Anyone who continues to go to their sites, pay attention to their obsessive sniping, and engage them in debate, will only feed these trolls' craving for public attention, and thus keep them going.Robert, "they" could just as well spit back the same things at the sites that you go to, with similar-sounding justifications and the partisan-sniping rhetoric. I'm sure that it has occurred to you that there are reasonable as well as unreasonable people at pretty much any website.
Go ahead -- tell Jim Valliant what it is that you don't like about his approach in PARC. Say that you don't even agree with it. But at least be up-front and say it to him, and say why. What I've observed is patience on his part to deal with criticism. He's "demanding" honest, open debate -- not demanding agreement or conformity or threatening to treat you as an outcast if you don't.
Some people are good to deal with; others not so good. I do see plenty of tendencies -- on both "sides" -- to be quick to use language in debates with opponents (or sniping at them, as the case may be) that suggests that their opponent is evading their arguments. In one form or another, some are quick to treat everything as a slight against them. Such persons aren't especially pleasant to deal with, and it's difficult to conduct a discussion with them that doesn't start bogging down in the personal. But my goodness, let's get some thick skins and deal with the substance of criticisms. The assholes will weed themselves out of the reasonable debates. Is there not reasonable debate to be had on the Brandens and their effect on the promotion of Objectivism? TOC gives off the vibe of being a sinking ship with the Brandens most welcome on board with the remaining passengers, and TOC personnel don't seem particularly bothered with this vibe. I'm finding it peculiar that Barbara, for instance, is conspicuous in her absence from all the forums save for one that seems to be cloyingly friendly to her, prompting jokes about her stature in the Objectivist world nowadays. That isn't at all troubling to TOC which invites her as an honored and distinguished speaker?
I'm perfectly fine over at SOLO. Someone remarked that it must not be that nice a place if Fred Weiss posts there. He even posts some extreme shit about the very fact of Sciabarra's work existing. I just brush it off, let him know he's an asshole (we've got some history there on HPO -- it's all in good combative fun), and move on. I have no problem at all letting people there at SOLO know that I participate with JARS, have disagreements with the way some things are done on the "ARI side" (just the same with SOLO's own host, about as independent as they come), haven't bought into the vilification of Sciabarra even if he's made errors in judgment, am perfectly happy to be the torchbearer of lezbo raunch there, and so on.
I sure hope that it has occurred to you that there are good and productive people on each "side" for whom the approach of their "side" is most suited to them. Tara Smith does good work on the "ARI" model, and there are people that do good work on the "JARS" model. They are those that get past the partisan sniping and bickering and get on with the task of promoting ideas. The notion that an entire website from one "side" or another is filled all the way up with people not doing such productive work and not engaging in reasonable debate is just . . . odd.
Maybe your problem is with the "obsessive" personal sniping, period, that gets in the way of productive work carried out by individuals. That's all fine and good, but I don't know why or how that ends up singling out those websites, journals, etc. from one "side" and not the other. And that doesn't mean that the seemingly personal-only stuff isn't done with the promotion of Objectivism in mind -- at least in the minds of good and well-meaning people. It's rather amazing how so many from both "sides" manage to see past one another on things like this. Not everyone is into the personal bickering and meannness; there are some who actually have well-considered reasons having to do with what's best for promoting Objectivism. I'm not even saying that you have to agree in part or whole with those reasons -- but at least it helps to be familiar with those reasons from their vantage point.
Okay, enough preachy stuff for now.