Dec 132010

This post goes out to a twitterati, @aj2pol.

@aj2pol takes issue with my intolerance of nonsensical statements made in #auspol, a twitter discussion category inhabited by the biggest bunch of nongs it’s been my displeasure to have come across on ye olde internet. Said nongs are, in the main, ratbag conservative apologists who take a perverse delight in critiquing the mode of dress, facial features or hair colour of government members of Parliament, simply due to the fact that federal government is ALP and not conservative. They do so as a conflation to perceived poor government. In other words, petty logical fallacy stuff deliberately trolling for bites from non-conservative types. The genre abounds in the interwebs. If I, as I have done on numerous occasions, call these people out for their idiocy, tirades of tag-team abuse follows, which is totally unrelated to the initial troll.
Now, I can handle these fools as a bit of tit_for_tat fun, having struck a lot of this nonsense on ye olde internet over the years. Usually they inhabit discussion forums, which is their ultimate downfall. On any reasonable discussion board a set of rules will apply to all registrants forbidding the continual harassment of fellow registrants outside of the tenor of any pertinent discussion, usually resulting in the banning of the troll. Twitter, sadly, doesn’t have that flexibility.
Twitter, does however have the ‘Block’ facility, whereby you can block the tweets from a given individual from appearing on your stream. Those tweets from users you happen to follow, but have become noisome. As with most every circumstance where one party to a ‘discussion’ becomes weary of the petulance of the other. I can’t even recall what the original discussion was over, suffice to say that I recall challenging a nonsense claim, to be confronted with a counter claim which the proponent – @aj2pol – flatly refused to back with hard fact. On the internet, hard fact requires the presentation of evidence by way of a relevant URL. @aj2pol couldn’t or wouldn’t make that provision, preferring to browbeat his perceived opponent with rhetoric and logical fallacy. Strawman arguments and ad hominem attacks do not validate a given position, merely displays the user’s lack of grip on proper debate protocol. To demonstrate some of what I mean by the above, I’m including the so-called “open letter” which @aj2pol rather grandiosely posted into Twitlonger, a medium he thinks overcomes the 140 character constriction on rational discussion, and one I refuse point-blank to use.

On Friday 19th November 2010, @Aj2pol said:
OPEN LETTER TO @Endeesea on #auspol: Mate, you come on to twitter, you join the #auspol hashtag group and do what? You attack everyone who opposes your viewpoint – this is fine, we all do it. You seem like a smart guy, yet you refuse to engage, and then accuse the opponent in the argument of the same, even when they do engage. If you disagree with the proof presented to you: instead of viewing it, considering it, Answering it with a refuting argument, and/or and most importantly if you have been proven wrong, admitting it. You ignore it.
When you are presented with a valid argument, instead of accepting that you may be wrong, the ideologue in you prevents you from admitting you may have thought wrong. Keep in mind my friend; it is OK to be wrong sometimes. Only one man I know has ever come close to being perfect and a lot of people today say he doesn’t exist. What I did these last 2 days? I am not entirely proud of.
I took on a persona that irritates the hell out of me to teach you a lesson. Your constant refusal to consider points raised to you, only shows you’re bigoted and narrow-mindedness. Your constant refusal to even acknowledge points raised to you, shows your ignorance and lack of intelligence. I am sure you have been in finance industry for years, and think yourself to be all knowing and all seeing. (wait, where have I heard that before)
However, you have proven, with your lack of true engagement to be a fraud. I have exposed that fraud, and am not afraid to do so. You have bullied many a people on this system, many a time, and I felt it was time for you to taste your own medicine. However instead of ignoring your questions? I answered them, and then I pointed out your “failure to answer” when asked.
You call me a bully? Two words: Pot and Kettle. When I first met you? I made an inane comment about the “left” and you harangued me until I logged off. Again, when dealing with you in other discussions? You ignore anything said and continue to harangue & name call until you get the small tiniest of victories in that I begin to ignore you.
So this time I decided to let you taste your vitriol. Turns out you cannot take what you yourself dish out. Many people on #auspol do not agree with my ideology, yet a lot of them will say that in discussions had with them, that I present my case well, and even if we do not agree, we could agree to disagree.
You my friend need to learn how to agree to disagree. You my friend need to also learn how to read what is presented to you so that the discussion does not devolve into a shit slinging match as you always seem to get into. I am not happy that you have blocked me, as it means you have decide that you do not want to learn, nor discuss.
I feel that you have a lot to contribute to the discussion, IF YOU WOULD ONLY CONTRIBUTE. Take it on the chin, HEAR what is being said, and try to be civil in your conversations. I can see you don’t suffer fools gladly, I am asking is for you to re-define your understanding of the term fool. Allow others to have a different point of view and give them a fair hearing when discussing with them. Most of the left leaning people I have dealt with since election 2010 will tell you I am fair and only wish for civil conversation. All attempts at rational discourse with you have met with your obstinate refusal to discuss rationally. I am sorry that I took this all out on you.
I pray you can understand why it was done, and hope all here can appreciate the motives and intentions were not for evil.
Civil Discourse. Lets try it ok?

As Blind Freddy could tell, it’s a very condescending rant, but hidden deep within it is a grudging form of conciliatory approach which attempts to heal wounds the individual is clearly suffering. It was written 19 November. I ignored it. It was dredged up today three weeks later by its author, so yes, those wounds are deep & festering. Yes, I am quite capable of bullying people who act in a like manner. Yes, I can stoop to ad hominem abuse as quickly as the next person, but ONLY when subjected to it. The second an interlocutor decides to derail a supposedly civil conversation by openly resorting to logical fallacy; all bets are off as far as I’m concerned. He’s right about one thing. I will not suffer fools. At 53 years of age, why the hell should I? I’ve been around online discussion & debate for almost 20 years. Especially those who only want to tell me that my opinions are wrong without showing me why. We’re all entitled to our opinions, but we also need to remember they’re like arseholes. Everyone has one. Some stink more than others & no-one wants another’s shoved in their face. This is why I require, as a part of rational, logical discussion and debate in the cyber universe, supporting data for an opinion. Otherwise, that’s all it is. An opinion. A smelly arsehole that someone wants to shove into my face. All I ask is that arsehole be given some support. Validity to the dags hanging from it. Not a big ask in my view. That’s what Google is for. When I ask someone to provide a link, I expect them to have the conviction of their opinion, sufficient to find the relevant supporting information to prove to me that what they believe is kosher. Otherwise what they believe, in my view, might as well be treated as I treat such things. Fantasy.
Prime example for you, reader. Last week a tweet appeared claiming ALP doesn’t have government in this country, that the Greens have government. Clearly, that is false. It was a troll remark, but worthy of challenge as the counter evidence exists on the Australian Parliament House website. Regardless of the number links I posted into #auspol which irrefutably prove beyond any doubt that ALP is government in the 43rd Parliament, the troll absolutely denied the fact, sliding inevitably into the ad hominem I knew was coming. It didn’t take more than 2 links.
Anyway, @aj2pol is not blocked and hasn’t been for 10 days or so now. A temporary pidgeon-holing to purgatory seems to work wonders when offensive tweeps realise they can no longer get to you. Many others will remain blocked, some permanently because they simply will not change their troll-like ways. There are reasonable, rational people on the net, willing to discuss points of difference in a civil, adult manner and I really enjoy those exchanges. Occasionally, I even learn something from the engagement, and that’s the bonus. One thing I have learned though, is that far too many people don’t understand the protocols and refuse to learn them. There is an art to online debate & discussion. There’s also a whole lot of cybernet hot air issuing from smelly arseholes.