Green Room

On HotAir etiquette (rebuttal to MadisonConservative and commenters)

posted at 6:32 pm on March 30, 2010 by

(I’d like to thank MadisonConservative for taking Allahpundit’s advice and responding with a post of his own to my original post on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of John McCain.  Thanks also to all of the HotAir commenters who took the time to state their views in the comment threads of both posts.

I’m splitting my rebuttal into two parts, rather than put up one long post, because certain claims and accusations were made that had very little to do with the main political topics.  This post will address those claims and accusations.  The next post will address the endorsement question and why I think it’s worth continuing to discuss.)

DEBATES AT HOTAIR

Unlike several volunteer HotAir etiquette monitors who complained about the “dead horse” “point/counterpoint” between MadisonConservative (MC) and myself yesterday, I think such debate is good for HotAir, and I look forward to more of it – whether on the main page, in the Greenroom, or the comment threads, or all three at once.

Many of my posts are inspired by disagreement, often by disagreement with someone I like and respect.  Liking and respecting someone can make disagreements with them a lot more interesting and often more useful as well, though, as in real life, it may also sometimes test a relationship.  (That’s life!)  A very partial list of bloggers with whom I’ve disagreed in Greenroom posts includes JE Dyer, Doctor Zero, Max Boot, Jonathan Tobin, John Podhoretz, the Other McCain, Insta-Punk… and Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit – great conservative bloggers all.  Lest I be accused of only attacking my (supposed) allies, I’ve also based posts on disagreements with such as Andrew Sullivan, Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald, David Neiwert, John Amato, David Frum, and David Brooks.  MadisonConservative now joins this ecumenical roster, and I’m looking forward to adding others to the growing list, which also includes many HA and Zombie Contentions commenters with whom I mix it up on a regular basis.

Those who find the resultant discussions uninteresting or disturbing are free… to look or go away.  At any time.  Like now, for instance.  Leave a critical comment or don’t.  More likely than not, no one will care what someone who claimed not to be interested felt it necessary to say.

QUOTING COMMENTERS

A few commenters on the two threads also objected to my use of remarks by fellow HotAir-users.  In the opening remarks of his response post, MadisonConservative addressed an aspect of this issue directly:  “I think comments should be responded to with more comments, not with the bullhorn of the Greenroom posting privilege.”

So here’s something for us to disagree about.  Excellent!

Let me be Nixon/Obama perfectly and crystal clear: I don’t think you should be commenting in the threads at a high traffic public political forum like HotAir without the expectation that what you say might be used by someone to make a point – for, against, for the fun of it, whatever. In my opinion the only valid complaints about being referenced would be “I have been misquoted” (or misleadingly quoted) and, in some instances, “I haven’t been properly credited!”

Rather than complain about being noticed, why shouldn’t commenters welcome being taken seriously – treated as though their ideas and opinions may actually be significant and worthy of respect, consideration, and response – not just “tears in rain” lost forever to the great internet flood?

As for the two commenters I referred to in my post, some users apparently gained the mistaken impression that I had grouped them with the haters to whom I had earlier referred.  That’s neither what I wrote nor what I think.

The paragraph in which they’re mentioned begins with an observation about “many” who seem to hate John McCain so much that they see Palin’s endorsement of him over JD Hayworth as unforgivable simply on that basis.  In the next sentence, I describe a second group – “[o]thers” whose feelings and opinions aren’t as strong, but who tend to view the endorsement negatively, possibly on balance in Palin’s interests, or at at worst excusable.  It’s in that group that I put the two HotAir commenters.  I went on to associate their opinions with those of the Fox News All Stars.  Unless you’re a Fox-hater, that’s a compliment.

I happen to think that both of the commenters are stand-up guys.  I happened to disagree with them on a political point.  That’s it.  There is no other responsible and reasonable way to read what I wrote, and I resent on the commenters’ behalf as well as my own the attempts to put a different gloss on the matter.  I’m pro-commenter.  I was nothing but a commenter at HA, occasionally getting a kick out of it when a big boy blogger noticed my lowly comments, and then when I was eventually invited to become a Greenroomer.  My home blog was founded as a refuge for commenters who had been suddenly shut out en masse at another site.  I am a man of the commenters!

HATRED vs CRITICISM

Finally, regarding that first group I mentioned above, the haters, I stand by my remarks. We can disagree on the definition of “many,” I suppose, but I think it’s beyond obvious that some people who regularly comment at HotAir dislike John McCain passionately, intensely, and irrepressibly enough for their verbal conduct to qualify under dictionary or common sense definitions of hateful – as in, “So-and-so sure does hate Johnny Mac!”  There were a few commenters under my or MadisonConservative’s posts who admitted as much, explicitly, but insisted on their right to hate (because McCain “deserves it so”).  Others ignored the argument, and, as usual, exploited the subject of McCain to indulge in the familiar excesses (“idiot backstabbing liar,” “McStain,” etc., etc.).

As hatred goes, this stuff appears more to be of the impotent rage and venting variety than the dangerous and murderous variety, but neither type contributes much to political discussion, in my opinion, or does much credit to the commenter or to HotAir.  If people want to go on that way, that’s their concern, within TOS limits.  I have as much right to call it what I think it is as those who are into the richly satisfying hateful hatred have to express themselves.

In the meantime, the claim, using MadisonConservative’s words, that I “designat[ed]” all “critics of McCain” as haters is false – and was correctly identified by several commenters as a “straw man” evasion.  If you commented to some other effect, then you need to read posts more carefully before commenting on them, or are engaging in the kind of chip-on-shoulder mind-reading extrapolation that’s supposed to characterize the PC left.  I fully accept that John McCain can be criticized, that he may even deserve severe criticism.  John McCain thinks so, too, I’m pretty sure.

Now, on to the next disagreements.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

“dead horse”

This.

joe_doufu on March 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Somebody get me a seashell, I just love the sound of the ocean. Oh wait… Oh look! It’s CK MacLeod and the Drifters. Apparently we’re going to hear another medley of songs with lyrics that will sound like the progressive tidewater is going out again.

Americannodash on March 30, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Giddyup.

OhioCoastie on March 30, 2010 at 8:09 PM

joe_doufu on March 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

et tu, doufu?

CK MacLeod on March 30, 2010 at 8:09 PM

pssst…Mr. MacLeod…just between you and me…do you happen to know if a certain AP on here is a lady?

If you don’t know, that’s ok.
Just askin’.

That is all.
Carry on.

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

The evolution of blog commentary has really been something over the last 10 years and not for the better. Maybe it’s because of the volume of comments/posters and the desire for immediate response but the comment sections of most political blogs is nothing more then one sentence slogans, snark and personal attacks. It’s so bad a lot of these people think a back and fourth with you and Madison Conservative is a waste of their time.
As for me, I’d much rather argue policy and politics or read a good back and fourth then wade through most the drivel that gets posted here. So don’t stop on my account.

lowandslow on March 30, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Sorry, one other serious question here, if you would be so kind as to allow.
Are you a zombie afficionado?
Because I myself am a major zombiephile.

World War Z?
Zombie Survival Guide?

That’s some major world class literature right there.

Thanks in advance.

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:24 PM

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Didn’t you already ask me if I were AP?

What’s with the obsession?

Diane on March 30, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Dammit, I always miss it!

docjohn52 on March 30, 2010 at 9:43 PM

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Didn’t you already ask me if I were AP?

What’s with the obsession?

Diane on March 30, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Why, yes, I did.
Thank you for noticing.
It’s not an obsession, actually.
It’s more what I would call a burning desire to know.
See, I have this computer program called Buster, patent pending.
Buster, patent pending, searches the Internet and analyzes certain key characteristics of individual’s posts and then creates a profile on that individual which ‘allows’ Buster to answer simple questions.
Sort of like the magic eightball thingie, but, needless to say, infinitely more sophisticated.

So, when AP threatened me with a good banning a while back, for what I thought was an innocent misunderstanding on her part, I thought to myself, “Who the hell is this character?”

So I had Buster run a profile on AP and some dunce that made a hateful comment to me, accusing me of being racist, which is ridiculously far from the truth, and, lo and behold, Buster responded that, with a modest degree of certainty, that a certain AP was actually trolling as said dunce, and also that there was a very high degree of probability that AP was not a blogg-er, but rather a blogger-ette, i.e., a female.

Now, as to my comment to you, I believe that in that particular thread, someone made a disparaging comment about AP, and you very kindly and admirably spoke up in his defense, to which I wryly pretended that you must be AP, i.e., an AP troll speaking up for himself.

So that’s the pathogenesis of my obsession keen interest in AP’s gender.
I hope that that clarifies matters, Diane.
Nice talking to you.
You seem like a nice person.

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Oh, and I should state here for the record, in the event that ‘someone’ is reading this, that I will henceforth remain more serious and on topic, in keeping with the terms of use, which I just perused, such that I shall hopefully not be shown the exit. I shall leave my ramblings between myself and Buster and stick with comments of more bearing and depth. So help me Allah. Amen.

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Rather than complain about being noticed, why shouldn’t commenters welcome being taken seriously – treated as though their ideas and opinions may actually be significant and worthy of respect, consideration, and response – not just “tears in rain” lost forever to the great internet flood?

When Jim McDermott responded to my email and addressed my concerns rather than sending me a generic auto-reply, I felt taken seriously, and found him to be considerate of my opinions. If he had been giving a speech at a rally and read quotes from my email to make a point about those he disagreed with, I would have felt it was out of line.

As you said, Hot Air is a “high traffic public political forum”, so it’s a pretty fair comparison– there’s no expectation of privacy, but it is poor etiquette in either case.

RachDubya on March 30, 2010 at 11:34 PM

As you said, Hot Air is a “high traffic public political forum”, so it’s a pretty fair comparison– there’s no expectation of privacy, but it is poor etiquette in either case.

RachDubya on March 30, 2010 at 11:34 PM

I don’t get your reasoning.

It’s not as though they had sent me private e-mails that I then made public. I highlighted their already public comments.

When you go to a concert or a sporting event, you might just end up looking dorky (or great) on the evening news. It’s similar here, except that every time you post a comment, you’re implicitly asking to be noticed.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 12:36 AM

When you go to a concert or a sporting event, you might just end up looking dorky (or great) on the evening news. It’s similar here, except that every time you post a comment, you’re implicitly asking to be noticed.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Well I’ll say it explicitly: I never get noticed. I’d like to be noticed. Notice me, CK?

gryphon202 on March 31, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Notice me, CK?

gryphon202 on March 31, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Sure.

I also noticed the comment below, on the first thread before the post was promoted to the main page.

CK, do you really believe it’s that simple? After all the backroom deals and political wrangling you’ve heard about…

Well, I’ll just say that I’ll take it with a huge grain of salt from someone who thought “Avatar” was a cinematic masterpiece.

gryphon202 on March 29, 2010 at 3:20 PM

I wasn’t quite sure what you were referring to in the first part. “Backroom deals” to get Palin’s endorsement? Don’t see what McCain could offer her, or would need to offer her.

After the cheap shot on Avatar, I wasn’t inclined to give the comment much more thought.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 2:16 AM

I really dig both Ed & AllahP, but there is one significant blogging difference that stands out — AllahP is much more willing to climb down into the trenches with the commenters. I respect that, and what’s more, it tells me that he has taken the time to read the responses to his missives. Probably Ed reads them all too, but it is much less apparent.

Both you and Madison are willing to respond to individual posts, so I do not see the main thrust of your argument:

A few commenters on the two threads also objected to my use of remarks by fellow HotAir-users. In the opening remarks of his response post, MadisonConservative addressed an aspect of this issue directly: “I think comments should be responded to with more comments, not with the bullhorn of the Greenroom posting privilege.”

So here’s something for us to disagree about. Excellent!

Let me be Nixon/Obama perfectly and crystal clear: I don’t think you should be commenting in the threads at a high traffic public political forum like HotAir without the expectation that what you say might be used by someone to make a point – for, against, for the fun of it, whatever. In my opinion the only valid complaints about being referenced would be “I have been misquoted” (or misleadingly quoted) and, in some instances, “I haven’t been properly credited!”

Rather than complain about being noticed, why shouldn’t commenters welcome being taken seriously – treated as though their ideas and opinions may actually be significant and worthy of respect, consideration, and response – not just “tears in rain” lost forever to the great internet flood?

Strong emphases are mine. And you can quote me on this. Electrons are cheap, and it costs little to let Greenroom posts run to many hundreds long if the interest is high. Both Ed and AP strive for posts that generate high post levels and traffic counts, as well as being informative.

Of course, sometimes they are just grinding an axe.

GnuBreed on March 31, 2010 at 3:41 AM

@ Mr. MacLeod

Someone had best get your message to Mr. Madison Conservative himself,

as he seems to use “smashmouth” writing as a literary crutch. It shows in his most recent, weak thread.

I didn’t recognize his moniker until I remembered a particularly obnoxious, juvenile response I received in another thread months ago.

I have no idea what people were thinking by inviting such an individual to “join(s) this ecumenical roster,” but they certainly were not thinking about etiquette.

Lockstein13 on March 31, 2010 at 6:37 AM

Lockstein13 on March 31, 2010 at 6:37 AM

+ 1

itsnotaboutme on March 31, 2010 at 8:17 AM

justltl on March 30, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Throw a blanket over Buster and get out more.

katy the mean old lady on March 31, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Wait…did you put me on some list that also contained Andrea Sullivan?

OH, IT’S ON NOW.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Wait…did you put me on some list that also contained Andrea Sullivan?

OH, IT’S ON NOW.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 8:22 AM

-
I’m glad I didn’t have a mouth full of coffee! LOL

Metanis on March 31, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I wasn’t quite sure what you were referring to in the first part. “Backroom deals” to get Palin’s endorsement? Don’t see what McCain could offer her, or would need to offer her.

Just the chance to rise from relative obscurity to a spot on a presidential ticket. Oh wait, that happened in ’08, didn’t it?

After the cheap shot on Avatar, I wasn’t inclined to give the comment much more thought.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 2:16 AM

Sometimes even cheap shots are based in truth… But then again, we can agree to disagree. Right? Right?!

gryphon202 on March 31, 2010 at 9:08 AM

As for the “backroom deals,” I was just attempting to point out that in politics, things are never as simple as they seem. There are pretty much always things seen and things unseen in every political decision, including this one, I’m sure.

gryphon202 on March 31, 2010 at 9:14 AM

I missed *all this*. Not sorry.

Did Madison Conservative call you an “anti semite”? Just wondering because I never read anything he writes after I read that months ago (or was it a year or so). No apologies ensued and thus, I avoid anything he writes.

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 9:18 AM

If you don’t like anti-semitism being called out when seen, then your avoidance is wise.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Admittedly, I absolutely cannot stand long-winded self justification, like MacLeod’s posts, but more importantly the word count is indicative of clear thinking (or lack thereof). MacLeod desperately needs an editor.

MTF on March 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM

That’s it. Gentlemen —

Choose your weapons; twinkies or zingers. Very good.

CK has chosen the Hostess cream filled twinkie twin pack.

MC is going to go with the flavor of the week Spiced Red Zinger Rum Punch Strawberry cakes.

It’s going to be an amazing duel folks, I wish you were here to see it. I’ll try to give the play by play.

Back to back they faced each other –

Drew their desserts and ate each others –

Can we get a calorie count? The amount of damage done is immeasurable, not really. Ooh messy too, but in a sweet kinda way. Can we get a clean up on the Greenroom aisle?

It’s all over. All that’s left to do now is see who gained the most weight because this Greenroom essay by CK MacLeod has garnered not any particular outcome to speak of, yes you’re right fellow commenters, this was an act in futility. It’s an egotistical match that may not be over for quite a while, but I now regard myself persona non grata to both.

Americannodash on March 31, 2010 at 11:27 AM

GnuBreed on March 31, 2010 at 3:41 AM

Both you and Madison are willing to respond to individual posts, so I do not see the main thrust of your argument:

Madison took up the argument advanced by a few other commenters, and reiterated by RachDubya above, that there’s something wrong, something dishonorable or underhanded, about quoting commenters from a thread and responding to them in a post. A few people on the main page thread were getting upset and angry about it, though it’s also possible that some of the critics were just grasping for a way to undermine an argument that they don’t like by going after the arguer personally.

…speaking of which:

Americannodash on March 31, 2010 at 11:27 AM
MTF on March 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM

There, you’ve been noticed. Congratulations.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM

It’s not as though they had sent me private e-mails that I then made public. I highlighted their already public comments.

Then by that reasoning, all emails to elected officials are private? Does that mean that when politicians rattle off anecdotes from letters and attribute them to So-and-so from Anywheretown, USA that they are violating an expectation of privacy, or are some people signing their letters with permission to use their intellectual material?

Either way, my point was that I can see how someone could view being quoted in an article differently than having been replied to.

RachDubya on March 31, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Wait…did you put me on some list that also contained Andrea Sullivan?

OH, IT’S ON NOW.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Like it or not, everyone who blogs is on a list that includes Andrew Sullivan.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 11:55 AM

RachDubya on March 31, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I can’t account for the behavior of all politicians, but I think it’s considered due diligence, in the modern age, for any serious candidate or office holder to contact letter writers in such circumstances – not only to get permission, but to verify that they are who they represent themselves to be.

I agree with you that being quoted and featured is different from merely being replied to, and might surprise someone who hadn’t thought about what it meant to post a comment in a public forum. I just don’t see it as any kind of violation of implied trust or privacy.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM

…though it’s also possible that some of the critics were just grasping for a way to undermine an argument that they don’t like by going after

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Hence my interpretation of referring to people against McCain as “haters”. You have a tendency to make indirect implications against vague segments of the commenters.

This was the crux of my issue with responding to individual comments with green room posts. It would seem to me that if you have an issue with a commenter or two, you would quote their post, and create your own comment. That’s leaving the playing field even. Instead, by responding to individual comments with a post, something that is high-profile, and garners far more attention, you’re juicing your response, as it were. All they can do is respond again with a regular comment.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 12:14 PM

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 12:14 PM

I can see how what you describe could be an unfair tactic, if the objective was to win a “fight” or a “game” with a commenter or commenters. That wasn’t my objective, nor was it what I did. The exchange I quoted served as a recent, relevant example of one current of opinion on the right.

I don’t make “indirect implications against vague segments of the commenters.” I make direct arguments regarding difficult-to-define segments of commenters: There’s no way to measure scientifically and indisputably how many anti-McCain types are “haters” and how many are “strong disagreers.” Someone who hated McCain a couple years ago may have cooled to dislike by now, and vice versa. And so on. It’s more like a pornography, I-know-it-when-I-see-it issue.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 12:26 PM

the expectation that what you say might be used by someone to make a point – for, against, for the fun of it, whatever

Of course. I thought that this was one of the reasons for HA to exist–to play or resonate off each others points of view for better or worse. I, for one, am rather flattered when someone picks up a point and runs with it(this has happened about, let’s see—once that I can recall and I was kind of pleased). However, the ‘filterers’ are somewhat over zealous from time to time if now has become the on-line equivalent of the complaint department.

jeanie on March 31, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Unfortunately your characterisation of those who are hypercritical of McCain as “haters” – whether you felt it was deserved or not – derailed the previous thread. I, and several others, compared it to how liberals demonise conservatives.

When you preface a political discussion with a statement about the internal emotional state of your political opponents, in an obvious effort to discredit them, you’re going to run up against resistance.

The singling out of two specific commenters in combintation with chastising “many” HotAir commenters in general for being part of a hate campaign against McCain left a particularly bad taste in the mouth.

It reminded me of a moment on the 2004 campaign trail when John Kerry chastised a voter who was trying to ask him a question. Kerry demanded to know the man’s registered political afilliation before he would answer the question.

When a person with more real or perceived authority (in this case a blogger outranks commenters) chastises people for having the ‘wrong’ feelings towards a powerful politician, it gives one the fleeting impression of what it must have been like to live in an Eastern European Communist country.

aengus on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

When a person with more real or perceived authority (in this case a blogger outranks commenters) chastises people for having the ‘wrong’ feelings towards a powerful politician, it gives one the fleeting impression of what it must have been like to live in an Eastern European Communist country.

aengus on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

A little over the top, but I agree with the larger point.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 2:00 PM

aengus on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

A thoughtful reply, and I acknowledge your point, though in my opinion your closing reference isn’t just, as per MC, “a little over the top”: Even as a “fleeting impression,” it’s over the top to the point that it left me wondering if you were joking.

In my view, silence can be culpable when it comes to expressions of hatred in any political forum. It’s not just a question of taste. I believe that, as a HotAir participant, I have a right, arguably a responsibility, for the sake of my own reputation as well as the reputation of the site, to speak up. Otherwise, the people who have something to contribute beyond rage and insults stay silent or go somewhere else, leaving the nuthouse to the nuts.

I’d rather see this place at least as open to sane and civil dialogue as to rage and ranting. Seems to me that if people who feel the same way don’t stand up for themselves, then sooner or later you end up with what lowandslow described above. Not saying we’re there, but sometimes it does seem like that’s where we’re heading.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 2:27 PM

I believe that, as a HotAir participant, I have a right…

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Privilege. We’re all guests at a private website, and that privilege can be stripped at a moment’s notice.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 2:39 PM

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 2:39 PM

I see your distinction, but, all the same, my attitude is that if the HA powers decide to strip me of further posting/commenting privileges at some point, that’s their decision. The right and responsibility remain what they are, even if there are different ways of looking at them.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 2:53 PM

There is a world within the world that is Hot Air, and I have no idea what’s going on.

iamse7en on March 31, 2010 at 3:18 PM

All they can do is respond again with a regular comment.

MadisonConservative on March 31, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Which leaves them no assurances that their responses will be read or if those reading these articles will be left with only a partial explanation of their views but a full explanation of the blogger’s.

I agree with Madison on this. I can see where quoting commenters is sometimes helpful, but even then it would probably be better to quote someone without posting their name. When we post here, we’re usually posting out immediate thoughts, as though this were an informal conversation. You, on the other hand, are responding with something a bit more prepared. As though Obama had responded to Joe the Plumber the next day with a televised speech.

Intended or not, I believe it can be the opposite of what you seem to want, treating them, “as though their ideas and opinions may actually be significant and worthy of respect, consideration, and response.”

Besides, I think you’re more likely to change minds by engaging directly, as few people are willing to change their minds so publicly.

Esthier on March 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM

in my opinion your closing reference isn’t just, as per MC, “a little over the top”: Even as a “fleeting impression,” it’s over the top to the point that it left me wondering if you were joking

It was a bad example. I am just sick of using the standard words to describes this methodology – “Orwellian” and “thoughtcrime” – because they suggests that calling people out for having the wrong emotional responses to politics is something that could only happen in a fictional quasi-dystopian setting.

I wanted to convey that this sort of thing happens in real life – under less favourable circumstances than pertain in an anonymous web discussion – hence the reference to specifically Eastern European Communism. But yeah, it’s hyperbole.

and that privilege can be stripped at a moment’s notice.

First they’ll strip us of our posting privileges then they’ll throw us into the gulag. Kidding.

aengus on March 31, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Esthier on March 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM

You make some valid points. I do recognize that there are issues here on both sides. For instance, I refrained from identifying the “haters” whose comments I quoted in this post. On the other hand, in some other context, I might choose to identify them – say if I wanted things to escalate.

I don’t think, however, that the commenters I quoted in the “controversial” post have anything to be upset or ashamed about, especially when you consider that the majority of active HotAir users are probably closer to their point of view than to mine. Any reader can determine whether I was making a big, unfair deal out of someone’s off-the-cuff remarks, in which case – like Obama in your example – I’d just be making myself look ridiculous.

Also, in some cases quoting or paraphrasing a comment without identifying the user would be bad form, akin to plagiarism. So there’s a fuzzy, hard to define border here (and no fence).

I think the fact remains that, whether or not your comments are “informal,” they’re subject to being copied, pasted, and disseminated further, and people should be aware of it and prepared to take it in stride.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Of course you can quote Hot Air comments, particularly if it is to illustrate a point on precisely that subject. No error, no foul.

I do believe a substantial amount of the comments that could be construed as hateful are just snarky attempts at humor that miss their mark.

Sure, there are conservative purists, but can anyone really say with a straight face that McCain would be even half as bad as Obama has been?

John the Libertarian on March 31, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Sure, there are conservative purists, but can anyone really say with a straight face that McCain would be even half as bad as Obama has been?

John the Libertarian on March 31, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Definitely not!!

jeanie on March 31, 2010 at 5:16 PM

On the other hand, in some other context, I might choose to identify them – say if I wanted things to escalate.

Certainly, which seems appropriate say for trolls.

Also, in some cases quoting or paraphrasing a comment without identifying the user would be bad form, akin to plagiarism. So there’s a fuzzy, hard to define border here (and no fence).

Well, I never meant to say that you shouldn’t mention that they aren’t your words, but I do agree that it’s fuzzy at that point.

I’d argue that the best compromise would be to ask commenters if they mind being used as examples and if they’d like a chance for rebuttal. That way there’s no chance of someone feeling taken advantage of, and the playing field is leveled, as they’d have the same “megaphone” you have.

In part, this also helps keep bloggers from unintentionally misrepresenting comments, as we don’t always write exactly what we mean, and tone is nearly impossible to discern online.

I think the fact remains that, whether or not your comments are “informal,” they’re subject to being copied, pasted, and disseminated further, and people should be aware of it and prepared to take it in stride.

CK MacLeod on March 31, 2010 at 4:01 PM

On this I completely agree. People should be prepared to stand by what they write here and think of that before posting.

I would only add that I don’t think it’s the most polite or fair way to engage commenters as a blogger.

However, that’s not to say that I believe you are being impolite or trying to be unfair.

Esthier on March 31, 2010 at 6:04 PM

in some cases quoting or paraphrasing a comment without identifying the user would be bad form, akin to plagiarism.

I certainly hope that’s not true. Back when I was a little puce nerfball reader (in the days when the comments over there were excellent), it was universally understood that everything posted in the comments was in the public domain and could be carried elsewhere at will. I have piles of old stuff collected.

I read the post plus MC’s rebuttal, but did not participate in the comments. Just for the record, my reaction to seeing two commenters singled out to illustrate a post about McCain Haters felt like a kick in the gut.

RushBaby on March 31, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Some people just need to get out more.

FreshAir is better than HotAir.

uknowmorethanme on April 1, 2010 at 9:41 AM

FreshAir is better than HotAir.

uknowmorethanme on April 1, 2010 at 9:41 AM

THE HELL YOU SAY, SIR!

MadisonConservative on April 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Was there a sale on shovels?

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM