Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Down with the Trolls!


[perhaps a drop exaggerated]

The New York Times today denounced anonymous Internet writers.

I can only see "Amen!" to that. Clearly we would find much less nasty, hateful nonsense on the Internet and more thoughtful dialogue if anonymity were prohibited. As the Times Op-ed piece points out "most trolls wouldn’t have the gall to say to another person’s face half the things they anonymously post on the Internet".

Now, I know that there are those who will claim "I cannot reveal my identity on the Internet because if I did I would not be able to write honest, important things without quickly being assassinated." Right. Authors are assassinated every day on the streets of New York. In reality, these people are just obnoxious cowards who are probably afraid to reveal what failures they actually are.

"Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly." This is so true it hardly needs to be stated and I think it explains why nearly all Internet atheists refuse to identify themselves. They don't want to be held accountable for the garbage they write.

36 comments:

NC said...

There is something patently disingenuous in your claim. As the NYT article correctly points out, the problem with anonymity is that because people lose their inhibition, they are more inclined towards offensive expression. It is not at all about exposing "cowards or failures".

The irony is that your lack of anonymity hasn't prevented YOU from being offensive and troll like. Who is the one that harassed a religiously ambivalent young women with sexual taunts? Who is the one calling for the death penalty for heretics and homosexuals?

Since your blog is moderated and you certainly have the ability to censor out truly offensive or abusive comments, I suspect your real motivation is to be able to harass people.

In my opinion the wikileaks episode actually reinforces the point that there is value in confidentiality, and that we reveal different truths about things to different people, depending on the context. Just as we don't go around saying to people that they are ugly or fat to their faces, we don't discuss all of our political, religious or philosophical ideas with everybody.

What's wrong with that?

jewish philosopher said...

First of all, can you cite an example of one case where I've been rude to someone who was not rude to me first? If other people resort to name calling I don't see why I can't reply.

I agree, as do I think all traditional monotheists, that sodomy should be a death penalty. It was in the United States 200 years ago and I think we were making more progress as a nation then than now. I don't recall making any other legal recommendations.

I do actually moderate out the most pointless comments; that's why I had to start moderating a couple of years ago.

NC said...

1. I think that if somebody posts a rude or offensive comment, its best to just filter it out and don't bother responding. Don't get sucked into nasty arguments, you'll just get yourself in trouble...again.

2. What is considered 'offensive' is defined by context and society. And in western society (your audience), whether you like it or not, calling for the death of homosexuals, comparing homosexuality to pedophilia or incest, or suggestions that slavery was a good thing-- all of things would be considered offensive and inflammatory.
Even if you say it politely.

"I agree, as do I think all traditional monotheists, that sodomy should be a death penalty."

I really don't know if that is true.

" It was in the United States 200 years ago and I think we were making more progress as a nation then than now."

200 years ago they hanged horse thieves, that doesn't mean we should do it now.

jewish philosopher said...

Basically the reason why I post comments at all is because I imagine someone reading the post and thinking "Boy, that's a dumb post, I could easily refute that!" Fine; try it.

"What is considered 'offensive' is defined by context and society. And in western society (your audience)"

Actually, you'd be surprised. I get hits from all over the world, including Iran and Saudi Arabia. People who don't like my blog shouldn't read it.

"200 years ago they hanged horse thieves, that doesn't mean we should do it now."

Right. We lock him in a cage where he can be raped and beaten, at a huge cost to the taxpayer, and then release him so he can continue stealing horses. Immense progress.

Anonymous said...

JP,

Do you beleive thieves should be hanged?

jewish philosopher said...

I think prison doesn't make sense for many reasons. Probably fines, flogging and executions should be used instead, depending on the crime and the track record of the criminal.

onionsoupmix said...

First of all, can you cite an example of one case where I've been rude to someone who was not rude to me first? If other people resort to name calling I don't see why I can't reply

Because most people grow out of that logic by grade school.

jewish philosopher said...

Right. Like you've graduated to just plain lying.

For example I wrote:

If we would follow the Torah's commandment to put to death anyone man who has anal sex with another man, those tradegies could be prevented.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/10/straight-rights.html

You quoted me:

How to Solve the AIDS Problem? Kill all the Gays.

http://onionsoupmix.livejournal.com/150713.html

If you read carefully, these two things are very different. First of all, many gay men don't engage in anal sex and many men who identify as straight occaisionally do. Also "kill" implies spontaneously murdering while I am clearly referring to execution after due process: "follow the Torah's commandment to put to death" meaning following Talmudic due process.

And about secretly hoping that I'll be kicked out of school, may I ask when are you graduating and what do your job prospects look like? You know what everyone says now "Graduation, the day that I realized I've just spent the last 113,000 hours working towards a handshake and a piece of paper."

GodAwful said...

I wouldn't mind so much your insistance on identification except for the fact that your history, both personal and blogging, suggests that you are emotionaly unbalanced and capable of physical harm to your detractors. No one wants to become your first victim when your sanity departs and you truly go off the rails. At some point you'll begin listening to the voices in your head.
What an anonymous bloggers fears is that you'll ask god to kill him, but I know god doesn't work that way. So you'll kill him yourself and asked god for forgiveness.

jewish philosopher said...

As I've said, obviously being an author or journalist is a very high risk profession in the US today. They get gunned down constantly.

Jewperman said...

Spot the differences between these 2 statements:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29 )

Basically the reason why I post comments at all is because I imagine someone reading the post and thinking "Boy, that's a dumb post, I could easily refute that!"

“In reality, these people are just obnoxious cowards who are probably afraid to reveal what failures they actually are.” Maybe so, but an obnoxious coward who finished med school without being kicked out for hate speech. In 50 years, I couldn’t hope to reach the level of trolling you have achieved in a single post.

jewish philosopher said...

I consider myself to be the Julian Assange

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange

against atheism and this blog is the WikiLeaks of Judaism. I am pulling the mask off the fraud, blowing the whistle on all the lies. Of course, not everyone appreciates that, but I have a few admirers too.

GodAwful said...

Yeah, admirers like these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Jx5m-7aqw

jewish philosopher said...

I suppose you admire Friedrich Nietzsche

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche#Mental_breakdown_and_death

And Madalyn Murray O'Hair  
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madalyn_Murray_O'Hair#Personal

Two icons of atheism and real models of stability.
 

JRKmommy said...

My apologies - while you hadn't responded to my recent comments asking about your rav, you did mention in a Nov. 12/2008 comment that while your blog was not under rabbinical supervision, that people were free to call your rabbi Ari Senter.

I may do just that. Is he still your rabbi, and is he still willing to take calls?

jewish philosopher said...

You can certainly call him, although I actually attend services in many different synagogues. In fact, you can even just call me.

Who's your rabbi, by the way?

JRKmommy said...

Rabbi Joseph (now retired) was the rabbi for my family, and I was also taught and inspired by his wife.

When I was in the process of becoming more frum, I had the opportunity to meet Rabbi Weiss and speak to him.

Rabbi Spero of Toronto played the biggest role in reaching out and getting us to be actively involved with Orthodox Judaism. His greatest teachings are done by example, as he truly lives and breathes ahavas yisroel. We are still in touch, although no longer living close by.

My current rabbi is Rabbi Kaplan. We chose him because of his deep commitment to every Jew.

ksil said...

"I am pulling the mask off the fraud, blowing the whistle on all the lies"

LOL

irony at its finest...

JS, you know what irony means, right?

hahahahahaa

jewish philosopher said...

Mommy, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Toronto?

http://www.tvo.org/klm/kaplan.html

If so I'd love to hear his opinion of my blog.

Ksil, you know what the appeal to ridicule is?

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

ROFLMAO!!!!!

ksil said...

hmmmm, i guess you dont know what irony is! ha!

in a nutshell, you describing others as fraudulent and full of lies, when orthodox judaism IS (fraudulent and full of lies).

no need to rehash the proof and evidence of the fraud and lies(2 things folks like you DO NOT like to discuss, LOL)

capiche?

just funny how you project your own weaknesses and shortcomings on EVERYONE else

jewish philosopher said...

"just funny how you project your own weaknesses and shortcomings on EVERYONE else"

Quite the contrary, ksil, that exactly describes you. I guess YOU don't know what irony is.

ksil said...

ad hominem

you are good at that!

calling me by my first name does not hurt my feeling, btw. LOL

repeat: its like you saying that evolutionists have NO evidence for their view! um, whatevs... YOU have no evidence. strange how you dont see that.

jewish philosopher said...

"ad hominem
you are good at that!"

I just repeated you.

"its like you saying that evolutionists have NO evidence for their view!"

It's as good as the evidence that Jesus is the messiah. It's convincing if you're already a believer.

JRKmommy said...

Rabbi Spero reached out to me when I was at a point of being angry and completely alienated from Orthodoxy after having a man scream at me in Jerusalem. His simple lunch invitation literally changed the course of my life. Of course, it wasn't just the lunch - it was the fact that he literally radiated love and acceptance toward every Jew, unconditionally. That love got through to me, past all the hostility, as it became clear that he was part of someone far removed from the hate that I had experienced.

Rabbi Kaplan has continued that approach. His number one message to us is about ahavas yisroel. Obviously, he teaches about halacha, and doesn't pretend that every single ACTION by any Jew is completely fine. However, he is very clear that level of observance or alienation has nothing to do with one's essential G-d-given soul, which is eternally good. He has explicitly told us that the proper response to an atheist Jew, or even one who appears to be working against us, should be to invite them over for Shabbat dinner, and to show concern for them. This is the theme of his public sermons, and also the theme of a psak that we were given on a private family matter.

It should also add that all of my rabbis have been role models in the use of proper speech. Regardless of what was happening around them, I have never witnessed any of them using vulgar speech, or failing to maintain their dignity.

jewish philosopher said...

That's all very nice, however I still have no idea who those people are or who you are.

This blog as a rule follows the teachings of the Lithuanian rabbinical seminaries of the 1920s and 1930s. Generally I cite sources.

Regarding comments that might be considered vulgar, they may sometimes be appropriate. For example see

Ezekiel Chapter 16

Thou hast built thy lofty place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty an abomination, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy harlotries.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1216.htm#25 

NoLiveGod said...

"Regarding comments that might be considered vulgar, they may sometimes be appropriate."

For example, when you want to know if a young woman wants (or likes, I don't remember exactly what you wrote) cock?

No Live God, by the way, is my actual name.

jewish philosopher said...

Which has been repeated ad nauseum by rabbi bashers for over a year. As if every secular american over age 7 doesn't use that word, making it an incredible never before heard obscenity. I suppose the more formal term "sex" would have been perfectly fine.

Tova schreiber is a self professed mental case who believes any critical comments on her blog are a crime of "harassment".

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha ,

Yes, comments so critical that your employer canned your ass for harrasment on the job.
And your nursing school expelled you for similar "critical comments" You are truly nuts.
BTW, how is your lawsuit against BOCES proceeding? How many law offices have you been laughed out of ?

jewish philosopher said...

Well, whistle-blowers are not always appreciated, as Julian Assange

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange

has also discovered. However is that discouraging him? Doesn't seem like it.

I am working with a law firm right now and my case is being investigated by the New York State Division of Human Rights. These things can take time, but I'll keep at this for years if need be. Don't be shocked if in a few years some ex-BOCES students suddenly lose their nursing licenses or a certain school district lawyer is suddenly disbarred.

JRKmommy said...

Thank you for motivating me to do some learning over Shabbat.

A previous response suggested that crude speech may be fine since it was commonly used by the secular world.

From "Journey to Virtue" by Rabbi Avrohom Ehrman (Artscroll, 2002), page 150:

"...The Torah calls Israel a wise and discerning people (Devarim 4:6). Anyone who speaks like those foolish and uninhibited individuals who reject the Torah, desecrates the sanctity of Israel and demonstrates that he is not among the wise who disdain such speech."

It is one thing to point out that statements may have been made in the heat of the moment in a particular frame of mind. However, it is said that the righteous stumble 7 times, while the wicked keep stumbling. Even the righteous are not perfect, but they pick themselves up, do teshuva and resolve to do better.

If you are not open to further comments on the subject, please let me know, as Mishlei advises against rebuking the scoffer.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that you may not appreciate my attitude towards certain anti- orthodox bloggers.

 Judaism teaches us to have an absolute hatred for the enemies of God, as it states in Psalms 139:21-22 “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate Thee? And do not I strive with those that rise up against Thee? I hate them with utmost hatred; I count them mine enemies.” In Chofetz Chaim 8:5 these people are defined as those  who deny the divine origin of the Pentateuch, the legal portion of the Talmud or any part of them.

This would be true even of a private, quiet Torah denier. However a person who attempts to influence others to follow his evil and perverse beliefs is far more heinous as is explained in Deuteronomy 13:7

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0513.htm#7

Furthermore, someone who incites a man to sin is worse than someone who murders him. Sifrei, 23:117 quoted by Rashi Deuteronomy 23:8  

http://www.tachash.org/texis/vtx/chumash/+8wwBmemcz1ecVMxwwxFqwqFqcyn1BnGdDdMOmFqAgrwpBnGa+vnFqwhzmxwww/article.html
     
In consideration of all this, I don't see any problem with any of my comments.

JRKmommy said...

I'm not going to discuss the status of specific individuals out of concern for possible avak loshon hora (ie. prompting you to make further negative statements about someone), but in fairness to your readers, they should know that rabbis have held that it is extremely rare today to apply the "wicked" label, since most Jews have been raised in a secular society and were deprived of a proper Jewish education and upbringing and are thus compared to one who was kidnapped as a child. Even an education in an Orthodox institution may be lacking in some cases.

You are quite right that leading a person to sin ("placing a stumbling block before the blind") is indeed serious.

I know, having been there once myself, that there are moments when a person's soul literally hangs in balance. A harsh word may push them away, while a kindness may bring them closer. We don't always know who is reading/hearing our words, and we can't always judge a person's inner thoughts and conflicts. There was a time when reading your words, even if they were not directed at me, would have caused me to falsely believe that Orthodox Judaism condoned misogyny and other horrible behaviors, and I would have gone off the derech as a result.

jewish philosopher said...

"they should know that rabbis have held that it is extremely rare today to apply the "wicked" label"

Sources please? I am only referring to apostates who were previously orthodox, for example "Bais Yaakov graduates" , as wicked.

jewish philosopher said...

Mommy, I think that you and I have very different concepts concerning how to relate to Orthodox Jewish apostates.

I think that I have made my own position clear, for example here

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2007/12/good-hatred.html

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/10/secret-orthodox-atheists-and-how-to.html

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

In the future you might want to spend this time criticizing the numerous anti-orthodox bloggers who doubtlessly need much more guidance than I do.

JRKmommy said...

Obviously, we have a profound disagreement. Shall we take a look at which approach is more successful, especially in North America today?

I would point to the success of kiruv and off-the-derech organizations such as Chabad and Aish, as well as others such as NCSY and smaller, Project Inspire, Rabbi Horowitz and efforts of individual rabbis and others. On a personal level, this is the approach that brought me back from the brink, so to speak. I have also had positive reactions some others, including "atheists".

Shall we ask for reactions from your readers? Since self-assessment is always hard, maybe they can provide feedback as to how each of our approaches has affected their views of Orthodox Judaism?

jewish philosopher said...

You know for some reason your last comment before this one didn't post. I don't know what the problem was. You can try again if you want.

Instead of trying to improve (dare I say nitpick) my blog I would encourage you to make your own. Or perhaps reach out directly to some of those orthodox turned atheist out there (I know one in particular who is in Detroit and is now dating a catholic boy - I won't mention names! But in the past I have said some unflattering things about her.)

Tell me how it goes.