Declaration of Independence from trolls

The unilateral Declaration of the Blogger

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one blogger to dissolve the permissive bands which have connected him with trolls and to assume among the powers of the Web, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitles him, a decent respect to the opinions of the Blogosphere requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all discourse is not equally valid, nor constructive, nor is anyone endowed by his Creator with any unalienable Right to destroy all Harmony and chance for Civil Discourse in a forum provided by the Labour of Another. All men are equally free, however, to start their Own Blogs, where they will be fully entitled to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


Starting today, if you want to comment on this blog, you must authenticate your identity using something called Typekey. I’m not even sure how it works. I just turned it on, and wrote this post.

This is yet another experiment, designed to make this a civil forum where we can have a lively, constructive interchange of ideas without all the ad hominem, partisan garbage that we have come to expect from a number of malicious people, ranging from merely obnoxious personalities to the truly disturbed. (Most of them have one thing in common, though: They are cowards, as evidenced by their anonymity.) This has kept reasonable people away.

Welcome back, reasonable people. As to those few good souls who actually wished to add to our understanding but had some legitimate (but still mysterious to me) reasons to remain unknown, I’m sorry. This is like the steps taken in response to the Tylenol scare — a few jerks spoiling it for the rest of us. Now, you will have safety seals and a troll-proof cap to get through. Sorry.

We’ll see how this works. If it doesn’t (and within minutes, two or three particularly obsessed individuals who apparently don’t have real lives will be doing all they can to get around it), we’ll try requiring all comments to be approved by me before appearing. I REALLY don’t want to do that, but it’s an option.

So let’s try this.

If you are a legitimate, verifiable commenter who has trouble authenticating with this system, write to me at And be patient. It might be tomorrow before I can do anything about it.

7 thoughts on “Declaration of Independence from trolls

  1. James D McCallister

    Why so worried about trolls? That just comes with the territory in the blogosphere. You just learn to ignore the buffoons.

  2. Brad Warthen

    That was my attitude for a long time, James. But I found over time that they deter reasonable people from taking an active part in the blog. What’s the point in a busy person who is not paid to do this taking the time to express his thoughts carefully if some hostile jerk is just going to say he’s a big fat liar and HERE’s what he REALLY thinks, yadda-yadda?
    The answer, for too many people, is none. The most consistent feedback I get about this blog is “I read it all the time, but I’m not about to get involved in one of those shouting matches.”
    Readership of my blog is up, busting records. But comments are down, largely because the reading public sees the comments as being appropriated by folks with a radio talk-show mentality.
    So this can go one of two ways — either I have fewer comments for a while, and thoughtful people start getting involved, or I just have few comments permanently. Either way, it’s good to get rid of the trolls.

  3. Doug Ross

    Hmmm… “readership is up, busting records” but the number of comments is down. Maybe all those readers are coming to read the comments that try to align your perception with reality?
    If you’ve got a strong enough argument and facts to support a position, I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid to engage in the debate. I mean you ignore basic questions about why The State should be exempt from sales taxes and how the single payer healthcare system would actually work. Why would any other reader be afraid to just post a “Me too!” content free response?

  4. Brad Warthen

    Well, Doug, it might just be that they don’t wish to express their thoughts to someone who, instead of saying, “I disagree, and here’s why,” says, “OK, here I come to align your perception with reality.”
    That’s not the way their mamas taught them that civilized grownups should discuss important issues.
    Anyway, that’s my guess. But I approved Doug’s rather borderline-civil response in order to give you shy folk a chance to answer him with your actual reasons for hanging back.
    Come on, now. Step on out. You can do this. I’m right here. I won’t let Doug or anybody else be mean to you…

  5. Doug Ross

    >> But I approved Doug’s rather
    >>borderline-civil response in order to give
    >>you shy folk a chance to answer him with
    >>your actual reasons for hanging back.
    chirp.. chirp.. crickets…

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