Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Despotism

I'm very happy to play host to comments that disagree with my posted observations and arguments and, heaven knows, I enjoy my share of snark, and the give and take of contentious, even testy, debates. I publish rather longform blog-posts (well, when time allows) here, and my debates in the Moot are often even longer still. I find this sort of thing provocative and clarifying, and usually fun. Although they both seem to me profoundly wrongheaded and annoy me to no end sometimes, both the bioconservative John Howard and the transhumanist Michael Anissimov, for example, have lately engaged with me and other commenters here in lengthy and passionate debates that have been illuminating in many ways, whatever their downsides.

However, the simple fact of the matter is that this isn't exactly an enormously high-traffic blog, and the conversation of the cohort of smart and accomplished people who enjoy what I talk about here enough to return regularly (none of whom, I hope, agree with me on close to everything) seems to me to get derailed or altogether stymied sometimes by anonymous sniping that makes no discernible contribution to the conversation of Amor Mundi on its owns terms. My own style is acerbic and I enjoy the occasional rant, and so it has always seemed only fair that I would welcome a fair measure of the same in response.

The simple fact remains, however, that I have attracted a handful of trolls who seem to have the inclination to vandalize the conversation that can take place here otherwise. I realize that I should have expected this, since Amor Mundi has become, among other things, one of the places online in which one finds a serious and ongoing online critique of certain Robot Cult discourses, subcultures, and organizations of a kind that otherwise receive only the sustained attention of their own already-fervent membership.

Although the Robot Cult organizations of the so-called transhumanists, extropians, singularitarians, liberal eugenicists, and techno-immortalists remain, for now, quite marginal in the overall institutional scheme of things, they certainly do have the sub(cult)ural and organizational energies to provoke a few overenthusiastic True Believer types in the full-froth of futurological faith into dive bombing into the Moot and dropping dumb insults, unsubstantiated assertions, and highly sophisticated rhetorical gambits along the lines of "I know you are but what am I" all the live-long day, with the consequence that the more edifying company that gathers here tends to quiet or make way for more congenial climbs.

From now on, in light of all this, my responding to comments in the Moot will take one of three forms (only one of them new): [1] I will respond to content, [2] I will ignore content, or [3] I will delete content. You should regard deletion as a real response, with a definite message it's sending.

Even the most egregiously offending commenters have sometimes posted material from which I've benefited and so I am not banning anybody in particular from Amor Mundi, but only content that fails to pass muster on my terms. It's my blog. This salon is taking place in my elegantly appointed suite of rooms, as it were, and anonymous jackholes who think it's cute to swoop in uninvited and poop on the lampshades aren't welcome. I don't have any obligation at all to provide a forum for Robot Cultists or those who want to ridicule the good people who happen actually to like reading and conversing with one another in the Moot.

Don't like it? Fly. It's not like anybody here will miss you.


Queen Maxine said...

Is this meant to be some dramatic ushering-in of a new moment in your blog's history?

I'm not really deterred by this new policy as it differs in no way from the previous policy.

I will continue to criticize you as I see fit. And as always you can do what you want with it. It's not like you've never deleted comments before.

Dale Carrico said...

What a loss to Amor Mundi it will be to delete comments like these.

Anonymous said...

But please, do not disable anonimous comments altogether... There are perfectly good reasons to post anonimously.

Not all of us, anonimous cowards are trolls.

Dale Carrico said...

Yes, I know. I discussed the necessity of anonymity and pseudonymity in several places in my dissertation, actually. My problem here is that I criticize transhumanists and other superlative technocentrics and so I attract an unusual number of idiots and trolls here who clearly have to be policed else my blog becomes an aggravating mess few people I'd want to attract into conversation will have the patience for, since it's low-traffic enough that even a marginal Robot Cult can muster the necessary resources to abuse and derail it.