

Posted by: shrimplate | Apr 11, 2007 2:35:43 PM

I'm in.
Oh yeah, nasty mofo!
Is that incivil enough?

Posted by: shayera | Apr 11, 2007 2:51:15 PM

I took the pledge in a most uncivil manner.

Posted by: trifecta | Apr 12, 2007 10:11:02 AM

I the fuck get to decide who's part of the problem.

Might I just add that you need to work on your cursing, you uncivil bastard.

Posted by: Snow | Apr 12, 2007 10:20:55 AM

I'm in Baby. http://deepconfusion.blogspot.com/2007/04/seal-of-approval.html

Posted by: HopeSpringsATurtle | Apr 12, 2007 11:13:37 AM

Good afternoon, Dependable Renegade. Like you, I believe that civility is vastly over-rated in this day and age, and is quite unseemly. I, too, shall pledge to be uncivil, sanctimonious, uncouth, and otherwise generally unacceptable (except when absolutely necessary).

Kindly pass the cucumber sandwiches, please. No, the ones with the crusts removed. Thank you so much...

Posted by: Andrew618 | Apr 12, 2007 1:40:43 PM

Okay, in my attempt to be as uncivil as humanly possible, I forgot I wasn't at Dependable Renegade. And now after having called NTodd by someone else's name, I shall atone by reading gwb's biography at the White House website.

That's appropriate punishment, is it not?

Posted by: andrew618 | Apr 12, 2007 2:22:42 PM

Say 12 Hail NTodds, my son.

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 12, 2007 8:09:21 PM

I took the fucking pledge alfuckingready. Go stick your head in a bucket of whale sperm, Ntoddler.

Posted by: geor3ge | Apr 13, 2007 11:39:11 AM

"99 pix of NTodd on the wall, 99 pix on the wall..."

Can I get the seal for my blog?

Posted by: andrew618 | Apr 13, 2007 12:09:07 PM

Well, you asked a bit too civilly, but the Board has decided to accept you provisionally. Go ahead and steal the seal...

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 13, 2007 12:41:02 PM

Here is what I've been saying about this since the right first got their fucking knickers in a fucking twist about how I fucking choose to fucking express my fucking self...

If you can't use profanity to describe an obscenity, when the fuck can you use it?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State | Apr 14, 2007 1:32:37 PM

I am so fucking not a joiner, but this is a worthy cause. Especially since I have never been able to get through a day without saying fuck at least twice. Not to mention a liberal peppering of profanities in other languages. So I pledge. Can I have my seal now? BTB, anybody here a Brooke McEldowney fan? He did a beautiful strip in 9 Chickweed Lane (which I saved somewhere if I could only find it) about the difference between incivility and murder. Incivility is, of course, frowned upon, while murder is publicized, glamourized, and generally idolized. I'll put it on my blog now that I have his permission to do so - as soon as I fucking find it. Holy quacking duckshit, why am I asking for the fucking seal? I fucking forgot that I was supposed to fucking steal it. What a dipshit.

Posted by: thepoliticalcat | Apr 14, 2007 5:42:18 PM

I'm not taking any fucking pledge. I invented uncivil. And I'm not putting any fucking logo on my blog either because I hate working on the fucking template and I always feel like a stupid bitch when I screw it up. And if you don't let me join your club anyway, you're an asshole and who needs you?

And oh yeah, Atrios is double fucking nappy headed ho' for never linking to me either.

Posted by: The Impolitic | Apr 15, 2007 1:08:39 PM

Say 12 Hail NTodds, my son.

Hail NTodd, full of Shit, the Blognoscenti are with thee. Blessed art thou among trolls and blessed is thy Blog of Note, Dohiyi Mir. Holy NTodd, Father of Incivility, pray for us potty-mouthed Commentariats now and in the hour of our banning. Get fucked in the ass by an uncooked square of Ramen.

Posted by: Julie O. | Apr 15, 2007 5:16:44 PM

Damn, I feel compelled to convert to Catholicism now...

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 15, 2007 6:07:44 PM

The pledge would be so much more meaningful if it included:

8. Fuck You, You Fucking Fuck.

Posted by: Landru | Apr 16, 2007 11:42:18 AM

Then fucking write your own goddamned pledge, motherfucker!

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 16, 2007 11:56:45 AM

Why the fuck would I want to do that when you've already done all the fucking work, bitch?

Posted by: Landru | Apr 16, 2007 1:15:11 PM

Fuck if I know.

Posted by: NTodd | Apr 16, 2007 1:21:27 PM

I'd like to join the incivility pledge, if thats ok :)

Posted by: Moonbootica, Jog On | Apr 17, 2007 11:19:44 AM

i figured if i meditated long enough on the fucking source code i could at least determine how to steal it.

thievery is better than a fucking pledge any century.

next time, why don't you just provide the damn banner like all the coolest sites do?

there better be some pussies when i go check out your home page.

Posted by: whaleshaman | Apr 17, 2007 2:29:47 PM

Add me to your damn list of the fucking uncivil.

Call me a late bloomer. I was fucking busy!

Posted by: tata | Apr 18, 2007 6:14:59 AM

Please add me to the uncivil list!!! Can I use the seal once you do?

Posted by: JD Ryan | Apr 19, 2007 7:10:49 AM

"For the comments threatening sexual assault
and death, well...a Civility Code isn't going
to stop the insane dorkwads who do that shit
from doing it."

That's true

"What's more, there are legal remedies in place
for that, whether it be on a blog, via phone
or with the person scrawling threats on your
walls with your dog's blood."

In the Kathy Sierra case (which promoted
this civility code) that's what everybody is
saying. That she should have just gathered any
relevant info (IP addresses, etc) and informed
the police. Which is exactly what she did.

The problem, was that unbeknown to her more
death threats against her were also being
put in comments at the blog meankids.org
Later on when she found out, she asked
Chris Locke who ran the meandkids blog
(also prominent in the same tech circles
as Kathy) to take down these death death
threats and to cooperate with police.

Chris Locke was not interested in doing
so. He wasn't in legal jeopardy because he
didn't actually post the death threats
(and he claimed to have no idea who had).
Chris Locke felt that Sierra was making
a mountain out of a mole hill, and that
since it was his blog, it was up to him
what to allow in comments.

But then because she was getting angrier
and angrier, he decided to take down
the whole site (because he didn't want
to single anybody out for censorship).
The same day he put up a new blog called
unclebobism.wordpress.com. Guess what
happened then, more death threats
directed towards Sierra were posted in
comments. Again, it wasn't until she
found out about these new death threats
and complained that he took down the
second blog.

Instead of waiting for yet another
blog to be put up, Kathy Sierra did
a major freak-out. She cancelled her
appearance at the ETech conference,
did a last post on her blog describing
the situation and naming those involved.


Since then Chris Locke has said he will
cooperate with police and Frank Paynter
who was hosting meankids "lost" the
server logs. Hopefull neither of them
will put up more blogs that allow
death threats.

"We encourage parody sites because if
you can't take a fucking joke, you're
a goddamned moran and shouldn't be blogging."

So what exactly would you do if someone
decided to setup a parody site, but then
went further and allowed comments that
were threatening to you and/or your family
and also comments mentioning your home
address and social security number?

Or even not so extreme as death threats,
what if the blogger allowed comments with
detailed allegations that you were a
pedophile? Would you be ok with that?

Or would that be taking blog incivility
too far?

Posted by: Terry | Apr 21, 2007 1:58:34 PM

Would you be ok with that?


Posted by: NTodd | Apr 21, 2007 3:11:43 PM

Well god forbid that should happen.

And I do agree that a civility code won't
solve anything. In fact it took attention
away from the very real problem this case

Swearing and name-calling is fine, but the
law needs to be strengthened so that blog/forum
owners have a legal responsibility
(in addition to their moral responsibility).
But that's not going to happen, while people
have an attitude that the internet needs to
be completely free and unfettered.

It's ironic that if someone posted in comments
copyrighted material, the copyright owner
would have the legal right to force the blog
owner to take it down. But death threats
and defamation in comments, and the law is
much murkier.

Posted by: Terry | Apr 22, 2007 10:57:36 AM

Fie on Goodness!

OK, maybe that was a little too brief... As regards this frackin' goody-two-shoes pledge? It seems a little too pat for me. Problem-Reaction-Solution. Read the guy's bio on his web site and it seems that his friend getting smeared on the intertoobs was the opportunity he was waiting for to spring this new 'civility plague, er... I mean pledge', on the net.

Remember what Abbie Hoffman said, "Beware the Law and Order-types. If they win, it'll be showers and haircuts for us all."

Posted by: L.S./M.F.T.. | Apr 29, 2007 3:19:14 PM

Say Fuck proudly!

Posted by: lambert strether | May 9, 2007 8:14:14 AM

When we do our pledges at the club it involves animal sodomy and several odd parlor tricks requiring egg salad.

So fuck you.

Posted by: Oppressed White Golfer | Jun 5, 2007 4:08:23 PM

This uncivil shit is now getting to be some kinda cause--have you seen TIME magazine?

I am coming rather late to the party here, but hey, at least I came right? Let me have the fucking seal cause I loves me some whoring up the blog.

Posted by: jaye | Jun 13, 2007 7:41:04 PM