Tag Archives: Sistertrek

The Logic of a White Supremacist

ssAt some point I have to ask myself if there is any value in continuing this conversation with the self proclaimed “white Supremacist.” I say this because it is now evident that his world view is not indicative of some larger movement. His mindset and belief system is really just his own (and perhaps an Australian blogger he referenced to have been influenced by). In spite of his solipsism he has hijacked the labels “white Supremacist” and “Christian” but truly he is neither in the traditional senses of these labels. I say this only because he specifically denies being a part of a community of fellow white Supremacists or fellow Christians who share his beliefs. As such, what I am really investigating when I debate him is the content of his mind and nothing else. No larger truths are revealed in this process; at least no larger truths concerning white Supremacy or Christianity.

Another aspect of our relationship I must acknowledge is that he has given me a wealth of material to write about which has significantly increased the viewership of my blog. I suppose I should be grateful for his assistance in helping me to get my message out. Ironically, he started commenting on my blog for the specific purpose of expressing his displeasure with my message.

But interacting with him is a negative business. I have been over this before. It does not uplift my spirit in anyway. On the contrary, it drags me down to his egocentric level. It is criticism, comparison, degradation and shame. It has a painful and depressing quality to it. Of course I am bringing this up to also acknowledge that this dialog must at some point come to an end because ultimately it serves no positive purpose. It is akin to internet trolling or addiction in that it provides a moment of entertainment value but is actually void of higher purpose value. It is almost as if Thordaddy (the white Supremacist’s handle) is a reincarnation of Admiralbill from Sistertrek.

It must end at some point. I am thinking Lent might be a good time to cut the chord. The great thing about this sparing match taking place on my blog is that I can end it at any time simply by deleting his comments. I did not have this luxury on Sistertrek with Admiralbill. As such I was always in the position of hoping he would not respond so that I could maintain my possession of the last word.

Before I cut the chord there is a little more to discuss. Notably, he recently wrote a comment wherein he laid out a five point logical proof of his belief system:.

  1. The Perfect Man [is an] empirical fact.
  2. No such “thing” as “universal equality” [exists].
  3. Ergo, [the] white man strives towards Supremacy.
  4. We call such white man a “white Supremacist”.
  5. Blacks HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH 1-4 beyond simply … showing an enemy face.

His first assertion is “The Perfect Man [is] empirical fact.” By this he means that there is documented evidence of eyewitness accounts testifying that Jesus Christ existed. This documentation is the New Testament. He refers to Jesus as the “Perfect Man” but it is not at all clear in what sense he sees Jesus as perfect. I suspect he does not believe Jesus was racially perfect in that he was ethnically a Semite. Perhaps he means that Jesus had a perfect mindset. If true, I would argue that Thordaddy does not seek to emulate this mindset. I suspect he would argue that my interpretation of scripture is corrupted by modern, liberal influences and that Jesus in fact advocated white Supremacy which I suppose would make him prejudice against himself.

His second assertion is that there is “[n]o such ‘thing’ as ‘universal equality’. By this he means that humans are not inherently equal. The implication is that I or liberals in general believe that everyone is equal. I am not sure why he holds on to this assertion so tightly but it seems very important to his belief system. People are clearly not equal. Some are short and some are tall. Some are strong and some are weak. Some are rich and some are poor. I do believe in equality before the law. I am not sure if this is what he is referring to in terms of “universal equality” but I suspect not. He once said something to the effect that equality before the law works well on paper but not when managed by “radical autonomists.” I think the stronger argument is that equality before the law would not work well when managed by racists.

His third and fourth assertions are the “white man strives towards Supremacy” and that “[w]e call such white man a ‘white Supremacist’.” He has repeatedly argued that when he uses the word “supremacy” he actually means “perfection” and not “superiority over other races.” In other words, the fact that he seems to hate other races should not in anyway be considered as it relates to his racial superiority. This seems like he is not willing to fully own his racism which in turn suggests there is an undercurrent of shame at work. This has been my point all along. It is a point that seems to get under his skin which in turn suggests there is some truth to it.

His final assertion is that “Blacks HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH 1-4 beyond simply agreeing or showing an enemy face.” But I think “Blacks” have everything to do with his first four points. He seems to want to hate “Blacks” but justify this hatred with a pseudo-spiritual / philosophical system. His denial runs strong and deep. I know that I will never convince him that he is wrong and he will never convince me that he is right even though this is the mode in which we converse with each other. So really there is no purpose in continuing this dialog which is the point that started this piece off in the first place. There is an entertaining quality to it, true. But there is also a negative, ego saturated quality to it as well. It is this negative quality that will ultimately motivate me to put an end to it.

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People Who Enjoy Making Others Feel Crappy About Themselves

Have you ever argued with someone who makes you feel crappy about yourself for the views you espouse? I call these types of people “Admiralbills.” Admiralbill was my old nemesis from the now defunct message board called “Sistertrek.” He had a personality type I have observed in all corners of the internet, talk radio and conservative cable news.

Typical examples of the Admiralbill personality type include Ann Coulter, Michael Voris, Anchormom, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. This personality type is almost always conservative although there are some liberal examples. Bill Maher comes to mind. The liberals tend to be atheists interestingly enough. The conservative ones long for a return to a more virtuous era, blaming change and liberalism for the downfall of civilization.

The reason the Admiralbills of the world make you feel crappy is they make their points by shaming their opponents. They label their opponents weak, lazy, stupid dishonest with the implication that you are possessed by these same qualities if you agree with them. Admiralbills are bullies and try to intimidate their opponents into admitting they are correct or otherwise giving in to their point of view.

Admiralbills are unforgiving. They will use any olive branch their opponents offer against them as evidence of guilt.

Another interesting trait shared by many within this personality type (mostly the conservative ones) is that they talk in clichés. They typically have a snappy, prefabricated phrase always at the ready with which to label their opponents. Perhaps this technique makes it easier for them to remember their arguments. It seems a little intellectually lazy; almost a technique to avoid thinking in an Orwellian sense. Once an opponent is labeled they become that label and cease to be a person deserving respect in the eyes of an Admiralbill.

Admiralbills subscribe to a shame based morality structure. They believe shame is what keeps civilization intact. If someone is not pulling their weight or otherwise acting immoral they deserved to be shamed. What the Admiralbills of the world do not seem to realize is that their motivation to shame other people is not virtuous as they would like to believe but is really only a replaying of the shaming they received when their own morality structure was imposed upon them. They possess a loyalty to this system of shame and often become enraged when this system is challenged. Challenging this system touches the very core of their sense of self and has to be protected at all costs. They view the people who challenge this system as literally trying to destroy their world. This is why there can be no compromising with Admiralbills. Compromise destroys their world and the people who seek to compromise are traitors and terrorists.

This system of shame is passed on to others by shaming them. When a person is shamed they will instinctively want to shame other people because this lessens their own shameful feelings momentarily. It is a primitive, dominating instinct like dogs humping dogs and prisoners humping prisoners. But like an addiction the desire to shame other people can never be fully satiated. In this way shame repeats itself over and over and spreads like a virus from one host to another.

How do I know all this? Because I was once one of them. I was trapped in the shame dynamic. I was miserable but I did not want to see past it because shame had convinced me that to challenge shame is disloyal and treasonous. Breaking out of this dynamic was an eye-opening and liberating experience. It all starts with awareness of the cycle. With awareness the burning desire to pass along shame begins to diminish. There is more to it but that is the start.

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Things I’ve Been Accused of on Message Boards

Admiralbill frequently accused me of baiting him. That is, he accused me making posts designed to get him upset and react by responding to my post in an angry manner. He was right. I frequently posted articles in the politics section of Sistertrek.net that made the Republican party look bad. Since Admiralbill was a rabid, conservative Republican I could be sure of him responding. Since I enjoyed making him angry, that made me a troll. He called me a troll especially towards the end. He was right about that also. There is no doubt that I deliberately posted inflammatory articles for the purpose of starting arguments with him. Of course I denied this was what I was doing as all respectable trolls would do.

On another message board I joined, this guy Actionjeans accused me of being a clone pretty soon after I joined. This surprised me because I had not done anything yet to piss anyone off. I guess he thought that I was actually someone else who was operating a second avatar for the purposes of providing support to his first avatar. This was a false accusation but he was able to convince other people on the message board that my avatar was a clone. Another person, a friend of Actionjeans, accused me of being a sock puppet which I am guessing is essentially the same thing. When I tried to defend myself by denying these accusations they said I was acting just like the guy they thought I was a clone of.

Based on my prior experience on Sistertrek I decided to pull out my big guns and embrace being a troll. I fancied myself Obi Wan Kenobi, an aged master who had been living in the desert for years and suddenly compelled to come out of retirement, use his seasoned skills and fight the good fight. I made posts designed to anger my accusers. I asked them questions designed to put them on the defensive. I was relentless. It was then that they accused me of being a stalker. I did not like this accusation, so I suppose it was correct. The accusation had the effect of deflating the feeling of wise old master. Stalker seemed much less respectable. I felt ashamed of myself. But I could not stop trying to bait them because I was addicted to the rush I got when I posted something inflammatory. So, in a private message, I asked the moderator to ban me. He did not oblige me at first so then I went all out trying to make Actionjeans angry. After a few days of this the moderator banned me. At that point I could detox from the message board and get myself clean again.

That was my last experience trolling. For a long time I had the urge to get back in the game. I would think about Admiralbill and Actionjeans and get angry and wonder why they came out looking like the good guys and I came out looking like the bad guy. But the longer I did not troll the easier it became until that anger finally went away.

 

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Once a Troll, Always a Troll

I felt like trolling was a waste of time but I was compelled to do it.  That is why I had to get myself banned from the message board.  There should be a rehab for trolling just as is for drug addiction.  In reality internet trolling is every bit addicting as drugs are.  Sometimes I think of all the trolls who cannot force themselves to stop.  It is probably ruining their lives because getting back at these people who wronged them on the message board is all that a troll can think about.  When I trolled I constantly and compulsively checked the board for a response to my posts and fearing a response to my posts at the same time.  It became incredibly draining emotionally and at the same time it took top priority in my life.

I remember being really angry when another poster got the better of me but I tried hard not to let that show.  I am sure Admiralbill was doing that as well but he had a very thin skin so he was not very successful.  I remember how fun it was (and depressing) to get him to blow up.  This point must be emphasized: a troll has to put forth the image that nothing affects him and that he thinks it is funny how his victims cannot control their emotions.  Meanwhile, the troll is a simmering volcano.  So on the one hand there is this aspect of a troll’s personality that really gets off on making other people angry (the limbic system / ego I suppose) then there is this other aspect that tells the troll this is wrong (the prefrontal cortex / super ego).  Meanwhile the troll’s true-self sleeps in the background somewhere.  The deeper a troll gets into trolling (or any addiction) the deeper his true-self sinks into sleep and the harder it will be to eventually wake him up.

I remember being infuriated when someone did not respond to a bait.  At the same time I knew my targets well and was confident they would take the bait eventually.  In fact, that was how they became targets in the first place.  They were so reliable.  I knew Admiralbill was a Republican, ex-navy guy, from Texas.  So I knew that posting any article on any of those subjects would get him going especially if they made any of those institutions look even remotely bad.  The Republican thing was easy because there was always an article on global warming, President Bush, the wars, the economy, the debt etc.  If I was advising a neophyte troll I would suggest he read a prospective victim’s posts and find out the things that define this victim.  Then post an article that puts any one of those things in a bad light.  When they react stick with the issues in the article until they get personal.  When this happens, claim only to want to stick to the issues rather than debase yourself by getting personal.  Of course making things personal is precisely the point but this can never be admitted.  It is totally passive aggressive and dishonest.  It is claiming not to be doing what is obviously being done.  This is the essence of shame-based behavior.

I did relapse a couple of times after I was banned from Sistertrek.  Once I came back with the handle “The Gnostic” but everyone on the message board knew it was me immediately.  They let me stay (I think because I made things interesting) until I got banned a second time.  Every now and then I feel the urge to go back but I think I have got it pretty well under control at this point.  I can see myself easily falling back into that behavior so now when I feel the urge I can usually talk myself out of it.  I am sure one day I will relapse again.  Once a troll, always a troll.

 

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The Psychology of a Troll

I spent quite a bit of time baiting Admiralbill.  I think it was more than five years before I was banned from the website.  By the time that happened I wanted to be banned.  I needed to end the endless cycle.  It drained my energy.  I was constantly thinking of new ways to piss him off.  To this day part of me still hates how mean and self-righteous he was.  It is enough motivation for me to vote Democrat knowing that in some small way it gets back at him.

There is definitely an addictive cycle when it comes to trolling.  First there is the exhilaration of making a smart post that proves my enemy wrong or makes him look foolish.  Next, and this is usually after he responds with something I did not expect or perhaps a thread has gone on too long and both of us look foolish, self-loathing kicks in.  Self-loathing, of course does not feel good.  It inspired in me a new resolve never to take part in these foolish exchanges again.  Then slowly the compulsion to get back in the game reemerges.  All it would take was a Paul Krugman article that I found particularly persuasive and I was back in.  The exhilaration is the drug that for a moment takes away the pain I feel during the 90% of the rest of the addictive cycle.

I can really only speak for myself but I am pretty sure all internet trolls share a common personality type.  They probably work jobs or live lives that are in someway unsatisfying.  They want to feel special and crave attention and respect.  They are highly dependent on the opinions of other people.  When other people ganged up on Admiralbill I felt vindicated and victorious.  When they ganged up on me I felt defeated and humiliated.  And this is really at the heart of the matter, a message board troll feels intense shame.  It is shame that motivates him to shame others.

My original goal as a troll was to get Admiralbill angry and responding to me.  My secondary goal was to get other people to take my side.  On some level I was operating under the delusion that if I said the right thing, made the strategic argument he would admit he was wrong.  He was probably operating under the same premise.

There are three possible outcomes to any message board debate.  One, the other person concedes defeat.  This never happens but I suppose it is possible.  The closest thing to this is that you get the last word in that digs at them and they do not respond.  Two, you get ganged up on by everyone else and your allies run for cover.  This is defeat, although a true troll will never admit this and will argue that he is being treated unfairly or is misunderstood in some fashion.  Three, the moderator steps in and shuts the thread down.  This is actually a relief sometimes.  When this happens the troll can say to himself that he never gave up and fought the good fight (force majeure).  If I got the last word in before the thread was shut down and before he got a chance to respond, it felt as good as any victory.  If my adversary got the last word in, it stung but I could still say it was out of my hands.

As I said earlier when I got banned from Sistertrek I wanted to get banned.  I could not simply walk away and never post again.  My addiction was too strong.  So I dug at the moderators until they banned me.  It worked and that was a few years ago.  To this day I still think about it and hate Admiralbill.  But every day I do not participate in Sistertrek the hatred goes away a little bit more.  I actually logged on to Sistertrek anonymously to see what was going on not too long ago.  The website is basically run by conservatives and they kicked off all the liberals some time ago.  It is a shell of the community it once was.  There are no longer any lively debates as far as I can tell.  This sort of makes me nostalgic for the good old days.

 

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Trolling Methods

Admiralbill (my nemesis on the Sistertrek message board) had many, easy buttons I knew how to push that would easily bait him into an argument.  All of his buttons revolved around the fact that he was a rabid, George W. Bush defending, Fox News watching, Rush Limbaugh listening, conservative Republican.  The following is a list of those buttons:

1.         I would post a news article that tended to put the Republican / Conservatives in a bad light.  I would add no comments but simply sit back and watch the debate unfold.  This was obviously intended to push Admiralbill’s buttons but I could always argue that I thought the article was interesting and might stimulate a healthy political discussion.  It had the effect of putting him on the defense because he felt compelled to respond to it.

2.         I would then keep him tired and on the defensive.  I did this by responding quickly and concisely.  In general (not just with Admiralbill) when I did post commentary I would keep it short and only address one particular point.  I always found it funny when other posters got so worked up over something and took the time to write a long drawn out diatribe responding to every single point in a previous post.  I would just choose one point to refute or agree with.  This had the effect negating all the work the diatribe attempted to make.  I conserved my energy with small posts that took me ten minutes to craft they exhausted themselves with long ones that took an hour.  The longer they take to respond, the more rest I have and the more agitation they felt to get a response out.

3.         I usually asked questions in my responses.  This also put Admiralbill on the defensive because he felt compelled to respond to a direct question and the question framed his response.  Thus he never set the tone because he was always responding to the tone I set.  These questions also had the effect of pissing him off.  I naturally asked questions to begin with not thinking this was strategy but once I realized he did not like it I did it more.

4.         If Admiralbill accused me of baiting or trolling I would always deny, deny, deny.  This is probably the most important tip for any would be troll out there.  Nothing angers other posters more than when someone refuses to recognize the obvious.  Instead, I would argue that I had no intent to bait but rather to stimulate interesting and civil debate which he was ruining by resorting to personal attacks rather than addressing the issues.  I also specifically stated at times that I did not want Admiralbill to respond in specific threads to avoid conflict.  Of course this had the intended opposite effect.

5.         I definitely had my share of enemies who sided with Admiralbill or saw me as a trouble-maker but I also cultivated allies on the board who could take some heat off me if I was boxed into a corner.  Then when Admiralbill focused on the other guy I could attack back and undermine him.  Even if a person has the moral high ground, it is difficult to get frustrated if two or more people are against that person on a message board.

 

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The Genesis of a Troll

My first experience as a troll was on a Star Trek message board called www.sistertrek.net.  Trolls rarely admit they are wrong and I was no exception.  I started out as a member in good standing but was then converted into a troll by a board bully named Admiralbill.  Before Sistertrek I had been a regular poster on the www.startrek.com message board with the handle Gvok but there were a lot of trolls and spammers there.  Like everyone else I found them to be annoying and could not understand their motivation.  Eventually the spamming and trolling became so bad that a female named Buckeyerose created the Sistertrek message board as an alternative and many posters from startrek.com migrated there.  I followed the crowd there too.

Overtime Sistertrek developed a lively politics forum and at the time I joined I sided with the conservatives politically but was not a diehard.  This was all pre 9/11 so the stakes were not as high as they would later become.  I had voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election because I was disgusted with Bill Clinton about the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  By the time the Iraq war began I sort of soured on the whole Republican party.  I spent a long time defending the war but eventually I found it more and more difficult to swim against the current.  I did not really consider myself a Democrat but the Republicans of the Bush administration were a bit too extreme for me.

Now Admiralbill was a staunch Republican, a real ditto head, ex-navy guy from Texas.  He vehemently attacked anyone who remotely espoused a liberal viewpoint.  After it was determined that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the whole basis on the invasion was based upon a false premise I began to have my doubts about conservatism.  Voicing this opinion brought me into the cross hairs of Admiralbill.  After a few times being attacked by him and observing him attack others I decided to attack back.  I mention all this is to show that, I at the time, I thought my motives were pure.  I saw myself as a protector of those liberals on the board who were too timid or inarticulate to make their points against Admiralbill.

As I look back on it I can see that Admiralbill was a shame-based personality like me.  He was so critical of anyone who espoused a remotely “liberal” point of view and attacked them with viciousness.  I imagine he had that sort of criticism focused on him at some point in his life, most likely from one of his primary care givers.  I am sure he passed it on to his son whom he often referred to on the message board as “the demon seed”.  I am also pretty sure he focuses that same criticism on himself.  Neither his criticism nor my criticism of him had anything to do with conservative or liberal politics.  It had everything to do with shame and the need to pass the shame along to provide a short-term feeling of relief.

 

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