Monday, November 12, 2007

How to Be a Bad Commenter

As I've often mentioned, this site has attracted some of the most insightful, persuasive, and informed commenters to be found on the Internet. Les, Travelingal, Jim, XO and several others have added depth, perspective and correction when I've needed it.

What a bunch of slow-learning boneheads! That's not how you're supposed to comment on a blog! Get with the program!

To help my somewhat backward commenting friends catch up to the state of the commenting art, here are 5 simple rules that will help you participate at the level being propagated elsewhere:

1. Use ad hominem attacks, you moron! Attack, attack, attack. There is no technique to be found that rivals the simplicity and elegance of the ad hominem attack. Elaborate, painstakingly wrought masterpieces of logic and evidence crumble into dust when you point out that the author is a "douchebag" or a "retard". And it's universal - it can be used in any argument at any time on any topic against any author. Best of all, it lowers the tone of an argument to a level where we all feel a little more comfortable. Thinking is a pain in the neck, and research is out of the question for a busy commenter, but namecalling is always within reach.

2. Make stuff up! It is much harder to disprove a falsehood than it is to make one up. Use this flaw in the marketplace of ideas to your advantage. On the national stage, this device has been mastered by economists and Republicans to a breathtaking extent. 87.9 percent of economic statistics are made up on the spot. Hillary stiffed a waitress in Iowa. John Kerry claimed he invented the internet. Who cares about the truth when you can make up better stories? Locally, Mainstream is probably the best practitioner of this tactic - study and learn from a master.

3. Logic is meant to be twisted, so make a few pretzels! Make outlandish connections and leaps, and don't fear the chasm of ridiculousness. You're a commenter, so rules of logic don't need to apply to you, and there are no negative consequences at all. Say, for example, that I put a post up arguing that Priest Holmes should have been given more carries. While there are many potential responses to this (remember, ad hominem and make stuff up so far!), a logic bender will point out that I don't care about Darfur, because I think that all black men ought to be made to carry footballs for my entertainment. A clever application of this technique will have the original author responding to arguments about African militia without even realizing how he got there. This technique is by far the most entertaining to observe when effectively used.

4. Demand Research. Bloggers make staggering sums of money off of your readership, so you should make them work for it. If I point out that the Iraq war is costing us vast sums of money, a proper user of this technique would respond along the lines of "Show me how much new money was spent on tracer rounds for rifles used by the 21st battalion during the seige of Camelville between March and June of 2006. And then compare that to the population of the United States as projected in 2012." This is similar to making stuff up, but it makes the original author look like he or she knows less than you do.

5. Never, ever, under any circumstances, admit that you were wrong. The problem with each of the above techniques is that they can be refuted if the original writer is determined and industrious. Every now and then, you will so frustrate a writer that he or she will go ahead and put in the effort to prove you wrong. The secret in such a case is to never give the writer the satisfaction of acknowledging you're wrong. Instead, simply disappear, change the subject, or toss in a final ad hominem. Remember, you're an anonymous or pseudonymous commenter - you have no need to defend your dignity or integrity. Just move onto the next thread, employ the same techniques, and perform the same service of dumbing down and distracting the conversation. Rational, informed discourse is the enemy, and you are well-armed to defeat it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogs who were fooled before are making silly assumptions and demands based upon the probably-false "story".

I guess probably-false means not really false.

11/12/2007 8:04 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

There you go again, Dan.

You know I try to be on my best behavior when I enter your blog. I take my shoes off when I walk in, always use a coaster, and never, ever end any of my sentences with the word a$$hole.

When have I made stuff up? At least, regarding the EEOC complaint? I'm just repeating things I heard from several people other than TKC. Credible, nice people that don't have a reason to stretch the truth.

I’m not feeling a lot of love from you Dan. It looks like you’re using up all your love for the Shoeless Scourge.

Oh well, guess I’ll just have to accept my spot as 42,378th in line for your affections.

11/12/2007 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lying sack! - Mainstream had to limit his challenge to one specific topic. I've seen him posting all kinds of bs all over the place.

May I add a sixth technique for anonymous 8:04?

6. Comment on the wrong thread. While this technique adds confusion, it's not in the top 5 because it makes you look stupider than a busted hammer.

11/12/2007 8:37 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

To Jethro, 8:37 am above:

One man's BS is another man's opinion.


11/12/2007 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Probably-false" is still looking pretty damned false, anonymous 8:04. The fact that a joke blog has repeated his mammy charge and linked to himself for support doesn't really change things, at least the way I look at things.

Tony lies about race topics. It's his schtick. Dan's just pointing out that he's not to be trusted.

Oh, and I agree with the comment above. WTF is your comment doing in this thread, anyhow?

11/12/2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger les said...

I, like, totally deny that I have failed to use any of the insightful and effective techniques you list, and only a retarded douchebag would insinuate otherwise. I stand in awe, however, at the stunning use of non sequitur displayed in this thread.

Look, a jackalope!!

11/12/2007 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

"Never, ever, under any circumstances, admit that you were wrong"

Hmmm, that makes for a really bad mayor as well.

But then again, if I hold that opinion, or have the temerity to state that opinion, that probably makes me one of the "slow-learning boneheads," which would not be an ad hominem attack. But then again I guess, according to one learned blogger, I have always just been "backward" and "insane." :-)

11/12/2007 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funkhouser admitted Semler was a mistake, didn't he?

Also, if I read Dan correctly, he's calling the commenters he likes "slow-learning boneheads", albeit facetiously. I don't think you're one of the commenters anyone likes, PP.

As for your insanity and backwardness, I don't know where he said that about you, but that's less an ad hominem than it is a terse summation of most of your junk.

11/12/2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

The strongest postive statement I recall Funk make concerning Semler is something to the effect that he might have done something differently, like to do better background checks. That's different than saying appointing her was a mistake.

I don't recall him ever saying he made a mistake.

Note this comment is off-point but in response to a Defender of Dan.

11/12/2007 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truth's somewhere in the middle, closer to anonymous than to Mainstream (but we all expected that, didn't we?): “I’m a very flawed human being,” Funkhouser admitted. “I freely admit to mistakes. Appointing Frances might have been a mistake. But removing her now would certainly be a mistake.”

11/12/2007 2:06 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

It's a good thing everyone understands these sorts of posts are joke posts, because otherwise someone trying to add wanted "depth, perspective and correction" to the conversation by aping XO's most recent comments might think USING lots of CAPS is A GOOD IDEA.

11/12/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...



"appointing Frances Semler might have been a mistake."

Funk said he MIGHT have made a mistake???????

And that's the apology that's being touted?

Well, I've got news for you, I just MIGHT be a big supporter of the great job Funk is doing in office.

Do you beleive that too?

I apologize just about every day, I've apologized on this blog, to my wife and kids, my coworkers, even to people I don't even know because I do stupid things all the time that I regret.

And when I apologize, I really apologize out of respect for the people I may have harmed.

An honest apology is saying you were wrong. And that you're sorry and you regret what you did.


(those caps were a nod to Sophia, thanks for the reminder to YELL LIKE SAM KINISON!!!)

11/12/2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Mainstream, do you ever tire of making a fool of yourself?

Where, I ask you, where did I say that Funkhouser had apologized?? I didn't, now did I? I claimed that he said it was a mistake, and, as demonstrated here, I was pretty darned close to nailing that - he said it might have been a mistake while acknowledging he is a flawed guy who makes mistakes. Good enough for me, and the researcher who found the quote backs me up as being closer to the truth than you (a woefully low standard, I admit).

It's awfully tempting to engage in a little ad hominem now, since you richly deserve to be spanked for attempting to move the goal posts. There's a difference between admitting a mistake and making an apology, as I'm sure even you agree. I never, ever said he apologized, did I?

Type in all-caps if it makes you feel better. Maybe if I did that, you would be able to read the words which are written, rather than the words you imagine.

BTW, I'd like one of those apologies you're so practiced at.

11/12/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




11/12/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Anon at 3;01 pm

I apologize when I'm honestly sorry. In a heartbeat - but I'm not there just yet with this issue.

Funk didn't say he made a mistake. He said he MIGHT have.

Big difference, I think you would agree.

I make a fool out of myself all the time and that prospect in the future doesn't particularly scare me.

I might have made an ad hominem attack, which I'm suseptible to and is always a mistake if one is trying to be credible. I was trying to get a rise out of you and start a brouhaha and it didn't work. I'm not sure if THAT was a mistake or not, but I certainly failed at it.

I did get a little off track on apology vs. admitting a mistake, but the concepts I contend are exactly the same.

Saying you might have made a mistake is not saying you made a mistake. That's just common sense, wouldn't you agree?

11/12/2007 3:28 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Anon at 3:27, you talking to me?


You know even if I we were here live you had the cajones to call me a d-bag, so what?

I'm a d-bag. Wow, you really gave me what's what.

Go back to TKC and continue your d-bag calling contest.

11/12/2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hah - Mainstream, I thought the d-bag comment was directed at me . . .

As for your struggle with the other anonymous, you were both wrong, but s/he was a good deal closer to being right than you were. You claimed he only said he might do things differently, and the context of the actual quotation makes it pretty clear he was admitting a mistake. If we're down to arguing about "might have", we're down to quibbling details, and such detailed parsing is a poor place to resurrect Sam Kinison.

11/12/2007 4:05 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Personally, I read it is an admission that he was wrong. He did so much as say he made a mistake.

However, he clearly worded in a way that intentionally left room for interpretation.

I mean, he could have said "I made a mistake". That would have left room for no interpretation.

As far as the d-bag comment, I just apply the rule that the closest commenter to the d-bag comments gets it.

And after all, I think we're all d-bags in the long run.

11/12/2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Anonymous 1:32 and possibly other times.

The Truth is somewhere in the middle? Sounds a lot like a Dick Morris triangulation, which just about trashed the Clinton Presidency looking back.

The truth is where the truth is - and Funk is a failure is the truth.

You crush me when you say my posts are not popular, perhaps they are not framed right. Ah, but then again truth gets in the way of framing.

"Oh, Mainstream, do you ever tire of making a fool of yourself?" I disagree and rhetorically jab at Mainstream on a regular basis, but I have never said, or inferred, he was a fool.

There is the true measure of the blogger, my dear friend Anonymous. Mainstream can get caught up in the Magic of The Moment politically but Mainstream is not a fool. I will not even broach the topic of apologies there.

Personally I like Sophia's approach, although I admit there are times in a Sophian Empire I would lead the loyal opposition. Sophia has class -- well as much class as is human to have. (wink)

As far as apologies go, I am still waiting for one from Funk -- For running, for appointing Semler, for trying to trade his position for a car, for trying to get a car allowance even when he thought he had a corrupt car, for failing to accept Semler's resignation, for allowing the Shoe-less Scourge to usurp power, for trying to promote his daughter as a player in the policymaking process when she dresses like a .... not a young professional, when she dresses in at all after a shower in the mayor's office, for allowing The Shoe-less Scourge to continue to usurp power, to appoint failed writers for a failing weekly to positions of authority, for allowing his wife to call for security selectively, for bullying members of council by threatening retribution in appointments, for facilitating Jim Nutter's iron handed overruling of an election, and, for keeping the Shoe-less Scourge in his office even when she has proved that she has racist demons.

But I digress,

Tony, this blog tires me and anonymous 1:32 says my comments are not well-liked. Well, Willy Loman wanted to be well liked and look where it got him -- in his basement with a tube in his mouth attached to a gas pipe.

I will choose the truth instead and stick around.

11/12/2007 6:55 PM  
Blogger A Librarian said...

Hey! I thought it was Gore who invented the internet.

11/12/2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thank you, my favorite librarian, for the correction. You are definitely one of the good commenters!

11/12/2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Of the many things I am grateful for in my life, I think that not having PorchPundit's hangover tomorrow morning ranks way up there!

Dude, find a meeting.

11/12/2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

OK, may we review?

1. Use ad hominem attacks, you moron!
2. Make stuff up!
3. Logic is meant to be twisted, so make a few pretzels!
5. Never, ever, under any circumstances, admit that you were wrong.

Dan, How about that? Your post of 8:26 wins 5 of 5 points!

Lord knows Dan never wanted to research anything, like the public interest desirability of a political candidate.

(I am giving you extra credit for point 4, just because I am a nice guy. Besides, I am not the one who is constantly writing about beer.)

And yes "a librarian" it was Al Gore not John Kerry who claimed to have invented the internet -- sort of. But he was on a roll and don't let facts get in the way. I know I am supposed to be SO MEAN but I let stuff go by, when it is a clear brain fart - unlike Dan.

Dan if you would quit tying yourself to seriously flawed politicians you might survive as an influential blogger. If you continue along the path of Ron Ziegler, do not expect an invitation to the convention.

11/12/2007 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

OK, may we review?

1. Use ad hominem attacks, you moron!
2. Make stuff up!
3. Logic is meant to be twisted, so make a few pretzels!
5. Never, ever, under any circumstances, admit that you were wrong.

Dan, How about that? Your post of 8:26 wins 5 of 5 points!

Lord knows Dan never wanted to research anything, like the public interest desirability of a political candidate.

(I am giving you extra credit for point 4, just because I am a nice guy. Besides, I am not the one who is constantly writing about beer.)

And yes "a librarian" it was Al Gore not John Kerry who claimed to have invented the internet -- sort of. But he was on a roll and don't let facts get in the way. I know I am supposed to be SO MEAN but I let stuff go by, when it is a clear brain fart - unlike Dan.

Dan if you would quit tying yourself to seriously flawed politicians you might survive as an influential blogger. If you continue along the path of Ron Ziegler, do not expect an invitation to the convention.

11/12/2007 9:05 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

You are a son of bitch who probably can't even prove that you don't have 6 illegitimate children, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you disrespect Laotians despite the fact that you don't even know the GDP of Laos' biggest province in 1983 and if you think I'm wrong then you are clearly an asshat.

It's a run-on, but I think I got 'em all.

11/12/2007 9:21 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

ooooooooooookay, Dan, is this meant for you, me or Porchie?

I'll hold off responding.

11/12/2007 9:49 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, I think the irony of your post is right on track. Let’s get back to factual postings and enlightened discourse. We should lead by example.

It's about time we started focuing back on public policy. So I'll take your advice.

And I’ll go first.

I’m very disappointed by Funk's approach to his office and it is perhaps best summarized by his upcoming veto of light rail.

Expect in the next city council meeting an ordinance that calls for a Feb 2007 voter approval of a new, improved, affordable and achievable light rail plan.

And expect Funk to veto this ordinance.

That’s right, Funk is, for the first time in Kansas City history, going to veto an ordinance. Not just any ordinance, but the ordinance that would place a plan for a workable light rail starter route on the ballot for a February election.

The reason Funk will veto it is that he wants a regional plan to put on the Nov 2008 ballot. Never mind that that is an unachievable goal. Never mind that it goes against what voters mandated in Nov 2007 -- a Kansas City light rail plan. The Chastain Plan is unworkable, but the Citizens’ Task Force has given us a workable plan, not perfect but a great starting point. Funk is saying no to both groups of citizens.

Because he knows better.

There’s no room for interpretation, voters in 2007 voted for a Kansas City light rail plan, not a regional plan. But Funk will not even consider a Kansas City light rail plan.

That’s not saying to voters, “we can accomplish your objectives in a better way”.

It’s saying to voters, “no, you can’t have what you asked for because you’re wrong.”

And the amazing thing is that Funk has timed everything just right. There isn’t, apparently, enough time for the vast majority of councilpeople to override the veto, because the Feb ballot deadline comes before the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

Funk and Jim Nutter (who makes no qualms about wanting to kill light rail in Kansas City and the region, period) want to move light rail out to a Nov vote. Funk wants to do it because he wants an impossible (in the next 15 years) regional light rail system.

Jim Nutter wants to kill light rail, period.

Now, Jim Nutter was the reason Funk got elected. So who’s got the winning agenda? Nutter's banking on the fact that so many things can happen in the next 12 months, light rail can be guaranteed a death by chaos and competing interests. And you can bet he'll be encouraging the cahoes.

A Funk veto may very well kill a light rail starter line in KC. It contradicts the reasonable intent of voters and as I have just demonstrated, it is the agenda of both Funk and Nutter to do just that, kill a starter line in KC.

11/12/2007 10:21 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Regarding the last word of the last paragraph, "cahoes" is a typing anagram for "chaos".

11/12/2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Where's the "factual" part, Mainstream? All I see is a prediction of the future.

11/13/2007 5:54 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

If you'd like a little factual information, let's start with Funk's quote in the Nov. 9th Primebuzz:

"Mayor Mark Funkhouser said Thursday he'll use "all the tools at (his) disposal" to prevent a February vote on a light rail alternative -- a vote many of his colleagues support."

I've included what is hopefully a link to the full article below:

11/13/2007 7:23 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstream -

Fair enough - you're not making this one up, nor relying on a joke blog. But I'll respectfully (really!) pass on the opportunity to comment on this one - there's a lot that can happen between now and then.

11/13/2007 7:30 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Alot can happen between now and then, whenever "then is", would be an understatement.

But regardless of what happens, this doesn't alter the fact that our mayor campaigned on the fact he would listen to voters and draw them into the process, provide voters information and allow them to make informed choices - and he would work at the direction of regular folks.

This same mayor is now is actively working against a ballot initiative and what is clearly the general will of the people as expressed through (1) the approval of a ballot initiative last year; and (2) as it is reflected in the vast majority of city council people that support a light rail starter route.

In the for-profit workplace this would be considered an act of gross misconduct - insubordination.

In politics you can call it many things, at the very least a betrayal of the public trust.

I think that's a pretty fair conclusion to reach.

11/13/2007 8:10 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Repealing the Chastain plan was soooo clearly the right thing to do that it's not even worth debating.

More debatable is the future. A regional plan would be far better than the starter plan, but I, personally, would do the starter plan first if we can't get tangible progress on a workable regional plan in the VERY near future.

But, like I said, I'm not commenting yet. I will bet you good money, though, that there will be significant developments and change along the way. That's not insider knowledge speaking, that's just experience.

If you want to yell at Mark for stopping the current plans, I'd recommend waiting for him to do it.

11/13/2007 8:26 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Gee, my computer's down one day and I missed this interesting topic (well almost).

We commentors are funny. Many of us, at one time or another, say things on blogs we would never say in person, especially if the same group of people were gathered together in person. I seriously doubt that the people who frequent this blog would verbally attack one another in person ... certainly wouldn't call each other names, etc. without fear of some kind of retribution. For that matter, on a blog we don't even have to come up with a pseudo name that can be tracked around from site to site. Real life reputations can be "protected".

Blog owners are a different story. Even if they want to remain anonymous, few are able to maintain their anonymity and I believe most of them are actually pretty genuine in their posts. If they weren't, people wouldn't visit their blogs. Tony, however, is an enigma. I wonder how many people who comment on his blog have ever met him? I have a hard time seeing his blog as a joke blog despite the cautions from Dan and XO. When I read his site, I usually get pissed off, so I guess whatever he is trying to do works if Dan and XO are right. I rarely comment on his blog because I hate calling people assholes, even on a blog. Yet, I read that damn blog daily, living vicariously through some of the people who do call him an asshole or worse.

Well, so much for psych 101. Have a good day. Oh, have to tell you....I got a new puppy yesterday. He is the cutest baby cocker spaniel you've ever seen. If I had a blog, today I would tell you how he cuddled up in bed with me last night and slept all through the night and how he pooped on my floor this morning and I'd go on and on about what a little darlin he is...

11/13/2007 8:30 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, this has nothing to do with repealing the Chastain Plan. I never even mentioned it.

It has everything to do with killing the starter route.

Repealing the Chastain Plan was the correct thing to do, and the city council took that action with the explicit intention of replacing it with a better, workable light rail plan that could be realized in 3-5 years.

That is, the entire city council except for Funk.

Funk has no intention of supporting a Kansas City light rail implementation, and is working against that.

And he has said so many times publicly, and now, he will cast the first mayoral veto in Kansas City history.

An act that goes directly against the will of the people.

That's the point, and that's the issue.

11/13/2007 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I predict that in the future, Mainstream will stop blaming Funk for things he hasn't done yet . . .

Personally, I think Funk ought to get an opportunity to get support in Kansas for the regional plan. I'd give him a few months.

11/13/2007 10:42 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

A regional plan is several years away from getting approved itself, and the actual rail system is 15 years away, with the federal funding and other issues.

A regional plan can come together concurrently with the implementation of a starter line.

Remember every city has to agree to get it on the ballot, and then vote on it. That will not happen next year.

And remember what voters approved? yeah, that little detail.

The vast majority of the city council, and a majority of this city's voting residents have stated through their votes they want Kansas City light rail.

The only thing that gives Funk the authority to repudiate the people of Kansas City is a parliamentary manipulation he intentionally planned that prevents the city council to override his veto.

11/13/2007 12:56 PM  
Blogger Well Hell Michelle said...

And #6 - Always post as "anonymous".

11/20/2007 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

11/29/2009 3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eh.. amazing ..

12/12/2009 3:53 PM  

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