|It is beyond my understanding how Calopteryx Splendens got exiled while Mr. Nicholas Neal Otani did not. Not that Mr. Nick should have been -- or that anyone should. Every board draws trolls. |
For over 10 years, many of us numismatists enjoyed a usenet newsgroup called rec.collecting.coins that grew out of a bitnic list called firstname.lastname@example.org. Not surprisingly, one of the regular posters is gay -- sheer numerical statistics demands that -- but is also active in his local ACLU on gay issues. Therefore, it was inevitable that rec.collecting.coins was bombarded with anti-gay trollings and anti-anti-gay replies some of which might have been sock-puppets of trolls. It was not just the waste of bandwidth but the consequences of obscene message titles in a newsgroup seeking to grow a quiet hobby by attracting children.
We toughed it out. Some of us set filters on titles, lots of filters. Mostly, we just ignored them. It took a long time, but they went away.
Reading Mr. Nick's existentialism leaves me with no desire to reply. That, to me, is always the best way to handle someone with whom discussion is impossible.
The impossiblity of discussion can be positive. When Cal Splendid was exiled, I went back and read about a dozen posts, maybe more, in about as many threads. "What did this poster do to get exiled?" I asked myself. I still have no good answer. I found it impossible to "argue" with Cal Splendid. I simply did not know enough to disagree. In fact, I often agreed.
It is true that he directly criticized Ayn Rand. I have done that and I got the same replies that he did. For many people here, the writings of Ayn Rand are sacred texts, not to be questioned directly. You can say, "I don't understand..." That might lead to new ideas in Objectivism, actual contradictions to what had been believed. However, social dynamics dictates that nothing good can come from a post that refers to Ayn Rand's laughablly childish opinions about epistemology. Yet, that thread continues and the originator is not exiled. I believe that as true believers, many here enjoy sparring with a troll -- but Calopteryx Splendeds was no mere troll, and those who think so should just ignore him. As for the proper relationship of Ayn Rand to Objectivism, Ayn Rand wrote about philosophy in the same sense that Newton wrote about physics and Atlas Shrugged was her Principia.
I stuck with this forum -- board, blog, call it what you will -- through thick and thin, SOLO and the drinking problem and all that. I point out that I have four Atlases. Most of them did not come as a result of posts like this one ... though a few did. It just may be that I need to be someplace else. I don't expect to be missed. Clearly, someone needs a vacation, and it might as well be me.
- I believe that the difference between Mr. Nick and Cal Splendid is that Mr. Nicholas Neal Otani is not really a threat to anyone and Calopteryx Splendeds was a threat to someone (singular or plural) who could not answer the questions implied by the statements.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/08, 6:11am)