How we could solve the online male trolls problems


9:16 pm - November 8th 2011

by Jonn Elledge    


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By now, I assume, we’ve all read Helen Lewis-Hasteley’s skin-crawling round-up of the abuse and threats of sexual violence that women writers face on the net.

Anyone who writes online, of course, is used to being called naive, ignorant or just plain stupid, often by commenters for whom it seems punctuation is just something that happens to other people.

The men who make these comments pose a clear and obvious danger to society. But we shouldn’t hate them.

They can’t help themselves. They’re suffering from a surfeit of testosterone, that prevents rational thought and causes them to spew this rubbish whenever faced with the combination of a woman’s name and a keyboard. It’s a disease: they deserve our pity.

With modern medical science, though, such proclivities are easily fixed. The solution, to me, seems obvious: chop their bollocks off.

If this seems an extreme measure, one should consider the danger these men so obviously pose. After all, any man who will post a stranger’s picture on a website advertising her services as a sex worker, is clearly a serious menace to society. De-balling the gentleman in question* seems the path most likely to guarantee the welfare of the women around him.

Giving internet sex-pests the old double Hitler would have a number of other advantages. It would be both cheaper and more effective than incarceration.

It would take some of less desirable elements out of the gene pool (although, it must be said, the odds of them successfully finding someone to breed with already seem minimal).

It would help prop up the economy, by creating a valuable new British export business (details to be worked out later). Best of all, it would be fun.

That’s not to say idea wouldn’t have downsides. Certain businesses would lose out, most notably the publishers of Nuts and Zoo magazines. And Guido’s blog would look like a ghost town.

In practice, though, you’d have to do very few times. Such a move would send a very clear have a very clear deterrent effect: indeed, it may take just one high profile case to persuade the mouth breathing masses to mind their language. (I shall leave the readership to debate who would be the best candidate for such an act.)

With the political will, online misogyny could be dealt with forever. These men could become happy, productive members of society. All they need is a bloody good seeing to.

—-
*And yes, if you’re reading: in your case, this punishment is entirely proportionate. If anything, we’re going easy on you. Do it yourself if you like. You’d be doing us all a favour.

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About the author
This is a guest post. Jonn Elledge is a journalist, covering politics and the public sector.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Humour ,Media

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Reader comments


I can just imagine how the comments on this blog article will go. I imagine it will get boring quickly.

I think this is an excellent suggestion. But it begs one obvious question:

What would we do with Sally?

3. the a&e charge nurse

“They can’t help themselves. They’re suffering from a surfeit of testosterone, that prevents rational thought and causes them to spew this rubbish whenever faced with the combination of a woman’s name and a keyboard. It’s a disease: they deserve our pity” – is this an invitation to a kicking fest, or will there be some attempt to analyse, or dare I say even understand the problem?

I thought solutions like castration was usually reserved for ‘paedos’ or sex killers?

Since this is filed under inter alia ‘humour’, I guess it’s supposed to be a barrel of laughs.

Doesn’t come off though. In a way, by trivializing a subject that should command respectful and sober consideration, the writer of the OP risks himself becoming one of the over-testosteroned, laddish, prats he’s going on about.

There was a better thread on the same topic here on LC last week – but it’s tipped over the waterfall into archives already.

Shame it’s been replaced by this juvenile tosh.

The solution, to me, seems obvious: chop their bollocks off.

Nuts.

Great to see a libcon commentator acknowledge the value and logic of deterrence:)

Slightly shorter summary of the article:

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I don’t go on wing nut sites because I have no need to do so. I’m not interested in their knuckle dragging opinions. The tory troll is filled with hate and deep insecurity. One of the reasons they are particularly unpleasant with liberal woman.

My issue here is that this is a liberal leftie site. There is no need for them to be here. They add nothing, and there are plenty of pro brownshirt outlets for them to use.

Delete the bastards I say.

Oh dear – Telegraph blog alert.

”The campaign to ‘Stamp Out Misogyny Online’ echoes Victorian efforts to protect women from coarse language.”

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100115868/the-campaign-to-stamp-out-misogyny-online-echoes-victorian-efforts-to-protect-women-from-coarse-language/

It won’t work. While it might be quite gratifying I seriously doubt it will change the patriarchal temper of the internet (or the world for that matter) and if you really are sugesting this in all seriousness, you might like to remember that (chemical) castration (just as effective in the reduction of testosterone) never stopped the paedophiles.

11. So Much For Subtlety

Just in passing, it is still not trolling. It is flaming.

At least get the language right.

Trolling is what this article is actually doing – posting something deliberately designed to upset people and provoke a response.

Why is it that left wing men seem to arrive ready castrated ? Don`t like sport , treat women like Ming vases, can`t drink, don`t smoke , never spent a night in the cells , prefer Cold Play to Jimmy Hendrix, get no speeding points, admire the Toyota Prius ( had model of Prius as child ). Throw like a girl, like art house cinema, actually read Booker Prize Winning sensitive evocation of 1930s India. Played game with hoops where everyone wins at school, not rugby.Oddly hairless usually, can`t dance,sport straggly beard, drink herbal tea, don`t get fa, listen to friends ( as opposed to looking for gap for inserting own better story ),have partner and take interest in her day.

Are we seeing the birth of a new sex ?

This sounds slightly familiar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04clpd7h0b0

I feel we are neglecting to consider compromise solutions such as enforced wearing of those male chastity devices:
http://www.phoenixchastity.com/

Enforcement costs to ensure compliance could be kept within affordable limits by electronic tagging of the devices.

I do agree that we shouldn’t hate them. So I can’t see how castrating them squares with that sentiment…

Not quite sure how to take this.

If it is intended to be deeply satirical, in the style of A Modest Proposal, the OP is satirising the notion that men should be prevented, by whatever means, from saying nasty things about feminists on the internet.

However, if that is the case, the only logical deduction as to why Sunny felt it merited publication here is that he missed the satirical element. Not impossible.

If, on the other hand, the piece is not intended to be satire, but is the expression of some kind of hate speak directed at blog commenting female abusers, the writer has clearly lost his marbles, as has Sunny for publishing it.

Either way, there is no rational response to be elicited.

17. the a&e charge nurse

[16] “If it is intended to be deeply satirical” – certainly the castration sequence echos Chris Morris’s ‘paedogeddon’.

Elledge:

If this seems an extreme measure, one should consider the danger these men so obviously pose. After all, any man who will post a stranger’s picture on a website advertising her services as a sex worker, is clearly a serious menace to society. De-balling the gentleman in question* seems the path most likely to guarantee the welfare of the women around him.

Of course either (a) chopping their hands off (so they can’t text/tweet/post easily) or (b) just shooting them would be a neater and – in the case of execution – more permanent and even more amusing alternative.

Is this the blog article on this topic that jumps the shark?

the a&e charge nurse

[16] “If it is intended to be deeply satirical” – certainly the castration sequence echos Chris Morris’s ‘paedogeddon’.

But sexist online idiots don’t smell of hammers, so how can we identify them?

Delete the bastards I say.

Now, that’s going a bit too far. . .

21. the a&e charge nurse

[19] oh, I think we know what to look for – Rod Liddle has already made his views known – apparently we are a “vast network of talentless and embittered individuals tapping away at their keyboards in the intellectual vacuum of cyberspace, only occasionally leaving their computer screens to heat up a Tesco microwave-ready mini filled garlic and coriander nan bread with Indian dip selection (mango chutney, pickle, cucumber raita ©) before returning to spew out some more unsubstantiated bile”.

Sounds about right?

Presumably the intent is to wind up certain people so that they can then be called humourless and hypocrites. Alas it’s rather too obvious what you’re up to if that’s the case.

John Elledge: “After all, any man who will post a stranger’s picture on a website advertising her services as a sex worker, is clearly a serious menace to society.”

Faced with the problems of entering the Euro in 2000 with an overvalued exchange rate for the DMark, the previous Social Democrat government in Germany set about improving compativeness by fiscal stringency and reforms of welfare provisions. Among the reforms, unemployment benefits were made contingent on accepting reasonable job offers and prostitution was made a legal occupation subject to making normal tax returns.

By media reports, some guy offered an out-of-work woman he fancied a job as a prostitute – apparently to make fun of the reforms. Unfortunately, I lost track of the outcome.

I find forced mutilation and eugenics really funny too, I loled so hard I spilled my cognac.

Its not exactly a secret that by far the most frequent and vile troll on LC is Sally.

Do you lefties even have a tiny bit of self-awareness?

“Enforcement costs to ensure compliance could be kept within affordable limits by
electronic tagging of the devices.”

My attention has been drawn to a potential and serious flaw in the proposal for enforced chastity devices for males who offend feminist bloggers and their followers as an alternative to castration. Basically, the flaw is reflected in this recent news report:

“Private security firm G4S has sacked two members of staff who tagged a man’s false leg allowing him to remove it and break a court-imposed curfew.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-14705328

@25 tory

Leon wolfson and Jim are pretty bad too, but as you suggest don’t have an ounce of self awareness.

I guess they think they’re fighting the good fight on the correct side,yet can’t see the problem with saying (and I quote) things like “exterminate the tory vermin”.

Liberal my @rse

…and instantly the OP legitimizes all the things female bloggers have been complaining about – crude gender stereotyping, the wholesale dismissal of people’s views based on the idea that they’re constitutionally irrational, threats of violence – as just part of the rough-and-tumble of internet debate. (“Of course I don’t *really* think women should be raped/men should have their balls chopped off; it’s a joke innit? Stop being so bleeding sensitive. Your hormones make you bloody stupid or something?”)

29. Simon (but not the one above)

This is spectacularly dumb.

At best, it comes across as a failed attempt at satire by someone who simply doesn’t understand satire.

But I bet, to the very misogynists it’s about, it’ll come across as proof that feminists are actually violently intolerant hypocrites. They certainly won’t find it difficult to construe it that way.

The best thing that could be done with this article is to swiftly publish a full apology for such a badly thought out blunder.

Most entertaining, thanks.

The two most violent internet commenters I know are women

I am absolutely disgusted to see that Sunny has once again tagged one of my modest proposals as if it were some sort of joke. I thought long and hard about this piece. If my policy ideas are not going to be taken seriously, then I shall have to think very hard before writing for @libcon again.

If my policy ideas are not going to be taken seriously, then I shall have to think very hard before writing for @libcon again.

Actually, you’ll find it hard to find another blog where such modest proposals are taken more seriously…….

What a strange post, too poorly written to be satire and too outrageous to be taken seriously.

I don’t understand the big deal with”trolls”, surely they are best dealt with by being ignored.

I think the problem is a never ending cycle of insecure people fueling each others constant need for attention.

Why else spend the time writing an article about how little you care about what someone has said.

I’m a fan of your ironic attempt to counter hyperbolic threats of violence with hyperbolic threats of violence.
You intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

36. Chaise Guevara

It’s hard to see what the point is to this, other than to make LC’s previous complaints about people threatening violence on the internet look really hypocritical.

Let me get this straight, Sunny: threatening rape is unacceptable, but threatening sexual mutilation is funny? Or is this sort of behaviour acceptable when your mates do it, but not at other times?

Totally ridiculous.

Actually, on a second reading the humour was a lot clearer (it was perhaps because I realised it was there by that time – perhaps using some form of opening that alludes that you might not be fully serious would help).

I note a slight echo chamber effect here though – the clique of commentators who were supporting the posts crying that this behaviour was unacceptable (which is socially is…) and should be stopped (which is up to the website surely, and if a crime was threatened, perhaps the police) seem to be missing. Perhaps they do not appreciate the extreme measures suggested here, but I fear it is more that their sense of humour is absent.

Bluntly, a threat of sexual assualt is a crime, and not a laughing matter; but it appears that there is a laughing matter available in the over-the-top reaction.

It was only after inadvertently straying on to an adult website a few years back that I came to appreciate that there were grades of eunuchs serving in the Ottoman empire and further afield.

Some eunuchs were more equal than others, so to speak, depending on the extent of amputation and whether conducted pre- or post-puberty. Suffice it to say that it would have been imprudent – or unusually benign, depending on personal perspective – to have tasked some eunuchs with administering a seraglio. Life cannot have been altogether fulfilling to be one among King Solomon’s hundreds of wives and concubines when the penalty on being caught for infidelity was stoning.

I write of complain of unconstructive ambiguity here in commending castration for males who offend feminist bloggers and their followers. Greater precision is essential. We need to know what grade of eunuchdom is envisaged. For all its potential failings, consignment to wearing a tagged chastity device seems quite sufficient.

39. Man on Clapham Omnibus

I think the term misogyny needs deconstructing as does the use of punctuation.

If it is intended to be deeply satirical, in the style of A Modest Proposal, the OP is satirising the notion that men should be prevented, by whatever means, from saying nasty things about feminists on the internet.

No.

Ideas – all ideas – should be open to debate. If someone wants to argue that feminism is destructive, or even just plain wrong, that’s entirely up to them. Fair play. Free speech, and all that. I may disagree (I do disagree), but I’ll defend to the death the right, etc, etc.

But claims that someone holds their opinion because they’re ugly, or suggestions that they’d feel differently if they got more sex – let alone threats of actual physical violence or rape – they’re beyond the pale. To say such comments are rude is an understatement of Herculean proportions. I quite genuinely find them disturbing.

To my mind they suggest – and now I’m not attempting, however ineptly, to be satirical – an actual emotional problem. You think that someone holds a political opinion because they haven’t had your genitals forcibly stuck down your throat? Really? Then stay the fuck away from me and everyone else I’ve ever met, because I think there’s something wrong with you.

I don’t really believe that someone should be castrated for being rude on the internet, no. But I do believe that suggesting it is a quite reasonable response to someone who sees their dick as a weapon against a woman whose views they dislike. If you’re one of the people described at length in Helen Lewis-Hastely’s original column, then I’d like you to think long and hard about how you’d feel about it if someone spoke like that to someone in your life.

While I sympathise with the aims of this article (and to be fair, I haven’t really read it properly, I’ve just skimmed through some of the comments), I cannot find it within myself to condone mutilation of any kind. Perhaps a more humane and appropriate punishment would be the surgical grafting of an additional penis or testicle to a prominent area, such as the forearm or neck.

I would certainly write to my MP urging him to vote in favour of the Double Hitler (Trolling Halfwits) Act 2011

PMuse:

Perhaps a more humane and appropriate punishment would be the surgical grafting of an additional penis or testicle to a prominent area, such as the forearm or neck.

Not obvious enough: it should be bang in the middle of the forehead, and throbbingly erect out of shame – the male equivalent of a scarlet letter

I don’t really believe that someone should be castrated for being rude on the internet, no. But I do believe that suggesting it is a quite reasonable response to someone who sees their dick as a weapon against a woman whose views they dislike.

So you are on the right site after all. You actually meant it!!!!

A much more rational response to the hysterical (I am not prepared to forfeit that word to the language police) bleatings of the blogging feminists here.

It will take a damn sight more than abuse referring to the fact that I am female to prise my cold dead hand off this keyboard, and I am utterly shocked that that a series of lily livered women should be claiming that they have all given up writing for the main stream media – ‘the worst letters were filtered out before they reached me’ no less – because of on-line abuse. Grow up!

http://www.annaraccoon.com/politics/female-bloggers-cry-rape/

45. Simon (but not the one above)

Re: 40. Jonn

“I don’t really believe that someone should be castrated for being rude on the internet, no. But I do believe that suggesting it is a quite reasonable response to someone who sees their dick as a weapon against a woman whose views they dislike.”

That just sounds like sinking to their level. And no, calling it “satire” doesn’t make it satire.

But if you’re trying to satirise feminist denunciations of such misogyny, perhaps you’re doing too good a job!

That just sounds like sinking to their level.

I’m the level above. I can use a semi-colon.

Ideas – all ideas – should be open to debate.

But claims that someone holds their opinion because they’re ugly, or suggestions that they’d feel differently if they got more sex – let alone threats of actual physical violence or rape – they’re beyond the pale
—–

So should all ideas be open to debate or not? If not then the argument that “they said a nasty thing first” doesn’t hold much truck in grown up world

So should all ideas be open to debate or not? If not then the argument that “they said a nasty thing first” doesn’t hold much truck in grown up world

Threatening someone with rape is not an idea, it’s a threat. Jesus, what are you, a moron?

I refuse to believe that anyone can actually be as stupid as that comment suggests you are. You’re just winding me up.

@40 “But claims that someone holds their opinion because they’re ugly, or suggestions that they’d feel differently if they got more sex . . . ”

Let’s be scientific about that.

Why do nuns have a high rate of breast cancer?
http://www.parade.com/health/askdrrosenfeld/womens-health/nuns.html

48 – I must be, because I thought threatening castration was a threat as well.

@49

You are. HTH.

52. General Francisco Franco

well I got the horn. I like it when women talk dirty.

53. General Francisco Franco

Yeah, SMFS isnt a troll he is a flamer. As Encyclopedia Dramtica suggests….

The Twelve Commandments of Flaming

1.Make things up about your opponent: It’s important to make your lies sound true. Preface your argument with the word “clearly.” “Clearly, Fred Flooney is a liar, and a dirtball to boot.”

2.Be an armchair psychologist: You’re a smart person. You’ve heard of Freud. You took a psychology course in college. Clearly, you’re qualified to psychoanalyze your opponent. “Polly Purebread, by using the word ‘zucchini’ in her posting, shows she has a bad case of penis envy.”

3.Cross-post your flames: Everyone on the net is just waiting for the next literary masterpiece to leave your terminal. From rec.arts.wobegon to alt.gourmand, they’re all holding their breaths until your next flame. Therefore, post everywhere.

4.Conspiracies abound: If everyone’s against you, the reason can’t possibly be that you’re a fuckhead. There’s obviously a conspiracy against you, and you will be doing the entire net a favor by exposing it.

5.Lawsuit threats: This is the reverse of Rule #4 (sort of like the Yin & Yang of flaming). Threatening a lawsuit is always considered to be in good form. “By saying that I’ve posted to the wrong group, Bertha has libeled me, slandered me, and sodomized me. See you in court, Bertha.”

6.Force them to document their claims: Even if Harry Hoinkus states outright that he likes tomato sauce on his pasta, you should demand documentation. If Newsweek hasn’t written an article on Harry’s pasta preferences, then Harry’s obviously lying.

7.Use foreign phrases: French is good, but Latin is the lingua franca of flaming. You should use the words “ad hominem” at least three times per article. Other favorite Latin phrases are “ad nauseam,” “veni, vidi, vici,” and “Fettuccini Alfredo.”

8.Tell ’em how smart you are: Why use intelligent arguments to convince them you’re smart when all you have to do is tell them? State that you’re a member of Mensa or Mega or Dorks of America. Tell them the scores you received on every exam since high school. “I got an 800 on my SATs, LSATs, GREs, MCATs, and I can also spell the word ‘premeiotic’.”

9.Accuse your opponent of censorship. It is your right as an American citizen to post whatever the hell you want to the net (as guaranteed by the 37th Amendment, I think). Anyone who tries to limit your cross-posting or move a flame war to email is either a communist, a fascist, or both.

10.Doubt their existence: You’ve never actually seen your opponent, have you? And since you’re the center of the universe, you should have seen them by now, shouldn’t you? Therefore, THEY DON’T EXIST! This is the beauty of flamers’ logic.

11.Lie, cheat, steal, leave the toilet seat up.

12.When in doubt, insult: If you forget the other 11 rules, remember this one. At some point during your wonderful career as a flamer you will undoubtedly end up in a flame war with someone who is better than you. This person will expose your lies, tear apart your arguments, make you look generally like a bozo. At this point, there’s only one thing to do: insult the dirtbag!!! “Oh yeah? Well, your mother does strange things with vegetables.”

…sounds like SMFS…your right, their is a difference between a flamer and a troll, the difference is, that a flamer tries way to hard to be a troll.

54. Simon (but not the one above)

I hope Sunny Hundal is suitably embarrassed with how this is turning out.

We actually have the OP calling another commenter a “moron”.

“We have a tight comments policy aimed at fostering constructive debate.
We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.
Abusive, sarcastic or silly comments may be deleted.”

facepalm

The usual unreliable sources have it that Amazon will shortly start selling organic medication for humour deficiency online with optional top-ups.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 53

The fact that someone doesn’t laugh at the same jokes as you does not mean they have a “humour deficiency”.

I didn’t find the article funny, mainly because the humour of it seems to based on the idea that it would be funny to castrate people (and no, I don’t think it’s a serious suggestion). I’m not going to dictate what counts as “correct” humour, or scream “Jokes about this are NOT FUNNY!” I like some bad-taste jokes myself, I just happened not to enjoy this one.

Personally, my beef isn’t with the author, it’s with Sunny and his amazing hypocrisy when you compare this post with the one about online abuse.

The humour is with the gross disproportionality between the claimed offence and proposed the penalty. The disproportionality is so gross that no one this side of sanity is expected to take it seriously.

The evident public regard for a long string of women authors and broadcasters shows that women are not stereotypically despised and that the men who habitually put down women are the odd ones out.

I’ve also pointed out that other categories of posters to threads have also been subject to bouts of abuse – such as the critics from either gender of European monetary union dubbed “insane” by Europhiles c. 2000 who were often incapable of comprehending that there were entirely rational grounds for believing that monetary union in Europe would be unstable..

As someone who experienced those exchanges online, it soon became clear that civil, rational discourse was impossible because the respective parties were working from completely incompatible paradigms or systems of thought. I suspect something like that is also true of the feminist bloogers, with their followers, and the men who post abuse about them.

58. Chaise Guevara

@ 57 Bob B

“The humour is with the gross disproportionality between the claimed offence and proposed the penalty. The disproportionality is so gross that no one this side of sanity is expected to take it seriously.”

I honestly don’t see what’s funny about that. Similarly, if someone wrote an article called “What Should We Do With Benefit Cheats? Murder Them!” I wouldn’t see what was amusing there either. It might work as satire, a way of pointing out that people’s response to the trolls was over the top, but that really doesn’t seem to be the point of the article. It’s on the same side as the previous article, not satirising it.

I think the article is not so much a joke as a fantasy piece using a “just joking!” defence. The message I got from it was this: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could castrate these guys? I mean, we’re not actually going to, we’re civilised people and it’s all a joke after all, but doesn’t the idea make you smile?” Basically the same as people who make jokes about rounding up and shooting immigrants, but would be horrified by the idea of doing so in real life.

“As someone who experienced those exchanges online, it soon became clear that civil, rational discourse was impossible because the respective parties were working from completely incompatible paradigms or systems of thought. I suspect something like that is also true of the feminist bloogers, with their followers, and the men who post abuse about them.”

Agreed – probably the main reason for the abuse is that feminists are writing about a highly divisive issue that attracts zealots on both sides. I’d expect the same to apply to pro-life or pro-choice articles, regardless of the writer’s gender. On the other hand, a lot of the language being used IS misogynistic.

The thing that depresses me most about this thread, I think, is the total lack of knowledge of Jonathan Swift. Perhaps Gove is right about our schools system.

60. Simon (but not the one above)

Re: 59. Jonn

“The thing that depresses me most about this thread, I think, is the total lack of knowledge of Jonathan Swift.”

You yourself have demonstrated a fundamental failure to understand that kind of satire. This has been concisely explained by pagar in comment 16.

61. Simon (but not the one above)

Perhaps I should spell it out.

The Wikipedia article on A Modest Proposal nicely explains, “Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

So, if Jonn Elledge’s original article is supposed to be Swiftian satire, it must be that he’s actually on the side of the misogynists, satirising and opposing feminist calls for something to be done to stop their online misogyny.

In A Modest Proposal, Swift postures as being genuinely concerned about the plight of the Irish. Elledge postures as regarding misogynists as “suffering from a surfeit of testosterone, that prevents rational thought and causes them to spew this rubbish whenever faced with the combination of a woman’s name and a keyboard. It’s a disease: they deserve our pity.”

Swift goes on to propose killing Irish children for food. This is obviously a ridiculously harsh treatment for people he supposedly wants to help. Elledge goes on to propose castrating misogynists. Likewise, this is obviously a ridiculously harsh treatment for people he supposedly wants to help.

So, if we are to take his original article as Swiftian satire, it must be that he’s actually satirising feminist opposition to online misogyny.

Alternatively, Elledge simply doesn’t understand satire.

Either way, I have to agree with pagar, and conclude that Sunny Hundal has blundered by posting this article.

62. Simon (but not the one above)

PS: When I say, “Swift postures as being genuinely concerned about the plight of the Irish”, I don’t mean that he wasn’t genuinely, genuinely concerned. I mean that he was pretending to pretend that he was genuinely concerned, as part of his satire. There were two levels of pretence. Perhaps this is what’s confused Jonn Elledge.

Chaise: “Agreed – probably the main reason for the abuse is that feminists are writing about a highly divisive issue that attracts zealots on both sides. I’d expect the same to apply to pro-life or pro-choice articles, regardless of the writer’s gender. On the other hand, a lot of the language being used IS misogynistic.”

You’re right about the impossibility of rational discourse on the issue of life v choice IMO but there are several other issues where rational discourse also becomes impossible and where there is no obvious misogynist angle. Other issues IME – most evident in American forums – are the second amendment (on the right to bear arms) and getting back to the Gold Standard.

When I used to frequent American forums about a decade ago, as times were hard before Clinton became president I suspect gun-nut lobbyists were paid by the National Rifle Association to post on why we should all be packing shooters in order to cut crime. At times, almost every thread was taken over by this. Look carefully in this forum and we have some gold nuts around.

@63 – Or a lot of people genuinely hold a different opinion to you, and their belief in it a

@64: “Or a lot of people genuinely hold a different opinion to you, and their belief in it ”

Manifestly so but the reason why rational discourse becomes impossible, I suspect, is not just because of divergent personal opinions but because the respective contestants subscribe to completely incompatible paradigms or world views.

Pry a little and it often becomes clear that they disagree profoundly about fundamental premises. Until those disagreements are reconciled, there is lttile realistic prospect of agreement about much else. Try the Tea Party folk in America versus mainstream Democrats.

@65 Agree totally Bob, I appreciate as well how you seem able to grasp that two opposing viewpoints are both right as well as both being wrong.

I say – let the troll free.

Trolls are very useful – they allow the more intelligent of us to expose their irrational thinking and display their hate for all to see.

Only on the internet do you get this opportunity – in public the Tory Troll keeps his head down – is much more diplomatic – and cannot be exposed as easily. He is always much more reasonable.

I also view troll attraction as a sign of “getting to the truth” – if you’re close – you’ll have an army of Trolls trying to prevent you opening that door of reality.

When I saw the headline I was hoping for a serious piece of reflection on the issue – as opposed to a reactionary knee-jerk response which would be more at home on the Daily Mail or Sun website pages…

I deeply suspect that castration would not do anything to modify behaviour which in all likelihood probably essentially stems from LACK of testosterone mixed with various missing social integration skills (inherent in varying degrees with those people – usually men – with aspergers syndrome).

In my experience, low self-esteem & depression often play a large part too – often with physical pain of some description alongside medication for that.

We cannot rule out the part that adolescence also plays in this heady mixture – fuelled in no small part by reactionary media and social connections.

Chopping off someone’s testicles I suggest is likely to make the problem worse not better….

How bout a re-write with sensible focus eh?

@Dave: “you seem able to grasp that two opposing viewpoints are both right as well as both being wrong.”

If that means that propositions: “A” and “not-A” can be simultaneously true then I don’t agree.

@Staircase2, 68: Have you got a citation for people with Asperger’s having low testosterone. Everything I’ve seen has indicated the opposite.

71. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 Jonn

“The thing that depresses me most about this thread, I think, is the total lack of knowledge of Jonathan Swift. Perhaps Gove is right about our schools system”

Oh dear. People don’t like your article, so they must be ignorant, right?

Whatever the merits or otherwise of the article, it doesn’t qualify as satire, let alone Swiftian satire. I’m not saying it’s not GOOD enough to qualify, just that it isn’t in the “satire” genre. I’d explain further, but Simon’s beaten me to it and done a good job.

Get over yourself. Reacting to criticism by blithely explaining how much better you are than your critics isn’t going to do you any favours.

72. Chaise Guevara

@ 63 Bob B

“You’re right about the impossibility of rational discourse on the issue of life v choice IMO but there are several other issues where rational discourse also becomes impossible and where there is no obvious misogynist angle”

Oh, plenty. Probably the biggest one is the perennial Israel/Palestine argument, at least in public forums. That’s why I tend not to get involved in those debates (that, and the fact that I’m aware of my own ignorance on the subject).

Chaise

On intractable issues with no misogynist aspects, the Palestine conflict erupts perennially and exerts a persistent destabilisng influence over the Middle East.

Outbreaks of public debates on this are effectively unavoidable as a consequence. As several Israelis, as well as independent commentators, have observed, there is no prospect of progress in peace negotiations with Netanyahu governments in place because he is dependent on continuing support from the settlers and other extremist groups. The balance of international sentiment is very clear from the recent vote in UNESCO to admit the Palestine Authority to full membership – by 107 votes to 14 votes. As someone has pointed out, the 107 votes represent more than three-quarters of the world population.

Besides that, it is just not true that there are no misogynist aspects. I was surprised the other morning to learn from the BBC Today programme that Ultra-orthodox jews in Israel are much opposed to women singing in public places where they can be heard by men. At first, I thought this must be some sort of weird antisemitic joke but not so – and the issues extend well beyond women singing in public as this shows:
http://www.meretzusa.org/take-action/letters/tell-israels-speaker-of-the-knesset-womens-rights-are-everyones-rights

I was also amazed to discover that there are even published guidelines for approved kosher music which appear to exclude all pop music as heard in mainstream transatlantic media.

@12 – I think you’re confusing leftwing men, with grown ups.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/zWmgUNhg

  2. Aegir Hallmundur

    Heh RT @libcon How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/3qmbWM3R

  3. Emma

    *snort* How we could solve the online male trolls problems | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/cT7aibEj via @libcon

  4. Janet Graham

    How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/zWmgUNhg

  5. Jonathan Taylor

    Ha.. RT @libcon: How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/VA7A7dn6

  6. Magnus McMagnusson

    Send for the three billy-goats gruff. RT @libcon: How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/ZnYudQkK

  7. Victoria Uong

    RT @libcon: How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/Ubu5BdiE

  8. Paula Moreno

    How we could solve the online male trolls problems http://t.co/LsfDBm5z

  9. Jonn Elledge

    Me @libcon: A modest proposal for dealing with the online misogyny problem that @helenlewis exposed last week http://t.co/1tCNiAug

  10. Dawn Foster

    I am sat at my desk stifling giggles at @jonnelledge's use of the term "Double Hitler" here: http://t.co/M4ChMBoh

  11. Jonn Elledge

    My modest proposal to deal with online misogyny: http://t.co/RaiKuiFY (I'm gonna keep retweeting myself. Get over it.)

  12. Gemma Wilkie

    My modest proposal to deal with online misogyny: http://t.co/RaiKuiFY (I'm gonna keep retweeting myself. Get over it.)

  13. Jonn Elledge

    Okay. Comment number 38 on my "castrate the sex pest trolls" piece is brilliant: http://t.co/RaiKuiFY All hail 'Bob B'

  14. Jonn Elledge

    I just wrote a long and involved comment explaining myself under this piece, and the internet ate it. DAMMIT. http://t.co/2hrigyge

  15. Boris Watch

    'The solution, to me, seems obvious: chop their bollocks off.' http://t.co/nfOqxHew #win

  16. Jonn Elledge

    @helenlewis I suggested a solution to the misogyny issue @libcon. The people unsure if I meant it really upset me http://t.co/RaiKuiFY

  17. Jonn Elledge

    Now there's some guy seriously arguing that rape threats are fine but jokes about castration are beyond the pale http://t.co/2hrigyge FFS!

  18. Eddie Robson

    My modest proposal to deal with online misogyny: http://t.co/RaiKuiFY (I'm gonna keep retweeting myself. Get over it.)

  19. David Wearing

    Dealing with male trolls: a modest proposal http://t.co/L7FTrJDF This is sensible and I believe it could work

  20. KrustyAllslopp

    Dealing with male trolls: a modest proposal http://t.co/L7FTrJDF This is sensible and I believe it could work

  21. Oliver Farry

    A modest proposal to deal with misogynistic trolls. Few of the commenters appear familiar with Jonathan Swift: http://t.co/RDbLS4xR

  22. Diane Lawrence

    How we could solve the online male trolls problems | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/dyEVFNi2 via @libcon

  23. Jonn Elledge

    Last year I came up with a modest proposal to deal with misogyny. Considering turning it into a serious policy idea http://t.co/2hrigyge





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