It Came From The 80s – The Flamer’s Bible!

Anyone who’s been anywhere near the atheoskeptoblogosphere in the last two years might well have noticed an undercurrent (or over-current) of hate-speech, flaming, obsessive trolling, twit-stalking and general petulant shit-slinging – especially if the target is a feminist blogger. But it’s nothing new – online communication has been around for ages; as such, the anonymity inherent in it has always provided cover for keyboard warriors to dispatch rhetorical missiles and toxic word-sludge across the globe, the nation or just the building – all with no social consequences.

Without further ado, from some time in 1987, I present a selection of tips for being an Internet Tough Guy:

The twelve commandments of flaming

  •     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.”


This might be familiar. How about: “She’s a misandrist! She’s a Feminazi! She hates men! It was only an invitation to coffee at 4am! She’s frigid!”

  •     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.


This one’s never been so important to the career troll: you can’t expect every one of your hate-chorus to just be reading your blog, so to increase your back-pats & pingbacks & likes you need to facebook, tweet, instafreakingram, blog, re-blog and link to everything in whatever dark, mouldy corner of the ‘net where there are no standards of behaviour when it comes to Approved Enemies.

  •     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.


This is now known as the Galileo Gambit: They made fun of Galileo, and he was right.
They make fun of me, therefore I am right. However, the counter to this comes from Robert Park: It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.

  •     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 nauseum,” “vini, vidi, vici,” and “fetuccini alfredo.”


Accusations of ad hominem abound on the internet – usually as soon as someone gets insulted for acting like a douche. However, a true ad hominem is dimissive of an argument based on who’s making the argument, i.e. “You’re a douche therefore your argument is wrong.” Much of the time you hear an a.h. invoked, it is done so in response to a simple insult, e.g. “You’re a douche and your argument is wrong.” To avoid confusion, please be sure to dismiss someone’s argument on its own lack of merit and then call them a douche.

  •     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.


FREEZE PEACH! “Because the country I live in has granted me the right to say anything I want (of course there aren’t caveats – I can walk onto the White House lawn and threaten to stab Barry O because FREEZE PEACH is absolute!), it therefore follows that I get to follow you around the internet and regurgi-hate on every single one of your online properties. The fact that you own your twitter account, facebook, youtube account or blog doesn’t give you the right to decided who gets to talk to you! StasiNazi #bullies baawww!”

Um, yeah it does. A website/media account, as far as you’re concerned, is someone’s property as much as their doorstep or the counter of their store – if you don’t like when they shut the door in your face, try modifying (or at least paying attention to) what comes out of your face.

Go and read the rest – you’ve probably seen all of them in the last week.


Anti-quack gets his blog back

Via PZ: the good news. The bloke who called Maloney a quack (and subsequently had his blog pulled by Moritz after some world-class BAWWWW) is back online.
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Christopher Maloney is a QUACK, part four hundred billion

Apparently, according to our benevolent be-tentacled lord & master PZ Myers, some ranting naturofail named Chris Maloney is a quack. Observe the money quote and see for yourself:

Parents waiting for vaccinations can provide their children with black elderberry, which blocks the H1N1 virus. A single garlic capsule daily cuts in half the incidence and the severity of a flu episode for children.

Quackery in a nutshell. Pick a current, serious health issue. Attach to it extraordinary claims. Provide no evidence. Man the harpoons in case someone dares to disagree.

Which is more or less what happened. Based on that passage a student criticised, with good reason in my humble opinion, naturopathy, calling it “pure bull”. Okay, whatever, happens all the time. But, instead of going “meh” and dealing with this difference of opinion like a growed-up adult male man, le Canard complained to WordPress, who hosted the student’s blog. WordPress shut the guy’s blog down. Nice work, WordPress. Way to suck oily prison balls.

As a skeptic, cheerleader for science (save the cheerleader, save the world!) and despiser of all amazing things claimed without evidentiary support, it is my duty to jump in on this meme and proclaim to the three people who read this blog that Chris Maloney is a quack.

Now, this is a textbook case of the internets working against you: go ahead and whine and shut down someone’s blog if you wish, but this almost never happens without some kind of blowback (remember how VenomfangX had to apologise to Thunderf00t, and the whole internet, publicly on youtube for making false DMCA claims? Of course you don’t, but now you can googly it). Christian pressure groups learn (or not) this lesson all the time: bitch and moan publicly about a particular movie/TV show/video game/sandwich in order to have it shut down and watch the object of your righteous anger receive an instant spike in popularity and public interest. After all, you’ve brought the very thing you hate to the attention of a large number of people who didn’t yet know it existed. Now it’s more popular than ever, and you helped it get there! Not only that, now your moany whiny organisation/blog/church/self will almost certainly cop some new publicity of your own, usually of the unwanted/sarcastic/cynical variety.

That’s precisley what el Quacko did: bitched wildly about something, behaved inappropriately in censoring an opposing viewpoint, publicised the issue beyond all reasonable measure & received even more disagreement – and now ridicule on a blog with a very large, very loyal readership. Now, with PZ schooling him and spreading his quackery far & wide, Quackbot 9000 is getting a lesson in how the internets work. Not only is Chris Maloney a quack, but he’s a silly foot-stamping tantrum-throwing child, whose epic self-pwn will ring throughout the interwobble for, well, perhaps days to come.

Apparently he didn’t like being called a quack by PZ, so he hit the good prof with a sermon, which predictably resulted in Chris Maloney being called a quack again. Not only that, PZ upped the ante somewhat and brought back that good ol’ fashioned term, witch. I’m happy to call anyone who prescribes berries over vaccines for influenza a witch.

Finally, it seems that quack Chris Maloney has been receiving harrassing phone calls and such. Um … bummer. Makes us look nasty. I wouldn’t recommend it. Surely internet-wide ridicule, followed by an inevitable slide back into obscurity, is punishment enough?

Hey, did I mention that Chris Maloney is a motherfucking quack?
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