Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 28, 2011
I wish my enemies would know me better

Running a blog entails a lot of difficulties with people who are very opposed to your opinions. Particularly the issue of comment moderation is an extremely tricky one. People who followed this blog for some time should know that A) I do have problems handling this issue, and B) one flaw I have is talking excessively about the issues I have. So over the time I received tons of comments and mails asking me to shut up already about comment moderation. As you can see here, it didn't work.

I have run many experiments on comment moderation, with and without anonymous posting, with and without pre-approval necessary, and everything from letting all comments through to turning all comments off. And in all these years I have been extremely open about what I was doing. I wrote terms of service. I always explained which comments I let through and which I moderate. I've had long e-mail discussions with people who felt their comments were unjustly moderated.

So given my flaws of talking too much about comment moderation, I am somewhat insulted by Syncaine's accusation that somewhere over the last weeks in some thread he made ONE comment that would have completely destroyed my argument, and I deleted that comment secretly without telling anybody and am now denying it. The most generous interpretation I can find is that he is simply mistaken, and his comment was victim to some technical glitch. I didn't even find it in my spam filter. But right now I'm not feeling very generous, and I find it more likely that Syncaine just made that story up.

It is so damn easy to point a finger at me and say "Evil Tobold deleted my brilliant arguments refuting his point!", without even mentioning what that argument was. It is a classic "I said, he said" situation, where the existence of said comment can neither be proven nor dis-proven. Thus it makes for a brilliant accusation, as I can't defend myself against it. Even me pointing out all the comments of Syncaine I didn't moderate (in spite of some being borderline trollish, and nearly all of the disagreeing with me) cannot prove I didn't sneakily censor that one comment nobody ever saw.

I do not need to lie about censoring Syncaine. As I said yesterday, I had enough of the guy, his insults, his trolling, and his accusations, and I am quite openly blocking him from now on. Or to be more technically correct, I will block all comments in the future signed "syncaine", which means I would block comments from other people pretending to be Syncaine, while I wouldn't block comments from Syncaine if he posted them under a different name I wasn't aware about. My blog doesn't have Real ID. :) I can live with the guy telling me I don't understand hardcore EVE players, which isn't much of an insult, and at least partially true, although I doubt the hardcore players understand their motivations much better than somebody looking at them from the outside. But when he makes up accusations that would be so completely out of character from me, I don't see the point in engaging with his opinions any further.

Frankly...about time. Could not agree with this more...and judging by his blog, which is already its own concerted attack on this one, he'll get by just posting his venom there.

I like your blog even if I choosed to "subscribe" and comment just recently. By starting a blog by myself, I became a little more interested in participating to good blogs (yours is one of them).

That said, I find that you don't have the right focus when it comes to moderation and comments management.

I would personally try to solve my problems with someone in a private way (facebook? g+? email? messenger? pigeon?). I am sure you are both mature people who could at least TRY to find a way to live peacefully on the web.

If you really cannot solve your problem/s with a specific user, jsut apply the ban hammer and that's over. No need to openly declare what you are doing here. It's your (free) blog, no one really cares if you band someone who keeps attacking you.

I wont enter in the specific situation of you and Syncaine, because I don't care at all. But let me say that from a reader's point of view, you both look a bit childish and immature. And -as stated above- I am sure you are not.

Please keep offering good articles and move on. If you think you're not able to do that, I'll be glad to follow you on Google+, but not here.


I think you should open comments (registration required). By moderating them from time to time you kinda kill/slow the discussion flow.
In an average week at least a couple of my comments to Tobold's Blog disappear into the ether. In my case it has nothing to do with you censoring them, it's because the various levels of security running on my PC often block communication between me and the outside world.

If I forget to switch certain things off before I hit "Publish Your Comment" in Blogger then my comment just vanishes. It happens so often that I am in the habit of copying my comments to this blog into the buffer before hitting the button.

I do get an error message, but if I'm posting in a hurry, just before I go to work for instance, it's easy for me to miss it and believe I have successfully sent a reply to a thread when I haven't.

Sometimes as far as I can tell the comment actually has been sent but it just never arrives. I can see this happen occasionally on blogs where there is no moderation and my comment would normally appear instantly. Or rather I can see it not happen.

As a member of the "cock-up not conspiracy" club I'd bet that SynCaine did send a comment and you didn't receive it. It's by far the simplest explanation, too.
From a commenter over at Syncaine's blog:

" said…

Did my comment on this thread go into your spam filter, or did you intentionally not approve it?

21/10/11 18:48"

So was Syn planning it all along? :)
And if it was an evil conspiracy by me, why would I not have deleted that comment as well, Wyrm?
Not saying you are conspiring Tobold, but you are calling him a liar when you have no cause to. Even if you didn't moderated the comment it's obvious that Syncaine wrote something that didn't make it to the front page.

And since your definition of "insulting comments" varies according to your mood it's as plausible that you deleted it as the internet swallowed it.
at least he isn't calling you his "enemy"...
It is fairly pointless. Only you are responsible for how you feel. Just because someone calls to a lair you are making the choice to feel defensive.
The Fact is someone posted that you deleted their post and that they said you did it because your arguments were fallible. That is the only fact. Whether you did delete the post of not improvable. Is the fact inflaming? I don’t really think so. The inflaming part is you feel that the way someone else feels about you is wrong. Tough cookies.
That is like someone coming up to me and just saying “You don’t like me, you are mean.” I can control how I feel, but not how they feel. I can choose to feel and present offense and try to “prove” to them I have no Ill feelings toward them, but it is up to them to interrupt my actions and turn it into an impression and then feeling. There is no way to prove my feelings to them, and there is no way for me to directly change their feelings. I can choose to become upset and worry on the feeling that Such-and-Such thinks poorly of me, or I can say “Sorry you feel that way, but it was never my intention to act like I disliked you” and write off the responsibility of how the person feels to them and not myself. It is either that or burn countless emotion calories trying to convince them. It is like taking offense to the 5 year old when you ask them “Do you love daddy” and the kid nods yes, and “do you like Mommy” and the kids shakes his head. It really isn’t any easier when someone is an adult. Personally, I try may best not to be persistently upset for hours over a head shake that took 2 seconds.
Sometimes my mother-in-law calls up my wife and says to her she is a horrible daughter, my spouse use to fall to tears crying. The idea that her mother could feel that way about her was devastating. I spent years telling her you can’t control how you mother feels. Can you think of any reasonable facts, that would make her say that based on things you have done recently? No? Well, than of all things DON’T feel BAD. If she WANTS to feel that way it is her choice. Feel angry, or sad, write off her words as “crazy” but don’t feel bad and cry for hours. You can’t control how she feels, it is unfortunate, but all you can try to control how upset it makes you. I did say “I do not think it is fair to the family that something that your Mom says that takes her no effort and maybe 5mins, can result in your shutting down and being unavailable to family for hours.” She is doing “better.” It is now 20mins rants of how “My mom is such a bitch” as opposed to hours of tears. It just proves you can change/control how you feel. It is my hope one day it will just be “I am sorry you feel that way Mom, is there something else you would like to talk about? If not I’m going to get off the phone?.”
Point is in life there many facts, but many people confuse facts will feelings or interpretations. Saying “John came into work at 8am on tues” is a fact. Saying “John normally comes in at 8am” is an interpretation/feeling. Saying “ John came in late wed, because he arrived at 9am instead of 8am”, is a feeling. If you started getting upset with John for “coming in late” that is your fault not his. Point is Facts can’t upset anyone, but they are rare. It is the sub-conscious interpretation that leads to a feeling. Most people view interpretations as facts, and then form very hard to change feelings. You can’t change facts, so when someone holds a feeling or interpretation as a fact it often takes an enormous amount of effort to change.

Tldr: Don’t worry about how others feel, worry about how you feel. If someone is sad and you want to cheer them up great. But understand you CAN NOT force them to cheer them up. It is up to them how they feel. Same point: If someone thinks you’re a jerk you can’t force them to change their feeling. If they refuse to change it… deal working on not letting it bother you.
Bah, I subscribe to your blog to listen to your posts be it a rant or whatever.

I'd never even knew about this Syncaine if you didn't post about him and have no interest in even looking him up. He sounds quite... petty.

So chin up, in any argument I'll side with you over your enemy cos... I subscribe to your blog, not his. :)
/kick ?

He's a griefer in everything he plays, including blogging!

It's your blog and I think everyone still reading it accepts your judgement on this one.

How is it obvious that Syncaine wrote something that didn't make it to the comment section, because he said so?

I'm sorry but I hate when Syncaine posts on Tobold's blog. He constantly argues the letter of the post and not the heart of it. He constantly nitpicks at everything Tobold says and it takes away from the intelligent discussions that occur here. This isn’t debate class or Mock Trial where you score points for picking someone apart for using the wrong word. We discuss idea’s here, not the sometimes incorrect words we use to convey those ideas.

Tobold is one of the few blogs I read, not because I agree with him all the time but because he typically starts interesting conversations. Syncaine takes away from that.
I don't know the deal with you and Syn, as I'm pretty new to this game and don't know I've ever read his blog (it doesn't seem to be linked on any of the sites I do read, so other than a few mentions here, I never hear about it).

That said, I'm going to fall back on an American Library Associate quote (who knows by whom or whether they were quoting someone else; I don't have the book I saw it in at hand, which was Ratvitch's The Langauge Police if anyone cares to check me).

"Tolerance is meaningless without tolerance for the intolerable."

That doesn't mean you can't take action, which you have, but keeping an open mind means meeting all your enemies on the field of intellectual battle.

Then again, I'm just happy comments are enabled here again at all!

This are just my 2 cents.

Both Tobold and Syncaine got well-visited and interesting blogs. If you don't read them yet, you should start reading them now. Both have a sharp intellect and can argue well if they want.

Unfortunately, both also tend to escalate difficult situations in a kind of "offense in the best defense" manner. But if you feel personally attacked, offense is never the best defense on the internet, because everybody has the same resources (insults) and doesn't incur any penalties for using them. Neither parties' stock of mean insults ever diminishes.

Both should try to understand that there is no battle going on unless you make it one. Don't allow yourself to assume a defensive frame of mind: There is no need to defend yourself; you're safe behind that screen! Act in a way that makes your blogs become better. In German they say you: start thinking from the end. What do you want to achieve? How do you get there?

Finally, I have yet to meet a person in my life that genuinely wanted me harm. Maybe I have just been lucky, but giving the other party the benefit of a doubt and trying to understand its actions is usually the best strategy. And even if it turns out that the other party, indeed, wants you harm, you're in a much better position if you spent some time understanding its motives and way of thinking.
Syncaine is a strange person to complain about this. He has his own blog! There is a certain amount of futility in trying to censor him. I would assume that any rejected comment would simply be pushed to the front page of his blog (where it would get more exposure than a mere comment section). Why bother?

But if Syncaine has some awesome argument, where is it? Why wasn't something so gloriously persuasive already its own blog post on his blog?
Think of it like your house. You don't have to let these guests in. There's a difference between a disagreement and outright disrespect. If someone does the latter, kick them out.

I don't expect that every time I post a comment you or anyone else reads it in the first place.

This is your blog. Don't let a guest dictate the atmosphere here.
Some trolls have blogs and some bloggers too often behave like trolls. I would just not feed them too much.

But it's always a pity when potentially interesting discussions go down the drain because one side is publicly starting to throw insults and rudeness.

The internet is just a big schoolyard too often than not.

It is so obvious that you're not married! :P
Although it seems you have already made up your mind and blocked Syncaine, you would do well to keep in mind that Syncaine thrives on conflict, and is thus a pvper even when blogging. Agreeing is boring to him so he will always seek out that portion of your posts and comments that he can nitpick at, misonstrue, etc.

I don't see this so much as trolling as I don't believe his goal is to ruin your mood/day (though it can resemble it at times), but when you go in attempting to resolve a conflict, recall that he has no such similar goal. You two are each having a different conversation due to your respective natures. I suspect that if he is attempting to understand you at all, it is to characterize you in such a way as to get you riled up enough to respond.

In that sense, it would seem he understands you fairly well.
We live in a world where we think what he have to say actually matters. Myself included.

I actually like Syncaine, but commenting on someone's blog is not a god-given right.

I'd ban anyone from my blog I bloody well felt like and f**k anyone who didn't like it.
There is a certain amount of futility in trying to censor him.

I don't think censor is the right word for what I want to achieve. I want to stop engaging with Syncaine. Or as one reader said, stop feeding the troll. That is a lot easier if he is on his blog and not on mine.
Frankly, i've read your blog for YEARS, and if I had a serious problem with how you interacted with commenters I would have left long ago. You are certainly more than vocal about the entire thing.

I also regularly post off-topic comments and have certainly disagreed vehemently in the comments in the past, and have only occasionally lost comments, 100% of which were my or bloggers fault. In my own world view, you are obviously not censoring too much if what I personally say get through!
I've followed your blog for years, and the meta posts about comment moderation never bother me, as your writing is what is interesting not just commentary on MMO.

Hardcore EVE players? Don't make me laugh. I'm almost 30 and I have no problem admitting that as a young teen I was an obnoxious l33t speak spewing PKer, griefer, and scammer in UO. Very attractive, I know.

Well I had a rude awakening in WoW when my antics weren't tolerated by the community and got my friends and I blacklisted from raiding and participating. I had to grow up fast.

The "hardcore EVE player" mindset is perpetually stuck in that adolescent mindset. I've been there, I understand it, and theirs no refuting it.

If it's competition with high stakes they want, theirs plenty of places to get it. They could at least be honest about their motivations.

Regardless, anyone with that point of view should know what yours is if they are posting here. It reminds me of super conservative fundamentalists writing protest letters that television shows they DON'T watch offend them. Why do they bother? Why do they care?

If content offends or annoys you, or you disagree with it, feel free to ignore it.
You take Synciane too seriously. I read his post about you "censoring" him and laughed at his apparent inability to correctly identify a technical glitch or spam filter. It's perfectly clear to blog readers what's going on so you don't need to get defensive about it.
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