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Thursday, February 21, 2008

On the nature of Trolls

I haven't visited the Whatevereque in a while, for reasons I've mentioned elsewhere.

But, as one of the original members of the forum and as what was once one of it's most prolifically posting commenters, I feel a certain compulsion to to stick my head in every once in a while and see if the situation has improved.

So I did, and it has not. If fact, I think it's gotten worse.

A number of juvenile, asinine dickheads have taken up residence, and they seem to be attracting more juvenile, asinine dickheads. You simply can't have a decent conversation without these trollish children sticking their dirty noses into it. When they can't find a suitable thread for their obnoxious bullshit, they start one. I've used the 'enemies' function to suppress comments from people that I find idiotic, annoying, stupid, disruptive, and just plain obnoxious - and that doesn't leave much. This irritates me, tremendously, because the place was interesting and just plain fun before the population turned into the IMDB comment thread.

I've noticed a few things:
1) Almost without exception, people who engage in trollish behavior use online handles instead of their names. I find this fairly telling. I suspect that in real life they are unhappy, friendless jerks of the sort who believe that it's the rest of the world who is responsible for their misery. Without exception, trolls lack respect for any opinion other than their own, even if a commenter agrees with them. The very fact that there are opinions other than their own seems to make them insane, and they immediately resorted to bluster, name calling, and empty threats. However, I suspect that in real life they are timid cowardly creatures who can only find their courage when hiding behind the anonymity of pseudonyms. I suspect that in real life, they are the type of people who lie about themselves, their experience, their past - to make themselves seem more interesting, more important, or more credible than everyone else around themselves. I suspect that as a species, trolls hate themselves even more than they hate others, and the only thing that keeps them from slitting their own throats is the belief that the world simply couldn't survive without them - I think they regard their behavior as a public service.
2) I find trollish pseudonyms enlightening. Take 'Sgt E" for example in the above 'e' link. Here's a guy who by his own admission, was in the Marines for about ten years, leaving the service about ten years ago. Yet he still identifies himself by his (assumed) former military rank. I suspect, though I don't know him personally (and really, really wouldn't want to), that he is one of those blowhard assholes who demands respect and attention for his service all those years ago. I suspect he is one of those annoying vets who constantly brings up his former military experience, regardless of it's relevancy, in every conversation - because it's the only thing he has. By his own admission his experience in the combat zone was brief and limited, and is now a decade or more out of date - yet he considers himself an expert in all things military, or even vaguely military related, or anything not military related. It's fairly apparent to me that he considers his former service as a trump card in any conversation, military related or not. I know a few folks like this, and they are without exception avoided by everybody around them. I suspect that the online community is the only form of sustained interaction they get.
3) Trolls, as a group, seem to require validation. They constantly list their (supposed) credentials, relevant to the situation or not. I.e. "As a former National Guard supply clerk, short order cook, IT Wizard, and dog groomer I'm sure everyone will agree with me when I say your opinion of The Princess Bride theme song is totally lame and that you are stupid and ugly." There are times when your background is relevant and it is necessary to state your experience in a conversation - but trolls do it in almost every post. This, to me, speaks volumes about their lack of self worth and self confidence.
4) Trolls seem to require conflict. They seem to be incapable of interacting with other people on any kind of equitable or respectful basis. I suspect that in real life, they are the annoying dickheads who manage to insinuate themselves into every meeting or presentation and who constantly argue over minor points and throw up roadblocks until you just want to beat them over their square heads with the powerpoint projector.
5) Trolls are incapable of letting go. They must always have the last word. They must. Have the last word. Always. Must.
6) Trolls cannot admit error. They may start out sounding fairly reasonable, but they will inevitably, and in short order, resort to the most inane and bizarre rationalizations to justify their positions. They consider themselves intellectuals, and they'll link and quote and cherry pick any source to make their point. The argument, whatever it may be, is the single most important thing in their pitiful lives, if they lose, they lose it all.
7) Trolls have no sense of humor, they are deadly serious about everything - even humor.
8) Trolls always, without exception, consider themselves 'students of the human condition.' When called on their obnoxious behavior by a third party, they will invariably reply that they are just trying to provoke a 'real' response in their targets in order to 'understand the situation better.' They consider their bile and vitriol justified because they are 'trying to cut through the bullshit and get to the heart of the matter.'
9) Trolls consider politeness and respect to be the purview of small minds and the weak. A real man speaks his mind, bluntly, and lets the chips fall where they may. If you're offended by anything a troll says, it's your failing, not his.
10) Trolls are offended by anything and everything, no matter what the subject or the context. Trolls can twist any off-hand comment into a personal insult. When countered, Trolls will inevitably decide that even though they aren't insulted per se, the commenter has insulted a large group that they're a part of, i.e. Dog Groomers, Evangelicals, the Marines, America, Martian Americans, something, and it is the Troll's civic duty to take up the sword in the offended party's defense.


One of the reasons I've never made the effort to expand my reader base, is because I don't want these trollish idiots showing up on my electronic doorstep. I like you people, I think you're fun and interesting. Scalzi often says that his readers are just words on a screen to him, he's not being an ass, that's just how he feels about it and with 50K plus readers a day I can understand why. But for me, you people are a bit more than that, and I enjoy the sense of community I get from our interactions and I won't allow Stonekettle Station to turn into the shit flinging monkey fest I see over on the Whateversque. I've had a few trolls around here; you might not have noticed them, because I delete their bullshit without comment as soon as I notice it, along with the spam.

No snappy wrap up, I just thought it needed to be said, again.

77 comments:

  1. I suspect that in real life, they are the annoying dickheads who ... you just want to beat them over their square heads with the powerpoint projector."

    Amen

    But I do use pseudonyms, for various reasons. So I'm sensitive about people assuming this:

    "I suspect that in real life, they are the type of people who lie about themselves, their experience, their past - to make themselves seem more interesting, more important, or more credible than everyone else around themselves."

    But I am who I am, and I think you could eventually tell if I were BSing about anything I've done.

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  2. I haven't been to Whateveresque since the changeover. I miss the old blog, where almost every comment was funny, but still conscientious (well, except the mash-up after the goatse, etc. thing, which was decidedly not conscientious, but still funny).

    I think I'm going through a grief period, as I used to read Scalzi every day.

    I don't get many trolls, and like you, I just delete them when they show up. I can't be bothered.

    But I miss the Whatever-that-was. Can I come see you, instead? I might buy one of your bowls...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I suspect that Scalzi was doing the 'e' as an experiment ot see if Doctorow's theories about online communities were correct.

    They were.

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  4. Well, John, I don't really consider your "John the Scientist" a real pseudonym :) Plus you have a blog where people can track you back and find out more about you, so I don't think you really fit the bill of anonymous.

    Cam, you're always welcome.

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  5. Jim,

    I know its painful, but did you actually read that thread you linked? Sarge is practically the well behaved guy in the room. My other 'old buddy' taustin is such a complete, unmitigated asshole, the smell comes right through the intertoobs. I mean really.

    And what the hell do you have against Martian-Americans?

    BTW, did you get my email yesterday or did I go to spam?

    ReplyDelete
  6. And, I'm having lunch with ScienceGuy™ next Tuesday. I'll report back on all the lies he's been deceiving us with.

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  7. Nathan, ur, sorry, yep you ended up in the spam queue. I've retrieved your wayward email, and chastised the spam catcher. It won't happen again. Bad spam catcher, no biscuit. I'll get you a reply soonest.

    I still thought Sarge was acting like an ass, and I think he posted the original comment not because he was actually interested in other opinions, but because he knew it would generate the poo-flinging it did. However, I do agree that of the three major trolls in the thread, Sarge, Taustin, and Skar, he is the least obnoxious. But that's like saying Condi Rice is the least offensive member of the Bush Cabinet.

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  8. Take a picture of the science guy too - he might not even be a science guy. Plus, if he isn't wearing a lab coat, you know he's not really a scientist - all real scientist wear lab coats. :)

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  9. I have a pseudonym I used to use as a moderator on a forum that had about 10K members the last time I looked. I needed anonymity so I could smack people down and be able to keep the nutjobs from finding me in meatspace. Really. We're talking psycho-wacko-crazy.

    I don't moderate or even participate there anymore. It's devolved. I keep in touch with about 50 or so people I met there through other forums and blogs, but I don't go back to the original. It's too painful in lots of ways.

    Now, your other point, about people listing all their credentials...Have you looked at Andrew Burt's "all about me" page and his list of "achievements" and "credits"? Wow. All that needs added to the list is "Chief Bottle Washer, Domicile de Burt."

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  10. "...you people are a bit more than that, and I enjoy the sense of community I get from our interactions and I won't allow Stonekettle Station to turn into the shit flinging monkey fest I see over on the Whateversque."

    Amen, brother. Hot Chicks and Smart Men are allergic to monkey poo.

    I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed that Scalzi has allowed that kind of behavior over at the "e," for the reasons you mention. I understand why he's chosen not to moderate it, but it's a shame.

    Although I must admit that I almost wish one of those asstards would show up in the one of the UCF blogs - just so we could wield the Shovel of Doom™ or gas grill of retribution or whatever to best effect. I doubt that will happen, though, since we spank them often enough that only the most obtuse Troll would assume they would welcome.

    Oh, wait...

    May I have your permission to publish your troll definition (with full credit, of course) over at Hot Chicks? I want to be able to refer to it if necessary.

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  11. OK OK OK.

    Look, I didn't mean everybody who uses a handle is a troll. Only that trolls seem to hide behind handles.

    I use the handle "HMS Beagle" over on Pharyngula for the same reason Tania does, I don't want the dickheads following me home in meatspace.

    I'm NOT bashing pseudonym using people. NOT.

    And I do NOT have anything against Martian Americans, Nathan, even if they did come here to suck out our brains and steal our water.

    Janiece, publish away.

    (Properly chastised, he exits stage right. Actually he's off to fix the neighbor's laptop)

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  12. Tania, just looked at Burt's page. Yeah, what you said.

    Pinball repairman? And WTF is a Peripatetic Philosopher? I mean I know what the words mean, but together? As a skill? Huh?

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  13. I'll thank you to start referring to me as Cpl. K, you sniveling snot.

    Ahem.

    Sorry, lost my mind there for a sec. Nice convergence, though, with the most recent XKCD comic.

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  14. David, you made me LAUGH OUT LOUD.

    HA!

    Signed, Senior Chief M

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  15. I'm also from the school of "this is my living room and if you don't play nice I'll throw your ass outta here" moderation.

    Life is too short to put up with that kind of abuse.

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  16. Jim, I like reading your posts.

    I may disagree with you in the future, and if I do, I'll think about why. Might change my mind, might not. But I'll worry about that if it happens.

    I haven't disagreed with you yet. But more than agreeing with what you say, I like how you say it. I like that you think about what to say, before you say it. And I like that you proofread what you say. I know you do that because I've found damn few typos, or missing words, or unfinished sentences.

    So count me a fan.

    And I really like our group. I'm happy to be a part of it, and glad you all accept me. Makes me want to be better, and that's a feeling that's worthwhile.

    You guys are all right!

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  17. I think rank has to be seized Nathan. I'm pretty sure that begging boots you down lower.

    My special rank, for instance, is the Goddess of Sarcasm. Bestowed upon me in college, though I have absolutely no idea why.

    I'm still visiting Whateveresque, but I avoid any topic that has the names of "those people" in it. Mostly that leaves me to the sily posts, but I'm okay with that for now.

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  18. Michelle I am SHOCKED that you are comfortable with silly. Shocked, I say.

    ReplyDelete
  19. TBFTL?

    Too Beautiful & Faster than Light?

    Tribal Bwana For Ten Lives?

    Tasty Burger From Tender Llamas?

    Give Janiece.

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  20. I'm sorry Tania.

    I thought you knew.

    (shuffle) (look at floor)

    Hi. My name is Michelle and... and I'm silly.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Heh, one of the reasons I like it 'round here, aside from the smart or smartass commentary is the lack of trollage.
    I remember a while back on the Whatever, TNH equating lack of full name for trollage and our good MWT being dumped out, baby with the bath water. Not saying you're doing that, Jim, just having me a moment when my memory *doesn't* fail me.

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  22. Michelle, the toothed penguin kinda gave that away. ;)

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  23. Yes. I remember that too.

    Can we say "hypocrites" because who in that thread were being the trolls? Who didn't ever come back after leaving her drive-by insults? Who wasn't mature enough to admit he was wrong and apologize when ten other people called him on it?

    And who still does drive-by insults of Whatever commenters on a regular basis? (And gets away with it on account of being who he is to Scalzi.)(e.g. this thread. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm just reading it wrong, but I can't.)

    It's why I don't go to Making Light anymore. After that incident, the elitism over there started having whole new flavors that were much less to my liking. (No offense to those of you who still enjoy reading it.)

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  24. MWT, I stopped at Making Light when PNH and TNH wrote a piece basically to the effect that the US presence in Vietnam was worse than the subsequent purges and Pol Pot taking over Cambodia.

    I can not reason with such people who are so sure of themselves without any real understanding of what they are talking about. (I went to the USSR partially to sort propaganda from fact on both sides.) I know exactly what you mean about elitism.

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  25. MWT, I stopped at Making Light when PNH and TNH wrote a piece basically to the effect that the US presence in Vietnam was worse than the subsequent purges and Pol Pot taking over Cambodia.

    I can not reason with such people who are so sure of themselves without any real understanding of what they are talking about. (I went to the USSR partially to sort propaganda from fact on both sides.) I know exactly what you mean about elitism.

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  26. Er, I was pretty sure I only hit "post" once. Sorry.

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  27. Holy Moly, I went next door to fix the neighbor's laptop and missed a great discussion on my own friggin' blog.

    The good news is that I fixed the machine, couple of bad sectors on the drive. Classic bounce pattern - yep, he dropped it. Easily fixed without reformatting. No data lost. Yah.

    I don't have much of an opinion on Making Light or it's owners. I've been by a few times, found the writing style and subject matter uninteresting and moved on.

    Tom, I have a foolproof method of proofreading. I check the draft very very careful, push 'publish', read the post - at which point all of the typos become glaringly obvious, then I go back and edit on the fly as fast as I can, hoping to fix stuff before you show up.

    I don't ever remember MWT as being anything other than a polite and interesting fellow. I must of missed the day he was trolling :)

    Janiece, What does your comment mean. I feel I'm teh funny, please explain so that old Warrant officers can understand

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  28. And speaking of proof reading, that last comment addressed to Janiece should have read, I feel I'm missing teh funny - not I am the funny. Crap, there goes Tom in disgust.

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  29. Jim,

    I use your proofreading method, pretty much exactly. I just posted to my blog and after hitting publish, I found a hugely embarrassing number of typos and other crap that I can only prey I dealt with before anyone got a look.

    Janiece,

    Third bullshitter from the left? I'm hurt. Really hurt.

    MWT,

    I don't recall the original thread you're referring to (I'd like to see it), but in the case you linked, I see more snark than slapdown. Just my read.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It was the debacle on Wikipedia involve the death of Fred Saberhagen.

    My opinions remain unchanged, incidentally. Scalzi was in the wrong with how he behaved (and although he never explicitly agreed with me, I think some of what I said did sink in somewhere). The thing that seems to annoy people who rush to defend him, is that they automatically assume that by saying Scalzi is wrong, the other guy (Quatloo?) was in the right. Which I'm not. Everyone involved was wrong. It's why the whole thing got farked, because it was just so very lame all around.

    My final sum-up thoughts ended up being one of those cryptic wise things that everyone loves.

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  31. Oh yeah, that thread.

    For what it's worth, MWT, I agree with you. That whole deal was pretty lame.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sorry,

    As my interest in Wiki is zero, I didn't follow that thread very far. I will take a look and render my opinion, which I know is causing you and everyone else on the internet sleepless nights waiting.:D

    ReplyDelete
  33. For the love of God, Nathan, hurry up, would you? I want to go take a shower, but I'm stuck here until you render your opinion. Come on, man, come on.

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  34. Yeah, our little subset of Whatever[esque] refugees is pretty awesome. I've taken quite a shine to the lot of you. :)

    BUT, what is, "UCF" ? I think I missed a critical piece of something critically critical. I don't think you're all from the University of Central Florida -- so it must be something else.

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  35. Us Cool Folks?

    Just stabbin' in the dark here, really.

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  36. University of California, Fresno?
    Uncle Cooter's Farm?
    Universal Cable Feed?

    Help me, I can't stop...

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  37. Union of Collaborating Founders. So named when Nathan started his blog, and had an instant commenter community already. ;)

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  38. "Union of Coercive Friends" cause, ya know, we made him start a blog!

    Or... Unusually Crazy Freaks. Substitute your own F-word.

    I think it was originally just C.F. (Collaborating Founders, as MWT says). I don't know who added the Union. But that means we're each eligible to do a "State of the Union" post sometime in the future.

    Jim, comments don't count toward a mistake quota. I'd be over, otherwise. It's like calories from ice cream don't count if you make your float with diet soda.

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  39. WTF?

    I do normal stuff like sleep and stuff you have to do in the morning after you've slept and stuff you do after you've done the stuff you do after you've slept and then you pay a visit and find out people have been talking while you were out of the room. No fair!

    The information on the founding of the U.C.F. can be found here.

    And if any of you are waiting for me to comment on my opinion of the Wiki comment thread...you'll be waiting a long time. I honestly don't know WTF most of those people were talking about. My brain glazed over by about the tenth comment.

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  40. Nathan- the upshot is that Wiki is trying to deal with the problem of open source submissions by having volunteer editors keep out obvious crap. Some editors are more lenient than others, some have more tact than others, some respond quicker than others.

    Scalzi had a snit fit because the Wiki editor didn't take him at his word that Saberhagen had died. He apparently didn't supply a whole lot of evidence that he knew what he was talking about. The Wiki editor didn't bother to look up who Scalzi or Harlan Ellison (Scalzi's source) was.

    Scalzi had an inflated sense of his own importance, and the editor was an officious twit. But why TF Scalzi thought it was so important that Saberhagen's entry be updated RIGHT NOW is beyond me.

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  41. Oh yes, PNH has his head very far up his ass with this one:

    "If you want the genuine output of the whole world's input, you need to stop empowering the volunteer hall monitors over every other kind of human. Jimmy Wales needs to put that in his pipe and smoke it."

    OK, then put the effort into editing and publishing your entire slush pile. Same deal.

    Prof Dutch said it best:

    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. (Robert Wilensky)

    Because according to the internet, Ron Paul will be President and Serenity is the best movie evah (Fizzyland)

    It's not so much surfing as Dumpster-Diving. I used to wonder how bad it could be if we just let anybody publish their ideas. Now I know. Real bad."

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey now, Serenity is the best movie evah, right after The Thirteenth Warrior :) (Yeah, TTW is my very favorite movie ever, what's it to ya?)

    I usually find Scalzi to be fair and reasonable, and admit when he's doing something stupid. That's why I was so surprised by his behavior during that incident. It was as if he was affronted by the fact that anybody would question him on a matter regarding Saberhagen. Yet, he really had no real verified info - it wasn't even up on Saberhagan's own site. Like MWT said though, Quatloo was being a bit over zealous as well. Everybody involved was in the wrong, so far as I could tell, and the situation could have been easily resolved with a little patience and both parties part. And I was amused at the number of folks who rushed to Scalzi's defense in sycophantic support - without any facts other than Scalzi has been wronged, we must defend him.

    What killed me about the entire incident was this: People criticize Wikipedia entries as inaccurate and unsupported opinion, and yet when the editors insist on verified sources and references those same people get bent out of shape.

    I thought MWT, who has both experience and first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of Wikipedia, did a good job of explaining the process and attempting to fix the situation. Instead of listening to him (and I think Scalzi was starting too at one point), he got ignored (or dumped out with the bathwater as somebody said above). I expect more from the Whatever readers, and from Scalzi - and I usually get it. I think that incident was an aberration, for the most part. And everybody is entitled to act like an ass once in a while.

    PNH's comment I basically ignored, since he provided no justification for his opinion and recommendation, other than to mention Cory Doctrow - which I didn't see as relevant.

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  43. I remember that thread because it was so contrary to logic. MWT was offering a measured objection to Scalzi's behavior (great synopsis, by the way, John) and that impressed me, basically because of the few who attempt objecting, even fewer do it well. Then the N-Hs decended and in an extremely trollish manner started calling MWT a troll. WTF? I already knew I didn't like Making Light (very insular community & if you don't agree with them, fuck you) so no additional damage done there, but it did affect my opinion of Scalzi a bit. I understand circumstances were against him and maybe he said something in private, so I've given him the benefit of the doubt, but still...

    That being said, I think we won in the long run having MWT as one of the CF!

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  44. Agreed. We are much cooler. We have bowls.

    :o)

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  45. Jim, that's Nathan's new imaginary military title. 'Cause he didn't want to be one-upped by our good friend Sgt E.

    And John, Professor Dutch is the BOMB. And appears to be a nice man, to boot.

    I don't have any opinion the NH's, or their blog. Just not interested...

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  46. Incidentally, I suspect some of Scalzi's ire stemmed from the fact that he's gotten used to a large number of people agreeing with his every word (and for the most part I often do as well, just saying). He's also used having control over trollish and unreasonable behavior, notice how he handles trollish dissenters on his own site (not all dissenters, just the trollish asses, and which I appreciate). He didn't have control over Wikipedia and he was up against a guy who seemed to regard John the same way John regards trolls on his own site. I think that pissed him off (and I'm not saying Scalzi was actually being a troll, just that Quatloo regarded him as one).

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  47. Yes, Shawn, you will have bowls today. Ya big baby.

    I'm staggering out to the shop in short order to photograph the ones I have done. Then I will get them posted.

    I swear, even if I have to fight through a pack of rabid grizzlies to do it.

    Unless my internet connection drops, in which case - well, maybe tomorrow. :)

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  48. Janiece, see I can't figure out why Nathan would want a military title. He's from NY, I figured he'd have one of those Organized Crime titles, i.e. Nathan the Nose, Nathan 'Location' Gendzier, Nat the Gat - you know, like that (said the cat in the hat).

    Yeah, I may not have had enough coffee yet this morning.

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  49. I need to find Anne C a good redneck rank, because we graduated from the same high school.

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  50. Wow. And here I thought I was the only Whateverite who thought what I did.

    I actually wrote up another blog post at the time to detail my thoughts (though basically it's the same as what John, Jim, and Anne are saying here). Basically I saw the crowd around Saberhagen as crazy screechy monkeys, and Quatloo as the poor sap armed with only a stick.

    As for Making Light, well I'd already started wandering away due to their penchant for intellectual intimidation, but after that my opinion took a nosedive and I just stopped wanting to go there anymore. I remember, at the time that TNH and PNH came into things, that I had the feeling of defending my stomping grounds on the Whatever from the intimidators of Making Light. I had to take a stand. "This place is not that place and I will not be silent here." (If you think Scalzi has sycophants...)

    Then there was the fact that I did have a high opinion of Scalzi before it started, and I knew he was better than that. If I didn't respect him I wouldn't've argued so strenuously, because he wouldn't've been worth it - but he was, and the Whatever was, so there I was.

    No one said anything to me in private about any of it, but Scalzi did back down and stop arguing with me. I think that he couldn't really come out and say he had returned to his senses (aka "changed sides") after all that buildup, and with PNH going off the deep end. So I read the subtler signs (such as not listing the Saberhagen thread as one of the year's "best of"'s even though he did list one of the Ben Myers ones), and figured that was good enough for me. My opinion of him is back to what it was before, and as Jim said everyone has their off days.

    Thanks Anne for bringing all this up so that I could air out my thoughts about it. Thanks Jim for providing Stonekettle Station for the purpose. ;)

    And speaking of off days - I suspect one of my own posts yesterday might've pissed off a lot of people. I revised it and hope it's ... well, less offensive (I still wouldn't call it a good post). Sorry. :/

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  51. intellectual intimidation

    Yeah, smart people can be snobbish dickheads, same as stupid people. And man, does that piss off both the smart and stupid people.

    Don't sweat it, MWT, I think, as you said, even Scalzi agreed with you eventually, even if he didn't out and out say so.

    And I can't really fault him for that, PNH is a personal friend of his, you and I and the rest of us are just words on a screen. I don't mean that in a nasty way, but you back up your friends when it comes down to it, even if they're being asses. And if you've got any class, then in private you straighten them out. Scalzi has a lot of class, I suspect he and PNH talked this one over eventually. Then again, a lot of water goes under the Whatever bridge, it might not have been a big deal to him.

    I feel fairly confident saying for everybody here, we think you're pretty swell, so I wouldn't waste a lot of time thinking about it. Maybe someday, if I ever finish this damned book, PNH will buy it, until then he's just words on the screen to me. :)

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  52. "(If you think Scalzi has sycophants...)"

    Many (most?) of the sychophants at ML are wannabe writers...

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  53. Jim, it would be a hard choice for me if PNH were ever in the position to be a potential editor. Seriously.

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  54. Depends on the money :)

    If he wants to pay me for the privilege, well we'll see. Unlike Scalzi I'm pretty attached to my writing. But again, unlike Scalzi, I don't make a living at it. Yet.

    and I'm seriously putting the chicken before the cart here. I'm an optimist, yes I am.

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  55. Umm... MWT is AWESOME!

    That better?

    And I'm another person who doesn't reading Making Light much at all. For me the trouble was when Electrolite merged.

    I'm sure PNH is very nice in person, but on-line he almost always comes across as mean.

    And I don't need any additional mean in my life.

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  56. Yeah, I was originally thinking I'd submit my stuff to TOR too. If it went to TNH, I think that might work out okay. PNH and I would probably have some problems (because even if he doesn't remember me, I remember him). But TOR has other editors than just them two, and there are other publishers, so there will be other choices.

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  57. "I'm seriously putting the chicken before the cart here."

    Hee! That's a great visual.

    And I definitely want a redneck moniker, but the catch is rednecks don't use honorifics and usually only have one syllable names, (unless you have a middle name, Lee or Jo).

    Glad I could give you an airing out opportunity MWT. :)

    And if PNH offered to publish my work, I'd consider it, 'cause I'd be interacting with him on a professional level. Don't have to be friends to do that (though I imagine in some ways it might be easier if you were).

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  58. Anne,

    Actually, you often need multiple names, like Billie Jo, Jim Bob, etc.

    Kinda like Catholic names: Anne Marie and Mary Beth, and so forth.

    So you could be Sue Ann if you wanted to stick with your name as part of a redneck name.

    My name can only be shortened to make it properly redneck, and I refuse to go by that.

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  59. John,

    At the tender age of four I snipply told my wonderful grandmother, "That's not my name, my name is Michelle"

    So I'm not so fond of Shelly.

    I'd tell you the redneck nickname I had in college, but I'd never heard the end of it.

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  60. Michelle, now you'll never hear the end of it if you DON'T tell us.

    I was trying to allude to the first plus middle, but obviously didn't do a very good job.
    I'd prefer something particularly dense sounding: Lee Jo Bob? Oooh, Bobbi Jo Lee! Has a nice ring to it. Except there's probably a couple dozen people of both sexes with that name. And it would be better to have my own name in there somewhere. I'll have to keep thinking about it.

    So, what's your redneck name, Shelly Jo?

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  61. Anne,

    You have to promise to understand that my friend Zap came up with it off the top of his head one night. And it has nothing to do with TV shows or the life.

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  62. Shelly Jo, hitch up yer tube top and spit out the Redman, and tell us.

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  63. And seriously, if a guy named 'Zap' came up with it, I really, really want to know.

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  64. Okay, okay, my nickname in college, give me by my friend Zap was Cooter.

    And Zap was a shortening of his last name. His mother named him Humbert. So you can see why he went by Zap.

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  65. Redman! The only chaw I've ever tried!

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  66. Humbert? Poor guy, yeah I'd use Zap too.

    Cooter? Where's the big deal with that? You must live within ten miles of twenty Cooters, ten Pistols, five Bubbas, two liquor stores, and at least one NASCAR track.

    :)

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  67. Thank you Jim,

    I think. :) No one much gave me a hard time in college, but after I've gotten several "Dukes of Hazard" jokes.

    And sill Jim, no NASCAR tracks in WV--there's not enough flat land for one. (Ever seen Yaegar Airport?)

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  68. WV is some of the purtiest country around, frankly.

    And I won't tease you about Cooter, though I have no idea where he would get it from if not from TV. He was one of my favorite characters though -- him and Enos. I think it's 'cause they were both so earnest and good-hearted. 'Sides, you'd rather go by Cooter than Shelly Jo, and who wouldn't? ;)

    Speaking of chaw, that was a white elephant gift at the last office holiday party. Two kinds, Redman and Copenhagen. (I know the jingle for that one, 'cause I worked with a Texan who would sing it periodically.) Of course, the recipient didn't want it and left it on the table. I accurately predicted that someone else (see, I work at a company that's half construction) would take the Copenhagen and not the Redman. Sure enough, at the end of the night, I saw the bag of Redman sitting all by its lonesome.

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  69. Anne, if you knew Zap, you really wouldn't have to ask that, because the answer is--his the dark recesses of his brain.

    Just to explain that further, here are the two quotes his was most famous for at one point:

    1) WHO PUT THE PISS BISCUIT IN MY POCKET? (Ask a guy if you don't know what that is. I was very sorry to have been enlightened.)

    2) (To an attractive female) You smell like toilet paper--unused of course.

    But really, I could tell Zap stories for hours.

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  70. He sounds like quite a find. And I can deduce what a "piss biscut" is, though I've never seen one (and don't need to, thank you very much!).

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  71. Late to the party, real life blew up again on me... but I'd have to agree, this is a great bunch of folks and I'm happy to have connected with y' all online.

    As far as titles, I'm partial to Supreme Web Commander. :) Or Senior Executive VP of something or other.. not clever today.

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